Coffee facts & perspectives from around the world

Coffee facts & perspectives from around the world

Sports and coffee are two of the world’s great unifiers. As the 2014 World Cup can be viewed on screens around the globe, fans from all nations cheer for their favorites and celebrate athleticism, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.

In keeping with that spirit, Quill is proud to introduce a friendly little competition of our own: The Coffee Cup 2014. Vying for the chance to claim the title of Your Favorite Coffee are 16 K-Cup® packs from around the globe, each with their own distinct flavor profiles and attributes. Obviously, these K-Cup® packs can’t duke it out amongst themselves. That’s where you come in to vote for your favorite flavors beginning June 30th — right here on the Café Quill blog.

Oh, and did we mention that voting for your favorite automatically enters you for a chance to win coffee for a year? Think about it. All that delicious caffeine and rich flavor — ready to provide you and your co-workers with a well-deserved pick-me-up throughout the day.

When you stop to think about it, coffee holds a special place in the hearts — and mugs — of many people around the world. To help fuel your imagination and w(h)et your appetite (and whistle), here are some fun facts about coffee and its cultural impact around the world. Let’s take a coffee tour together!

Coffee in the U.S.

Coffee has a long and storied history, however, it wasn’t until 1952, when an advertising campaign by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau began to popularize the concept of taking a coffee break. Further giving a boost to this campaign and the idea of the 10-20 minute American coffee break was behavioral psychologist John B. Watson.

According to a study by Live Science, over half of all Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day — that’s 100 million daily coffee drinkers! The total annual amount that Americans shell out to enjoy specialty coffees (including espresso and cappuccino beverages) is a whopping $18 billion.

In addition to being a leading consumer of coffee in the world landscape, the United States also produces some of the world’s finest java — Kona coffee, from the island state of Hawaii. Hawaii is also home to a number of coffee farms scattered across its various islands.

Coffee in Italy

Although coffee is not grown in Italy, the Italians have perfected the art of roasting and blending coffee. The European nation’s large numbers of coffee houses scattered throughout the country stand as a testament to coffee’s social prominence in Italy.

As there’s an art to roasting and blending coffee, the Italians have also devised the art of enjoying different coffee beverages at different times of day. When in Rome (or anywhere else in Italy), do as the Romans do! Italians only drink cappuccino in the morning, before 11 A.M. Ordering the foamy drink any time later than that will have you on the receiving end of a well-arched, continental eyebrow.

Italians also drink their espresso in small cups, standing at a bar. Unlike their American coffee-drinking counterparts, Italians aren’t big on the concept of drinking coffee on-the-go. Rather, it’s enjoyed and enjoyed quickly within the confines of a local coffee bar.

Coffee in Ethiopia

Ethiopia may very well be the cradle of coffee civilization. It’s believed that coffee cultivation began in this African nation in the 9th century, although some historians claim the practice may have initiated in Yemen during the 6th century.

The origin story and legend behind Ethiopian coffee and its discovery dates back to 850 A.D. when a goat herder named Kaldi was driving his herd past a highland monastery. The goats were unusually hyper and began bleating and dancing around on their hind legs. It turns out that they had sampled some red coffee beans from shrubs near the monastery. Kaldi tried them himself and felt similarly amped up. He presented the beans to the monks to let them know what wonderful, invigorating berries they had growing on their land.

The monks, however, were not amused and dubbed the coffee beans “the devil’s doing” and threw them into a fire. The delectable smell of the roasting beans soon changed the monks’ minds and soon, coffee became kind of a big deal in the land of Ethiopia.

Today, Ethiopia is still populated with wild coffee tree forests. Coffee accounts for over 60% of Ethiopia’s annual export earnings and the national coffee trade employs over 25% of the country’s population.

Coffee in Indonesia

Dutch colonists introduced the coffee plant to Indonesia sometime during the 1600s and it’s been a beautiful relationship ever since. Indonesia is one of the world’s foremost producers of coffee. In fact, some of the most famous coffee varieties derive their names from several Indonesian islands – Java and Sumatra. The country’s humid climate is conducive to aging coffee to perfection, giving Indonesian coffee a rich, deep flavor that’s easy on the acidity.

One of the most popular ways that Indonesians enjoy their coffee is straight and black and freshly-brewed. This is known as “Kopi Tubruk” and each Indonesian locality serves this coffee with its own unique style and flavor.

In 2012 and 2013, the island nation played host to the Indonesian Coffee Festival, a two-day celebration of all things joe at the Ambarrukmo Hotel in Yogyakarta.

Coffee in Columbia

Columbia is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee, exporting over 1.2 billion pounds of it each year. Columbia is peppered with family-owned-and-operated coffee farms with over half a million farmers growing the crop. Coffee is so important to the economy of Columbia that even the cars that enter the country are sprayed to kill any bacteria that could pose a threat to coffee plants.

Columbia’s natural geographic features and climate make it the perfect place to grow coffee that offers an extremely high standard of taste for discriminating palates. However, since Columbia’s natural terrain is pretty rugged, very often, mules and all-terrain vehicles are used throughout the harvesting process.

Coffee in Brazil

For over 150 years, Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee, turning out over one-third of the world’s coffee and exporting it each year. How much coffee does Brazil produce? 2.6 million tons. (That’s more coffee than you and everyone in your entire office could imagine drinking in 10 years!)

One of the other things that makes Brazil’s coffee production unique is that it grows both Arabica and Robusta beans – whereas most countries produce either one or the other.

Typically, Brazilian coffee – “cafezinho,” as the locals call it – is served in a small plastic cup. I will admit, the taste is not for everyone as Brazilian coffee is generally served incredibly sweet.Brazilians like their coffee sweet. Really sweet. In fact, if you order coffee at a café in Brazil, chances are it will already be served to you sweetened. However, more cafés are adopting the approach of giving patrons the option as to how sweet they’d like their coffee and offering an unsweetened version.