What are some of the most mind-blowing facts about coffee?

Answer by Peter Baskerville:

Not sure whether others think the following facts about coffee are mind-blowing  but they were to me when I first heard them:

  • 70% – the percentage of all coffee beans that are produced by peasant farmers who receive less than 1% of the money you pay the cafe for your coffee. See, for every kilo of coffee beans that your cafe sells for about $350, the peasant farmer receives about $2.
  • 1.6 billion – the number of cups of coffee that are drunk worldwide everyday – according to the International Coffee Organisation with the Scandinavian countries leading the per capita consumption stats with Finland 12.0 kg, Norway 9.9 kg, Iceland 9.0 kg, Denmark 8.7 kg and Swedan 8.2 kg compared to the USA on 4.2 kg. IOC – Frequently Asked Questions
  • 300 – the number of years that Caffe Florian in Venice has been trading continuously.Opened by Floriano Francesconi on 29 December 1720 under the arcades of the Procurative Nuove using the name “Venezia Trionfante” (‘Triumphant Venice’) but was later renamed in honour of its founder Floriano Francesconi. Famous patrons included Marcel Proust, Charles Dickens and the womanizer Giovanni Giacomo Casanova.
  • 800 – The number of Volatile Molecular Species (different flavour influencing components) found in the coffee oil extracted from roasted coffee beans compared to wine which only has 150.
  • 800 – The number of years that coffee beans were kept from being taken from Arabia via a ban on exporting fertile coffee beans. Coffee was first discovered in about 800 AD in Ethiopia, yet fertile coffee beans were only smuggled out of Arabia to the rest of the world in the 1600s by the Dutch traders and a legendary Indian named Baba Budan.
  • 1 billion – the number of coffee trees fathered by one 'Noble Tree' in over 60 countries worldwide. This Noble Tree was taken from France by Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu and after a perilous journey was planted in Martinique in 1723. From there this noble tree became the father to all the famous plantations of South America and beyond.
  • The largest insurance company in the world was started in Edward Lloyd’ Coffee House near the Thames on Tower Street in London in 1685.
  • Wallenford Estate is reputed to be the rarest and most expensive coffee bean in the world but few people taste it. It is grown high in the mountains on the isle of Jamaica known as Blue Mountain. Unless you live in Japan you will have never heard of it because the Japanese buy the full production.
  • The vast majority of coffee beans (apart from coffee from Brazil) are hand picked. See quality coffee is high grown in mountainous regions where it is impossible to use mechanical harvesters.
  • Regardless of the brand on the outside of a commercial coffee machine it will have an E61 group head designed in 1961. Ernesto Valente from  Faema invented the E-61 "continuous delivery" group in 1961 and it remains the standard for all quality commercial coffee machines produced today.

  • Drinking coffee is actually good for you.  According to the respected Mayoclinic.com "Past studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease however recent studies have also shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants."

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