We take a look at the origins behind one of the worlds favourite beverages and try to determine why it is so popular and universally known.
Around 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily worldwide and it is the second most imported commodity (behind petrol). In the U.K, we drink around 95 million cups daily. While the origins of coffee are hard to trace, a few legends are thrown into the discussion but most agree that coffee dates back to around 850 A.D.
Depending on whether you believe Yemen or Ethiopian legends, your cup of coffee may well have been discovered by a goat! According to Ethiopian legend, Kaldi, a goat farmer had noticed that his goats were behaving differently, after observing them for a while he found that the goats were eating small bright red berries from a shrub. Curiosity took hold and he tried the berries for himself. Like his goats, Kaldi felt the energizing effects of the coffee beans and took some to the nearest monastery in order to share his findings with the monks. This is believed to have been the start of coffee.
There have been several attempts to ban coffee around the world; in 1615 coffee was condemned by clergy who believed it to be the devil's drink. Thankfully this was overturned by the pope and coffee continued to be consumed and by the 17th-century coffee was one of the most popular drinks around the world and began to replace beer as the morning drink.
As the popularity of coffee rose as did the coffee houses. England’s first coffee house opened in 1652. The general public dubbed coffee houses "Penny Universities" as they were often frequented by writers, artists, poets, lawyers, politicians and philosophers who paid the entrance fee of one penny, which allowed them to benefit from the intellectual conversation that surrounded them.
As of 2019, Finland is the country which consumes the most amount of coffee in the world, while Brazil produces the most coffee (40%). Scientists have recently discovered a way to make cars run on coffee, so soon you may be pouring a pot of coffee into your car first thing as well as yourself!