Top 10 List of Interesting Facts About Coffee

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Jason Coffee

#1 – Discovered by a Goat

coffee-goat-kaldiYup you heard right coffee was first discovered by a goat! More specifically a young goat herder by the name of Kaldi in the 9th-century. He noticed his goats acting strange when they ate the cherries from the coffee tree so he tried it for himself. This story does not show up in writings until the 16th-century but I like the story and it sounds very plausible.

#2 – Isn’t just at Starbucks

In today’s pop coffee culture the brand Starbucks has become synonymous with the word coffee in many circles and has become iconic in some peoples mind to the point of insanity. Maybe I am being a little over dramatic but the fact is that some of the best coffee I have ever tasted in my life comes from small coffee roasters that you may have never heard of in your life. So with that in mind the next time you’re looking for coffee in an area you are not familiar with try searching the word ‘coffee’ on your smart phone map instead of the brand ‘Starbucks’.

#3 – Light has more Caffeine than Dark

light-roast-coffee-beansContrary to popular belief light roast coffee actually has more caffeine than dark roast coffee. The reason for this is that the longer coffee is roasted the more caffeine cooked out of the bean. I think of it like cooking with wine or alcohol. A good example of this is fondue.

#4 – Espresso is NOT a Bean

Espresso is not referring to a particular type of bean, it is a drink. More specifically it is a type of coffee brewing method. I think a lot of the misconception surrounding espresso developed with products like chocolate coffee espresso beans and espresso blend coffees. People would see those labels and come to the conclusion that espresso was a bean when it reality it’s just marketing.

#5 – Comes from a Cherry

coffee-cherry-treeCoffee comes from a tree or bush that bears cherry fruit. The coffee bean is the seed that resides within the cherry. If the coffee itself wasn’t such a valuable and tasty commodity I think we would see coffee cherries in the grocery store. The coffee cherrie’s taste is one of a very delicious tart fruit that some describe as light, honey, sweet, peachy and watermelon.

#6 – It was Illegal

Coffee was declared illegal 3 times by 3 different cultures. The first was in Mecca during the 16th century and the prohibition was lifted after 30 years of debate among scholars and jurists. The second was Charles the II in Europe banning coffee houses trying to quell the ongoing rebellion yet it backfired and was never enforced. (People need their coffee!) The third was Fredrick the Great who banned the beverage in Germany in 1677 because he were concerned with the economic implications of money leaving the country on this new popular beverage. (There are many other examples of religions prohibiting coffee consumption not mentioned here, that still go on today.)

#7 – Over 50 Species

There are over 50 species of coffee world wide. Though only 2, arabica and robusta, are commonly used in commercial coffee production. We have tasted many of the different varieties here at Coffee Cup News and suggest that you try the different varietals and species whenever you get the chance.

#8 – 500 Billion Cups Drunk

coffee-truckOver 500 Billion Cups of coffee are drunk each year and over half of those are drunk at breakfast. (or should I say for breakfast?)

#9 – Fuel Source

Coffee can actually be used to fuel a car. Though maybe not very efficiently at the moment it is nice to know that there is an alternative out there that can not only fuel our bodies but our vehicles too. Here is some info on the coffee fuel test car.

#10 – Second Most Traded Commodity

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world second to only oil and now that we know it can be used as a source of fuel it probably won’t be to long until it’s number 1. 😉
Do you know something about coffee that we didn’t list?

pictures by (top to bottom): gari.baldi | sean dreilinger | tonx | mike_tn

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  1. Brenian Chew

    i am always find information about coffee to know more. i am passionate about coffee. i have also share some tips and facts about coffee at my website check this hope you like this. i am also like your post.. thanks for share with us…

  2. Tamas Nemeth

    (Reuters Health) – Numerous studies of coffee’s links to myriad diseases have provided head-spinning results, but a new paper finds java drinkers have no more risk of illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.

  3. rashid bushiry

    wow,very interesting facts,i myself i work in coffee industry but i have never knew that it was discovered by a goat.Fuel from coffee?i think i need to know much about that.if any one with the description on that please email me at. [email protected]

  4. shay

    so cool !!!!!!!!!!!! i had know idea what i put in my body everyday could be so important !!!!!!! lol !!!!!!!!!!!! I LIVE FOR THE COFFEE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THE COFFEE !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WILL DIE IF I DON’T HAVE MY COFFEE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

  5. WO

    #10 is completely inaccurate. This has been around since Mark Pendergrast said it in his book “Uncommon Grounds” back in 1999. In 2007, updated this as to how he misread the the information.

