Coffee is a favorite drink worldwide. It’s the second most valuable legally traded item. It’s second only to oil.  Experts estimate that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day worldwide.1  But, how much do you know about your favorite brew?  Keep reading to learn 7 buzz-worthy facts about your good old cup of joe.

7 Surprising Facts About Coffee You’ve Probably Never Heard Before

It’s amazing how much there is to learn about our beloved cup of joe. Here’s a neat table to break down the 7 buzz-worthy facts about coffee:

#Fact TitleDetail
1Americans Drink More Coffee Than Anyone Else In the WorldAbout 83% of American adults drink coffee. They have an average of three cups per person per day. This adds up to 587 million cups daily. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s two largest coffee chains, are both based in the U.S.
2The Coffee Bean Isn’t a BeanThe “coffee bean” is actually the seed of the coffee cherry. Most coffee berries have two seeds. But, some have only one. These are called peaberries. They have a stronger flavor and are considered premium.
3The Word Coffee Owes Its Origin to Many LanguagesThe word “coffee” comes from the Arabic word qahwah. It was shortened from qawhat al-bun, meaning “wine of the bean.” Different cultures translated it several times before it became “coffee” in English.
4Ice Water Will Tell You if Your Coffee Was Roasted WellA trick to find the quality of coffee roasting is to place ground coffee on ice water. If it stays on top without leaching into the water, it’s been roasted well.
517th Century Women Wanted to Ban CoffeeIn the 17th century, an anonymous women’s petition in England proposed banning coffee. They thought it caused “great inconvenience” and weakened men.
6You Can Get Barista Trained and Learn How to Make Latte ArtEspresso Academy is in Florence, Italy. It offers courses to perfect the art of coffee making. They include barista training and latte art classes. Intelligentsia Coffee Shop in the U.S. also offers public classes. They are for tasting and education.
7Coffee Might Just Be Good For Your HealthCoffee is seen as a superfood. This is due to its antioxidants and caffeine. They can cut the risk of disease and ease headaches and asthma. However, overconsumption of coffee can increase mortality rates.

Isn’t it fascinating how coffee fuels our days? It also has a rich history and health benefits. And who knew about the ice water test to check the roast quality of your coffee?

The next time I’m puzzling over coffee choices at the grocery store, I’ll definitely give it a try. Plus, the idea of becoming a barista and creating beautiful latte art sounds like a fun skill to learn.

Let’s not forget the amazing journey of the word “coffee.” It traveled across cultures and languages. It landed as a daily staple in our lives. So, here’s to our next cup of coffee, a drink with a story as deep and rich as its flavor!

1.  Americans Drink More Coffee Than Anyone Else In the World

Americans Drink More Coffee Than Anyone Else In the World

About 83% of American adults drink coffee2, averaging three cups of coffee per person per day. That’s 587 million cups of joe every single day. No wonder the world’s two largest coffee chains are Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

They are both based in the United States. Starbucks has over 13,000 stand-alone coffee shops in the United States. You can never get more than 130 miles from a Frappucino3.

Daily ConsumptionAmericans consume 400 million cups daily. They average about three cups per person. This adds up to 587 million cups across the country.
Major Coffee ChainsStarbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are the two biggest coffee chains in the world. Starbucks alone has over 13,000 shops in the U.S.
Coffee Consumption Statistics83% of American adults drink coffee. The average annual consumption per person is around 1,095 cups. 66% drink coffee daily, with a 14% increase among 18-24 year olds since 2021. 72% of people over age 60 drink coffee daily.
Reasons for High ConsumptionConvenience: Coffee shops and single-serve machines are ubiquitous. Productivity: Coffee is seen as a tool to enhance work focus. Social ritual: Coffee gatherings are a common social invitation. Flavor variety: There’s a wide range of coffee flavors and specialties.
Cultural ImpactCoffee is more than a drink. It’s a big deal in the U.S. It’s a cultural and economic phenomenon. Its consumption keeps hitting new highs.
This table shows how deep coffee is in American culture. It has the shocking daily consumption figures. And, the reasons for the national obsession.

2.  The Coffee Bean Isn’t a Bean

The Coffee Bean Isn't a Bean

The coffee bean isn’t a bean.  What we call the coffee bean is actually the seed of the coffee cherry, or the fruit of the coffee tree.  The coffee cherry is ripe when it turns bright red.  Then, it is picked, rinsed, and the pulp is removed from the seed/bean. Most coffee berries have two coffee seeds. But, some berries will only have one seed. These are called peaberries. Peaberries have a stronger flavor and are prized as premium coffee blends.

