Discover surprising, sometimes odd, facts about coffee and learn unusual new ways to enjoy that cup of Joe. 🙂
It’s an American obsession. Every weekday morning, thousands of people wait in line to order the special cup of coffee that makes getting up worthwhile. Unimaginable thirty years ago. Coffee shops and baristas were nonexistent. Now there are over 50,000 coffee shops bring in more than $18 billion dollars annually in the United States.
So you enjoy that barista-crafted gourmet nonfat latte, but how much do you really know about this tasty, invigorating beverage? Some of these strange but true coffee facts may surprise you.
Coffee and Bacon…and Cats
Creme Puff the cat is a record holder. She is not around anymore but, according to the 2010 Guinness World Records, was the longest-lived cat ever recorded. Her owner, Jake Perry, of Austin, Texas, also owned Granpa, a cat who lived to the ripe old age of 34. Perry fed his cats an unusual diet that was most certainly not recommended by his vet: Every morning, the cats ate bacon, eggs, asparagus and broccoli along with a bit of coffee. Folgers was Granpa’s favorite, according to Perry.
Coffee and bacon are paired together in Boca Java’s Maple Bacon Morning Coffee. Reviewers frequently mention its pleasing aroma and smooth taste. Of course, there’s also Joy the Baker’s Coffee Bacon Sandwich. Some people can’t get too much coffee and bacon.
Instant Coffee: A Presidential Invention?
George Washington invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. No, not THAT George Washington. This George Washington, whose first brand was called “Red E Coffee,” came up with his invention for American soldiers in WWI. The brew, according to most, didn’t taste very good, but soldiers in the trenches loved it.
Theodore Roosevelt had, according to his son, a coffee cup that was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” Roosevelt reportedly drank a gallon of coffee a day. He was also instrumental in helping Maxwell House come up with its famous slogan. One day when Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson were having coffee together, Roosevelt exclaimed, “Good to the last drop.”
The Cup of Joe Conspiracy
Where did the term “Cup of Joe” come from? It’s a good question. Theories abound, but no one knows for sure. Some think it started in the Navy in 1914. That’s when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels prohibited alcohol on Navy vessels. The strongest drink left on board was coffee. Using a play on Daniels’ first name, the sailors started calling coffee a “cup of Joe.”
A second theory is that “Joe” is a combined, shortened version of two slang terms, java and jamoke. In fact, jamoke is a combination of java and mocha.
The third theory is also based on slang usage. First appearing in the English lexicon in approximately 1846, “Joe” was slang for the common man; therefore a “cup of Joe” became the drink of the common man. The term “cup of Joe” first appeared in the English language lexicon in 1930.
The Life of the Barista
The word barista is the Italian word for bartender. In the United States, baristas are the coffee shop artists who make your custom cup of coffee in the morning. It’s not easy being a barista. It takes a lot of patience to make coffee for people who haven’t had their first cup in the morning yet. Many baristas are college grads and have attended barista school. It takes time to become great, but top-level baristas compete in contests. There is even a United States Barista Championship. Who knows? You may be getting your favorite cup of coffee from the champ.
You Put What in Your Coffee?
People put some awfully strange things in coffee. How does smoked salmon cream cheese sound? Probably not good, but there are some additives that may appeal to your palate. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are tasty additions. Some swear that the taste of crushed bananas in coffee is heaven. Cocoa powder gives coffee a richer flavor. Ice cream in your cup turns a hot summer day into a delight. Scandinavian people like to mix a raw egg with the coffee grounds, believing it clarifies the coffee and gives it a sublime color.
Coffee: The Legend
It all started with dancing goats, or so the legend goes. Shepherds in Ethiopia discovered that after their goats ate coffee berries, from whence the seeds that are coffee beans come, the goats became lively and started dancing. African tribes originally ate coffee berries, which gave them an edible form of energy. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on the face of the earth. The first is oil.