    In actual commodities, coffee falls far behind: petroleum, copper, aluminum, and gold. In vegetation, coffee falls behind wheat, cotton (woven fabrics), meat (and skins), and sugars.

    However, if you change the statement to “Of countries which export coffee as part of their GDP, coffee is the second most traded vegetative commodity behind sugars”, then it is more accurate.

  6. WO

    #3 is scientifically correct, but not physiologically. The amount of caffeine difference is so slight, it can only be measured in a lab. However, in the original tests for this, when shown the difference, they did not account for species difference, just using pre-roasted coffees from store shelves. Back then, light roasted coffee were typically all, or part Robusta beans, which start out with 2x the caffeine of an Arabica bean.

  7. Phil Beattie


    Your enthusiasm for coffee is awesome and contagious!

    I just wanted to point out that in addition to the two facts that WO pointed out as debatable, #7 is inaccurate as well. There are only 3 “species” of coffee: Arabica, Robusta, and (the rare) Liberica. Within these species, there are actually thousands of varieties, in fact the Ethiopian Government has catalogued over 10,000 variety of coffee.

    Really amazing when you consider that each has it’s own unique flavor traits, similar to varieties of grape used for wine.

    Tom Owens of SweetMaria’s has a wealth of information on his site, particularly this page:

    Keep Slurping,


  8. Robin

    How we (who have never been to Louisiana as adults) discovered Community Coffee… We signed up to “adopt” a soldier in Iraq and he was yearning for Community Coffee- (he’s from and now back in Louisiana)… Looked in to it- was able to send him your special packs as well as whole bean- and ordered some for ourselves to try… That was well over a year ago…. We now order coffee and tea profits on a regular basis! Thanks! And “yum!”

  9. Neal

    I have been researching the history of coffee, for my blog, and have come across some of these facts along my way. It’s quite a fascinating story, and if it wasn’t for stealing and a little espionage, it may not have been one of the most traded commodities in the world today.

  10. WO

    These are great facts that a lot of people don’t know about the world’s greatest beverage. However, there are a couple of inaccuracies.

    #10 – Second Most Traded Commodity
    While Mark Pendergrast shared this with the world in his coffee book “Uncommon Grounds” back in 1991, Mark corrected it in his latest edition. Below is an article he wrote about it:

    #3 – Light has more Caffeine than Dark
    If you take beans from the same tree, and roast some light, and some dark, the caffeine levels with be very similar. Speculation is in the original findings, of two different roasted coffees, that the lighter coffee actually was a robusta coffee bean, which starts out with 2x the caffeine levels of an Arabica coffee bean. However, this has no real way to be confirmed. The following article is more about the roast & caffeine relationship with an interesting talk in volume vs weight:

    I love the site, and I hope you keep it up for many years.
    …just my 2 beans

  11. McCoy Pauley

    11. Despite the preponderance of “100% Colombian” blaring from most US coffee labels, relatively little of the coffee imported into the US is from Colombia. Try Indonesia and
    Vietnam. “Truth in advertising” is an oxymoron.

  12. Jacqui

    Great article. However, you need someone to proofread (and it’s not just the “their/there” mistake mentioned above). I posted this on my facebook page and I think more attention was paid to the grammatical errors than the actual content (my friends and I are bores I suppose).
    I’m really not trying to be snarky! I love the little known facts you discussed :-)

    • Jason Coffee

      Haha, I am glad you had fun regardless. Thanks for the feedback. If you have some you would like to point out I would be glad to change them. Otherwise I just don’t have the time right now to go back through this post myself. Typing another one as we speak.

  13. Jack

    Great post, I didn’t know about the 50 varieties of coffee. I initially thought that arabica and robusta were the two broad kinds/genus (insert scientific categorization here), and the other varieties were subsets of those two. Thank you for clearing that up.

  14. Arrie

    Very irritating typo in #6: “People need there coffee!” ‘There’ should be ‘their,’ because it is referring to people, not a location.

  15. Julie

    I didn’t know a lot of details about these facts. Thanks for the interesting tidbits! Great learning something new everyday!

  16. Jason

    Never knew there was so much to know about coffee. Glad to find out that the lighter beans have more caffeine though. I’ve been operating on the opposite.