DefinitionA coffee bean is the seed of the Coffea plant and the source for coffee. It’s found inside the coffee cherry, the fruit of the plant.
AppearanceTypically, a coffee cherry contains two seeds with their flat sides together. A single-seed fruit is known as a “peaberry.”
Economic ImportanceCoffee beans are a major cash crop. They are crucial for export. They are over 50% of some developing countries’ foreign exchange earnings.
This table shows the key parts of coffee beans. It covers their botanical definition. It also covers their big role in the global economy.

Hop over to this slideshow to read about the entire process of how your coffee moves from seed to cup.

3.  The Word Coffee Owes Its Origin to Many Languages

The Word Coffee Owes Its Origin to Many Languages

The word “coffee” has roots in several languages. Yemen is where the coffee plant was discovered and one of the earliest cultivators of coffee. The bean was called qahwah. It’s a shortening of qawhat al-bun, meaning “wine of the bean.”

Muslim trade routes brought coffee to the Middle East. There, the Turks called it kahveh. The Dutch called the brew koffie. They brought it to England along their trade routes with Asia and Africa. It finally became coffee in English.

Origins in EthiopiaThe coffee plant originated in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, but the word “coffee” did not come from this name.
Naming in YemenIn Yemen, coffee was called qahwah. The word came from qawhat al-bun, meaning “wine of the bean”. This reflected Yemen’s status as one of the earliest coffee cultivators.
Spread Through the Muslim WorldIn Turkey, the name evolved to kahveh. The Dutch called it koffie as they transported coffee to Europe. The English word “coffee” came from the Dutch koffie.
Coffee Conquers EuropeFirst European coffee house in Venice, 1645. Coffee spread to Britain and its American colonies. Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese began coffee cultivation in their colonies.
Evolution of Coffee ConsumptionIndustrial roasting and grinding machines in the late 1800s. Vacuum-sealed containers for freshness. Development of decaffeination and instant coffee.
Global CommodityToday, coffee is the world’s second most valuable traded commodity. This shows its vast cultural and economic impact from its humble beginnings.
This table shows the amazing global journey of coffee. It also shows the word “coffee” evolving from ancient roots. Now, it is a daily staple worldwide.

4.  Ice Water Will Tell You if Your Coffee Was Roasted Well

Ice Water Will Tell You if Your Coffee Was Roasted Well

If you’re in the grocery store, puzzled by the array of coffee, I have a trick. It will help you tell if the coffee you’re buying is high quality. It ranges from $1 to $12 per pound.

Just put one tablespoonful of ground coffee on top of a glass of ice water. If your coffee stays on top of the water and does not leach into it after a few minutes, it’s been roasted well.  If it leaches, then it’s either over-roasted or under-roasted.

The Ice Water TestA simple at-home test to check coffee roast quality using ice water and a tablespoon of ground coffee.
Steps to Perform the Test1. Fill a clear glass with ice water. 2. Place one tablespoon of ground coffee on the surface of the water. 3. Wait a few minutes and observe the behavior of the coffee grounds.
Interpreting the ResultsWell-Roasted Coffee: Grounds stay floating on top without leaching color. Under-Roasted or Over-Roasted Coffee: The grounds start to sink and leach color into the water. This shows too much moisture. It means they are under-roasted. Or, that they are burned and porous, from being over-roasted.
Significance of Proper RoastingProper roasting is vital for developing coffee’s flavor and aroma. It needs careful timing and temperature control. They produce beans that are dry, crisp, and able to float in ice water. This process highlights the coffee’s best qualities. It ensures the final product isn’t lackluster (under-roasted) or bitter and burnt (over-roasted).
This table shows the essence of the ice water test for coffee roast quality. It covers how to do the test, what the results mean, and the importance of proper roasting in coffee.

Keep reading this post to learn more about why this trick works.

5.  17th Century Women Wanted to Ban Coffee

17th Century Women Wanted to Ban Coffee

In the 17th century, coffee became popular in England and continental Europe. Many thought coffee was intoxicating like alcohol. This led some clergy to ban it in their towns. It’s pretty hilarious. An anonymous women’s petition in 1675 proposed banning coffee. They said it caused “grand inconvenience.” It “enfeebled” and “eunuch’d” their husbands.

