Facts You Never Knew About Coffee

3:53 PM

So, what is coffee? Now this might seem like an obvious question, but the real answer is going to surprise you. Of course it's a hot beverage made from brewing roasted and ground beans, but did you know that those beans aren't actually beans at all, they're fruit pits. Coffee beans are seeds from the bright red berries of the coffee plant.

In fact, the beans that come out of the berry aren't even the brown color that we're all familiar with. They're actually green. They only become brown through the process of drying them out and roasting them which caused them to pop and double in size, and if you were to walk into a cafe, you could order any number of different coffee beverages, however they aren't made with special beans.

Drinks like espresso use the same beans as a regular cup of coffee only ground much finer. But perhaps one of the most fascinating things about it is that that simple beverage that you drink every day is much more. It's actually the second most valuable commodity traded by developing countries, second only to petroleum.

So, who discovered coffee? Well, it's believed that coffee originated in Ethiopia as far back as the tenth century, but the first evidence of drinking it was in the Sufi Monasteries of Yemen in the 15th century. The effects of coffee were discovered when farmers found their goats eating the berries of the coffee plant and then found them acting crazed as they started running around and dancing. Does anyone else want to see a bunch of baby goats jumping and dancing around or is that just me?

Now, instant coffee was invented in 1906 by a Belgian man named George Washington, not the president, who was living in Guatemala, but that's not the only great invention involving coffee. In 1991 at Cambridge University, a small group of scientists fed up with always finding the coffee pot empty, set up a camera pointed straight at the break-room coffee machine. They streamed the footage live on the web so that they could see before standing up if there was any brew left. That's right. The first webcam ever made was for coffee.

Where does coffee come from? Needing specific conditions to survive, all coffee is grown along the strip of the earth called the coffee belt. This tropic area delivers lots of sunshine and heat to the coffee plants. Exported from these areas, coffee is sent all over the world and often in ridiculously large quantities.

For instance, did you know that New Yorkers drink nearly seven times more coffee than any other city in the USA, or how about the Netherlands, where people consume an average of 2.4 cups of coffee every day. The entire population must be constantly trembling on a caffeine high.

When does coffee affect us the most? Well, research shows that coffee is most effective if it's consumed in late morning, specifically between 9:30 and 11:30 am. It only takes about 10 minutes to start feeling the effects of coffee on your body, and it's been proven that drinking coffee before a workout leads to a better physical performance.

Not only does caffeine increase adrenaline, but it releases fatty acids from fat tissues and increases your metabolism by as much as three to 11 percent. It's also important to note that if you're one of those people who have lived on energy drinks and have since replaced them with coffee, it might interest you to know that there is more caffeine in a single grande cup of coffee than your average energy drink.

So, why should we drink coffee? Well, believe it or not, drinking that cup of coffee can actually extend your life. Coffee is the dominant source of antioxidants in the average diet in Western civilization. Those antioxidants help the body fight off diseases such as Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In addition, consuming a cup of coffee significantly improves blood flow. Studies have shown that people who drink upwards of four cups of coffee a day are 80% less likely to develop a condition called cirrhosis. If that wasn't enough for you, another study revealed that regular coffee drinkers are 65% less likely to develop Alzheimers, so, as it turns out, that cup of coffee isn't bad for you after all.

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