Things every coffee drinker should know

Coffee beans are technically seeds.

Inside the cherry-like berries of these flowering shrubs are the familiar coffee beans which are roasted and brewed to make coffee. We call them "beans" only because they resemble legumes.

You can eat coffee cherries as food.

They do have a pleasant flavour- think apricot and watermelon.

Why don’t we eat them as fruit? Well, the skin is rough, and the pulp is tightly stuck to the seed. there are simply better options.

People originally mixed coffee ‘cherries’ with other ingredients to make preserved snacks and cascara (Coffee cherry tea) is still moderately popular. People also used to chew on the seeds, which is a terrible idea because they are really, really hard.

There are two main types: Arabica and Robusta.

Growers predominantly plant the Arabica species. Robusta contains more caffeine but tastes slightly more bitter so isn’t as popular.

Coffee drinkers tend to live longer.

Research has linking moderate consumption (about three to four cups per day) with a longer life span, plus a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Two or more cups of coffee per day reduced overall mortality 10% for men and a 15% for women when compared with non-coffee drinkers. Coffee drinkers showed A reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and researchers suspect it's due to the antioxidant In coffee called chlorogenic acid

Too much of a good thing.

It would take 70 cups of coffee to kill a 150-pound person.

The FDA suggests drinking 400 milligrams of caffeine per day at maximum to stay safe. That is an estimated four cups (240ml/8oz) of brewed coffee.

Serious side effects begin at 1200mg, around 12 cups and 70 cups could kill 70kg person.

Coffee as future fuel?

Researchers have had great success in converting used coffee grounds into biodiesel.

Additionally, companies have created pellets from the used coffee grounds that can be burnt in large industrial biomass boilers and they even made coffee logs for indoor fireplaces.

How an etymological brew turned wine into coffee. 

“Coffee” entered the English language sometime in the 16th century. It was borrowed from the Italian word “caffe, which came from the Dutch word “koffie,” which came from the Ottoman Turkish “kahveh,” which came from Arabic “qahwah.”

The many attempts to ban coffee.

Back in 1511, leaders in Mecca believed it stimulated radical thinking and outlawed the drink, in 1524, the order was overturned.

Some 16th-century Italian clergymen also tried to ban coffee because they believed it to be "satanic." However, Pope Clement VII enjoyed it coffee so much that he lifted the ban and had coffee baptized in 1600.

In 1633, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Murad IV made drinking coffee in public in the capital punishable by death.

The 17th century ‘Women’s petition against coffee’ was likely written to make coffeehouses unpopular as they were perceived as sites of political unrest.

In the 18th century, the Swedish king and later the government made both coffee and coffee paraphernalia (including cups and dishes) illegal though it was never successful in stamping out coffee-drinking, and eventually the ban was lifted.

(*Fun fact: Before coffee became widely available, the popular breakfast drink was beer.)

Things get weird

Black Ivory Coffee aka Elephant dung coffee:
This coffee is made by arabica coffee beans consumed by elephants and then collected from their waste.  Price approx. £15 a cup

kopi luwak aka civet dung coffee:
One of the most coveted varieties comes from the faeces of an Asian palm civet. The cat-like creature eats fruit including coffee cherries but is unable to digest the beans. The excreted seeds apparently produce a smooth, less acidic brew called.

 It used to cost £900 per kilo when it was a niche luxury collected from the wild animals but civet farming became widespread driving down the price and demand as the means of production has drawn criticism from animal welfare activists. It now costs around £80 per kilo.