When coffee was discovered over 11 centuries ago, people weren’t drinking it like we do today. In fact, it was only much later that it turned into a drink. Here, we recount the history of coffee and how it’s transformed through time, with some incredible stories about the humble bean.
1. What’s in a name?
Even though we call them coffee beans, they’re actually berries!
2. An ancient discovery
The story of coffee began with an Ethiopian farmer who realized that his goats became more energetic after eating a particular type of berry. One day, he tried the berries himself and noticed the same effect.
3. The very first energy bar
Coffee was first consumed in the form of an energy bar: African tribes ground the berries, mixed them with animal fat, and shaped them into solid balls. It was only several years later that people started drinking their coffee instead.
4. War times
During war times, when coffee and other goods were rationed, coffee was often replaced with chicory.
5. Coffee shop culture
In 1530, the first coffee house opened in Syria.
The custom of tipping waiters for good service comes from coffeehouses, and the term actually stands for “to insure promptness”! Who knew the word is actually an acronym?
7. A picky eater
Rumor has it that Beethoven would only drink his cup of coffee if it had been made with exactly 60 coffee beans—no more, no less.
8. Binge drinkers
The country that consumes the most coffee per capita is Finland—Finns drink an average of 2.64 cups per day compared to only 0.93 in the US!
9. Cream and sugar? Cinnamon and pepper?
We may add cream and sugar to our cup of Joe, but around the world, customs vary: Mexicans drink coffee with cinnamon, Ethiopians with salt, and Moroccans with peppercorns! In New Orleans, locals flavor their coffee with chicory and hot milk.