13 Coffee Facts You Didn’t Know (but Definitely Should)
There's more to coffee than caffeine
When you’re stumbling over to the coffeemaker on your kitchen counter first thing in the morning or making your way to the local coffeeshop before you start your commute, the last thing on your mind is where coffee comes from. That’s probably only one of many facts about coffee you don’t know, even if you are a self-proclaimed coffee addict. Coffee is one of the country’s most popular beverages, but most of the approximately 83 percent of American adults who drink coffee are likely unaware of the many benefits that come from having a cup or two every single day.
Somewhat against the odds, there seem to be lots of benefits to drinking coffee, including an increasing body of evidence that coffee can be good for you and your health. But coffee isn’t a magical bean that appears out of nowhere and falls into your mug and saves your life. There are a lot of steps between getting the bean and pouring that coffee from the break room into your mug, along with a whole history and process to making the perfect cup. And if you’re going to keep on drinking as much coffee as you do, you better know a thing or two about it.
Justify your coffee obsession with these 13 facts you didn’t know about your brew but definitely should.
Beans? Not So Much
Coffee beans aren’t actually beans. They’re seeds from the fruit of a coffee plant, often called a coffee cherry.
Thank Goats for Coffee
The actual origins of coffee are unknown, but one common legend says that an Ethiopian shepherd accidentally discovered coffee when he noticed his goats were bouncing around and couldn’t fall asleep at night after eating coffee cherries off the plant.
Hundreds of Roasts But Only Two Types of Coffee
Though there are dozens of varieties and hundreds of different roasts of coffee beans, there are only two main types of coffee grown around the world: Arabica and Robusta. Chances are you’re currently drinking Arabica, since that bean comprises 75 to 80 percent of global coffee production.
Straight from the Bean Belt
All coffee is grown in the Bean Belt, which lies right around the Equator, so if you want American-grown coffee, you’ll have to get it from Hawaii. Otherwise, the cup you’re drinking is made from foreign beans.
The Right Size Is Small
Coffee Versus Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are often called out for being overcaffeinated, but coffee actually has a higher concentration of caffeine. For some perspective, a grande coffee from Starbucks has as much caffeine as four-and-a-half Red Bulls.
Decaf Isn’t Caffeine-Free
Decaf coffee isn’t free of caffeine, though a single serving of decaf coffee usually contains less than ten milligrams of caffeine.
It’s Not the Best Part of Waking Up
The best time to drink coffee isn’t the crack of dawn. Having a cup in the late morning, ideally between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., takes advantage of your body’s natural hormone production cycles.
Another Reason to Love the Smell of Coffee
You don’t even need to drink coffee to get that morning pick-me-up. There’s some research indicating simply smelling coffee in the morning can be enough to help wake you up.
Beans for Boobs
If you rely on smell alone, you might be missing out on some of the health benefits of drinking coffee. For instance, a 2015 study found that drinking higher rates of caffeinated coffee may be associated with lower risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women.
Coffee Against Skin Cancer
Caffeinated coffee might also reduce the risk of malignant melanomas, or skin cancer, according to a 2016 meta-analysis, though more research is still required to prove that link.
More Coffee, Lower Risk of Diabetes
In a 2014 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that individuals who increased their coffee consumption by at least a cup a day were at lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared with those who didn’t drink more coffee.
You’re Not Alone
According to a 2015 Gallup poll, about two-thirds of Americans drink more than one cup of coffee per day, so rejoice in knowing you’re not alone in your coffee dependency.