10 things you didn’t know about coffee

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Coffee is one of the most widespread and popular drinks in the world, but what do you really know about the black beverage? Read up, and impress with your knowledge over the next cup of coffee with you friends or colleagues!

First described by a Swedish botanist

Although coffee is a tropical plant, the genus Coffea was first described and named by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century. The species Coffea Arabica was also first described and named by Carl Linnaeus, in his book Species Plantarum from 1753. The second most important coffee species today, Coffea Robusta, was discovered more than a hundred years later, in 1897.

The second largest traded commodity globally

Coffee is one of world’s most widespread beverages that is possible to buy virtually everywhere, also online at https://www.gourmesso.com/. In 2017, almost 10 million tons of coffee was produced according to the International Coffee Organization, most of it in Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia. Since coffee is mainly produced in developing countries, and mainly consumed in developed countries, there is a huge global trade. Coffee is actually the second largest traded commodity after petroleum.

The most expensive beans are found in cat poop

Kopi Luwak is the name of the most expensive coffee in the world. The coffee, which can cost more than $1000 per kilo, is made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of a wild cat in Sumatra, the Asian palm civet. It is the fermentation that occurs in the cat’s digestive tract that is believed the give the beans a very a unique and sought-after character, hence the high price.

Caffeine is a natural pesticide

Caffeine is found in the leaves and fruits of the coffee tree and functions as a natural defense against herbivory. That is, caffeine protects the coffee plant from being eaten by insects, and infested by pests. Apparently, the defense does not work very well against humans.

Robusta makes you feel more awake

Robusta and Arabica are the two most commercially important species of coffee. If you are looking for a brew that makes you more alert you should choose Robusta, since it has 50-60% more caffeine than coffee made of Arabica beans. This also partly explains why Robusta trees are more resistant to disease and parasites, since caffeine is a natural plant protection substance. With regard to taste, however, coffee made from Arabica beans is considered to be of superior quality. The higher caffeine content in Robusta coffee makes it more bitter. Arabica coffee is less bitter and features a wider variety of flavors that reflect the local growing conditions.

The most widely consumed psychoactive drug

Medically, caffeine is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. It is also the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. In the US in 2014, 85% of the adults consumed caffeine every day in some form (coffee, tea, cola or other caffeine-containing drinks). An overdose can cause restlessness, anxiety, excitement, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbance, muscle twitching, irregular or rapid heart beat, and even death. Between 25-100 cups of coffee contain a lethal dose of caffeine, depending on type of bean, brewing method, etc.

Moderate consumption can benefit the health

Caffeine is not only bad. Scientific research has linked moderate coffee consumption to several health benefits including liver disease prevention, increased athletic endurance, improved cognitive function and reduced risk of type-2 diabetes. A meta-analysis from 2014 published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank 4 cups of coffee per day had a 16% lower risk of death (from all causes), than people who did not drink any coffee. These findings show that you can safely continue to enjoy your daily cups of java without any worries!

Approved by the Pope

When coffee first came to Europe in 17th century it was not immediately accepted by everyone. On the contrary, it caused quite some turmoil. Some even considered it the beverage of Satan. In Venice, the controversy was so great in 1615 that the Pope had to interfere. He tasted it, found it delicious, and fortunately gave it his papal blessing.

Five attempts to ban coffee throughout history

Five cities or countries have tried to impose bans on coffee throughout history: Mecca in 1511, Venice in 1615, Constantinople in 1623, Sweden in 1746 and Prussia in 1777. Luckily for us, none of the bans lasted very long. Today, coffee is being consumed nearly everywhere. While coffee is tightly connected to the Italian and Turkish cultures, the consumption is actually highest in the Scandinavian countries (Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark).

Best stored in the fridge

After the beans have been roasted and ground, they are very sensitive to air, moisture, heat and light, and quickly begin to deteriorate. Connoisseurs are therefore advised to buy small batches of coffee and store it a dark and cool place, such as the fridge. Whole beans can even be frozen.

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