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Even though we’re currently in the third wave of coffee, there’s still so much unknown about coffee. Did you know that a coffee bean isn’t actually a bean or legume that grows on a bush? It’s actually the seed of a cherry that grows on a tree!
Or, did you know that it’s actually a misconception that coffee originated in Italy. While espresso coffee was invested in Italy in the 1880s, the actual drink itself was discovered around 1000 years before that in Ethiopia.
We’re going to share five interesting facts about coffee with you that you probably didn’t know. You can also check out our video linked below that also provides some extra details on these facts. Let us know if there were any you knew of before reading!
1. Happy wife, happy life
You might want to think again if you just assume “happy wife, happy life” is just an old axiom. While the first real evidence of the phrase is in a verse of the song “The work and wages party” from the 1900s, it is possible the phrase actually goes back further – to the 15th century. It was believed there was a law in Istanbul that stated that a woman had the power to divorce her husband if he didn’t provide her with an adequate amount of coffee.
2. Johann Sebastian Bach – Coffee Cantata
Everyone has probably heard Bach’s Cello Suite, but have you heard of his Bizarre comedic opera Coffee Cantata? It’s a duet, with the two parts comprised of a father scolding his daughter for drinking too much coffee and blaming her drinking habits for her inability to find a lover, and the daughter refusing to stop drinking it because she believes she’ll turn into a dried-up old roasted goat if she does. The song goes back and forth between the father and daughter until he gives her an ultimatum – he tells her to give up drinking coffee or he won’t allow her to get married
At the time, she lies and agrees. However, as she is talking to her suitors, she tells them all she won’t marry them unless they agree to a prenup that would allow her to drink as much coffee as she wants.
Bach had written the song at the time to address the growing concerns surrounding drinking coffee and the type of people that drank coffee. Back then, coffee houses were pretty rowdy. Musicians would go there to party, and men and women would mingle without their proper chaperones. Back when this was written, there were conceptions that coffee was the concoction of the devil, or “Satan’s drink”.
3. Coffee, Brazil and the 1932 Olympics
It’s pretty unknown that coffee is actually responsible for getting Brazil to the Olympics in 1932. These Olympics were during The Great Depression, so a lot of countries couldn’t actually afford to get their teams to Los Angeles, where it was being held that year, including Brazil.
However, Brazil came up with an ingenious way of getting their athletes there – on the back of a cargo ship that was exporting coffee. Now obviously, the ship had to make a few stops along the way to sell their coffee, so the team only just made it on time for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Other countries, such as Cuba had a similar idea. The Cubans attempted to arrive with a shipment of sugar, but because sugar prices fell during that time they couldn’t actually afford to come up with the money. Because of this, they were turned around and sent back home.
4. Decaf is 99.9% Caffeine-Free
Now while this statement is actually true, it is also kind of a marketing gimmick. While it’s not a lie, it also doesn’t tell you the whole story. Saying that decaf is 99.9% free sounds like they’ve taken a regular coffee bean and somehow sucked 99.9% of the caffeine out of that bean.
Contrary to popular belief, a coffee bean isn’t just pure caffeine. It’s actually made up of over 1000 chemical compounds, and caffeine is just one of those. In reality, a standard arabica bean only has around 2% caffeine anyway – making it 98% caffeine-free to begin with. So really, the difference in caffeine levels between a caffeinated and decaffeinated bean is only 1-1.9%.
5. Revolutionary Invention for Coffee
In 1991 at Cambridge University, Quentin Stafford Fraser and around 15 other colleagues in the Systems Group Computing Department all shared one coffee pot in a room called the Trojan room. Now, the coffee pot could only hold enough coffee for about three cups at a time. A lot of the time, people would make the long walk to the Trojan room from the other side of the campus only to discover there was no coffee left. So, Quentin salvaged an old video camera, computer and frame grabber, pointed them at the coffee pot and ran a specifically designed server programme to grab images of the coffee at regular intervals. This was connected to their local network, so anyone who was looking to grab a cup of coffee could always check if there was any left before making the long, arduous walk to the Trojan room for no reason.
It’s quite important to note that this was in 1991 – HTTP was fairly new back then, and web browsers could only display text. So basically, what Quentin created was the worlds first webcam. It got to the point where anyone around the world could log in and look at the coffee pot. Take a look at the image below to see the kinds of images the webcam took!
There’s definitely plenty more coffee facts out there that we still don’t know, so comment any fun coffee facts you have down below!