It’s 8 a.m. – your eyes will barely stay open but you know you can’t miss your 9 a.m. class again this week. You reluctantly make your way out of bed and go straight to your Keurig to make some coffee. Some drink coffee once a week, some daily, and the superfans make several Starbucks trips throughout the day. This delicious brew leaves you feeling alert and satisfied, but how much do you really know about coffee?
It’s rumored that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia when shepherds realized their goats were extremely energetic following the consumption of coffee berries. Since then, it has been revolutionized into a miracle beverage that smells and tastes amazing and has the power to keep you awake on minimal sleep. However, like the Ethiopian goat tale, there are many facts that people don’t know about their brew.
Coffee and Islam
Islam helped boost the popularity of coffee. The religion banned alcohol, so many devout Muslims turned to coffee as a substitute.
Where it comes from
Did you know that Hawaii is the only U.S. state to grow coffee? All coffee in the world is imported from an area nicknamed the “Bean Belt,” located between the tropics of cancer and capricorn.
It wasn’t always a drink
After the Ethiopian shepherds discovered coffee berries, its original consumers created edible coffee balls by mixing these coffee berries with fat. Transforming the beans into a drink didn’t come about until much later!
Coffee grows on trees
Where do these mysterious berries come from? You guessed it – coffee trees! Left uncultivated, the trees can grow to be 30 feet tall. However, for easier access, cultivators in the Bean Belt halt their growth at around 10 feet.
Trade trade trade
Behind oil, coffee is the most traded commodity on earth! Beans are stripped out of their berry outer layer and roasted twice to become what we recognize as a “coffee bean.” After that, they are traded all around the globe.
The mechanics behind caffeine
A chemical in your body called adenosine causes you to be drowsy when its receptors attach to it. When you drink coffee, caffeine enters your bloodstream and connects to the adenosine so that the receptors are blocked from doing so, which results in your pituitary gland seeing something strange going on and raising your adrenaline levels in response. In addition, caffeine also increases dopamine levels, leaving you happy and alert.
Beyond all these interesting qualities and facts about coffee, studies have found that coffee is really beneficial for your health. While caffeine and sweeteners should be consumed in moderation, a plain cup of black coffee a few times a week has shown to decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and liver cancer and disease. Coffee also promotes a healthy heart. Now, the next time you turn on your Keurig in the morning or buy a cup from Starbucks, you’ll know a lot more about your brew and you.