So called "gourmet" coffee shops may be appearing on every corner, but few people are aware of coffee’s long history and the sometimes curious ways it has traveled the tropics. Colombian coffee growers have done a lot of advertising to create "Colombian coffee" as a brand, but in fact coffee isn't native to Columbia, or to any part of Central or South America. "Java" may be one of coffee’s nicknames, but it doesn't originate in Indonesia either. In fact, coffee originates around the horn of Africa, in what is today Ethiopia.

Coffee Facts

  • In Britain £730 million was spent on coffee in 2002
  • Britain consumes 500g of coffee per person per year.
  • It takes 42 coffee beans to make an espresso.
  • Arabica coffee has twice as much caffeine in it than Robusta.
  • Over half of the espresso consumed in the UK is drunk in the South East of the country.
  • Green coffee beans nearly double in size during roasting, but shrink by 16% by weight.
  • From the mid 1800s up until the 1970s, over 50% of Brazil's foreign trade income came from growing coffee beans.
  • Coffee, if it were taxed like wine,

Highlights in the History of Coffee

Ninth Century--First record of coffee drinking by the Mufti people of Aden (Legend has it that the ubiquitous bean made its way to Yemen from Ethiopia by traveling merchants through trade routes across the Gulf of Aden)
15th Century--Extensive planting of coffee in Yemen
Late 16th Century--Priests petition Pope Clement VIII to ban the evil drinking of coffee (he refuses--probably a closet coffee lover)

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