Coffee makes the world go round and there are an estimated two billion cups of coffee drunk every day. In fact, when it comes to drinks, only water is able to knock coffee off the top spot. Those are two facts about coffee which you may not have known, but there are many more which you may find interesting.

To help educate everyone on this miraculous drink, here are 6 interesting facts about coffee that will surprise you.

coffee beans spilling from cup

1. Coffee was Originally Discovered by an Ethiopian Goat Herder

There is still some debate about where exactly coffee originates, but a legend that has been passed down for generations claims that it was first discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia. This would seem to be logical as humans first appeared on the African continent, and because Ethiopian coffee is still very popular today, but who that pioneering goat herder was sadly remains a mystery. The legend goes that the goat herder noticed one day that whenever his animals ate the berries from a particular tree, they were more energized and alert. He shared these findings with an abbot who decided to test the power of the berries by making them into a drink.

The abbot found that they helped to keep him alert and awake during his long prayer sessions, and opened the very first Starbucks. (Just kidding!)

2. There are Three Recognized “Coffee Waves”

We often think of the most important points in human history being the three great social revolutions: the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the information revolution. But there are three equally important steps in human history for coffee experts; the three distinct coffee waves. In the first coffee wave, it was drunk as a cheap commodity where it all pretty much tasted alike and there wasn’t much in terms of sophisticated brewing or preparation. The second wave brought coffee shops with different flavorings but with a generally universal blend. In the third wave, coffee became a sophisticated product with different roasts, blends and the variety we know and love today.

3. Espresso is not as Strong as You Think

We often think that espresso has significantly more caffeine than a normal cup of coffee but this isn’t actually the case. While espresso has four times as much caffeine per ounce than a regular cup, because of the serving size, there often ends up being far more in your regular cup. A single shot of espresso contains 40 milligrams of caffeine but a 12-ounce cup of brewed coffee has around 120 milligrams in total.

4. There are Two Types of Coffee Beans Grown for the Commercial Market

While there are hundreds of different blends and roasts, almost all coffee comes from two types of beans; robusta and arabica. Robusta is generally considered to be the lower quality bean in terms of taste but it does have a higher caffeine count. Different Arabica beans have various flavors and aromas but they are more difficult to grow. It is worth having some knowledge of coffee beans when there are different ones available at your favorite coffee shop, and especially if you want to brew your own coffee at home.

5. The World’s Most Expensive Coffee is Found in Cat Poop

This fact is both surprising and a little disgusting, but it is also true. Indonesian Kopi Luwak, fondly called civet coffee or cat poop coffee by its fans, is made from the beans which are digested and pooped out by civets, a type of cat-like animal that is indigenous to the forests of Indonesia. There are two main reasons behind this strange bean selection. Firstly, it is believed that the civets only eat the ripest, highest quality fruit. Secondly, the civets digest the cherry and pulp but don’t digest the coffee beans which go through a special fermentation in their digestive system. This fermentation process is what gives the coffee its unique flavor.

6. Coffee “Beans” aren’t Actually Beans

Despite their name, coffee beans are actually the seeds of coffee cherries. About 95% of coffee cherries contain two beans, sitting side by side just waiting to be roasted, ground, and brewed. The other 5% which contain only one coffee seed are known as peaberries, which many coffee aficionados believe to be more sweet and flavorful.

ground coffee

Coffee is an amazing drink, and there are so many interesting things about it that we don’t yet know. We have only just entered the third coffee wave and there are already so many incredible innovations taking place. Who knows what will come in the fourth, fift and sixth wave. Maybe we will find another type of animal, whose poop can really take our cappuccinos to another level.