IntroductionIn 17th century England, coffee was a new and controversial drink. It led some women to petition for its ban. They did so due to its intoxicating effects and the male-only culture of coffeehouses.
Coffee as an “Intoxicant”Clergymen and others denounced coffee as akin to alcohol. They cited its energizing effects as unnatural. Coffeehouses, being male-exclusive, further alienated women.
The Women’s Petition Against CoffeeIn 1675, an anonymous group of women published a petition. They decried coffee for making men impotent and neglectful. They claimed it harmed trade and men’s health.
Claims Made by WomenThe petition argued that coffee leads to men being “useless corpses.” It said this hurts marriages and men’s ability to do business or satisfy their wives.
A Satirical RebuttalThe “Men’s Answer to the Women’s Petition Against Coffee” was mocking. It suggested that coffee made men better. It also said women should be better wives to keep their husbands home.
OutcomeDespite the petitions, the popularity of coffee and coffeehouses continued to grow. Women were initially banned from coffeehouses. But, they eventually started hosting their own coffee receptions. This led to a more inclusive coffee culture over time.
This table captures the heart of the conflict. It’s about the rise of coffee culture in 17th century England. It highlights gender dynamics, societal views, and the eventual acceptance of coffee.

6.  You Can Get Barista Trained and Learn How to Make Latte Art

You Can Get Barista Trained and Learn How to Make Latte Art

At Espresso Academy in Florence, Italy, you can spend days perfecting the art of making coffee.  Learn how to become a barista in a two day course or take an advanced class on latte art.

Intelligentsia Coffee Shop offers public classes if you can’t make it to Europe. They are for tasting and education. They have them at each Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago retail location.  For example, you can take a 3-hour Barista training class for $200 or a tour of their roasting works for $50.

Espresso AcademyFlorence, Italy2-day Barista Course: It covers the basics of espresso, cappuccino, and latte art. It leads to SCA Barista Skills Intermediate certification. Advanced Latte Art Course: Intensive hands-on training on complex designs. One-Week Coffee Route: Comprehensive immersion covering all aspects of coffee, with SCA certifications.
Intelligentsia Coffee ClassesLos Angeles, New York, Chicago, U.S.3-hour Barista Training: Espresso theory, milk steaming, and latte art. Roasting Works Tour: Behind-the-scenes look at roasting process. Tasting Classes: Develop palate and learn to detect nuanced flavors.
Online Video CoursesOnlineThe courses cover a range of topics. They cover barista basics. They also cover advanced topics like roasting and coffee shop management. They also offer optional SCA and other professional certifications.
This table shows different ways to learn to be a barista or master latte art, like classes in Italy, the U.S., or online.

7.  Coffee Might Just Be Good For Your Health

Coffee Might Just Be Good For Your Health

Coffee might be a superfood. Its antioxidants and caffeine have been shown to:

  • Reduce mortality from heart disease.
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes, dementia, colon cancer, cirrhosis, gallstones, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Provide headache relief and asthma relief.

So, you can feel good about picking up your cup of coffee tomorrow morning.  

But, don’t drink too much!  Overconsumption of coffee can increase your death rates.

Heart DiseaseMay lower risk of heart disease and stroke.The antioxidants in coffee reduce inflammation and protect against arterial damage.
Type 2 DiabetesSignificantly reduced risk of developing the disease.Effect observed with both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
Dementia and Parkinson’sLower risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.Caffeine has neuroprotective properties.
Liver HealthLinked to a lower risk of liver cancer, cirrhosis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.Coffee has a protective effect on the liver.
DepressionAssociated with a reduced risk of depression and a lower risk of suicide.Moderate coffee intake is beneficial for mental health.
Nutritional ContentSource of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, including B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.Phenolic compounds in coffee beans may contribute to health-promoting properties.

Final Thoughts

In our journey through the world of coffee, we’ve found fascinating facts. Coffee has origins in Ethiopia and Yemen and plays a big role in American culture.

It also has unexpected health benefits. It’s more than just a morning ritual—it’s a global phenomenon.

Coffee “beans” are actually seeds. The word “coffee” has roots in many languages.

The ice water test helps determine roast quality. Attempts were made to ban coffee in history. You can get trained in making coffee professionally.

Research shows coffee has health benefits. Enjoy your next cup of coffee—it’s steeped in history, culture, and mystery. Cheers to coffee, a testament to our love of a perfect cup!


  1. Gunter, M.J., Murphy, N., Cross, A.J., Dossus, L., Dartois, L., Fagherazzi, G., … & Tsilidis, K.K. (2017). Coffee Drinking and Mortality in 10 European Countries: A Multinational Cohort Study. Annals of Internal Medicine, 167(4), 236–247. ↩︎
  2. Karen Fernau, The Arizona Republic. (2013, April 9). Coffee Mania. USA Today. Available from: ↩︎
  3. (2017, December 6). Starbucks Locations. HuffPost. Available from: ↩︎
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