15 Coffee Facts To Wow Your Friends

If you’re a coffee addict keen to learn everything you can about your favorite drink, our list of coffee facts will be a real eye-opener. Let’s dive in.

Coffee facts
It’s nice to know that someone in the office loves Java as much as you do

When you need coffee to wake up in the morning, it can be hard to strike up a conversation with your co-workers before you’ve finished your cup. Since there are around one billion coffee drinkers in the world, chances are, someone in the office loves Java as much as you do.

Instead of racking your brain for something to talk about, these coffee facts will wow your colleagues. You might also be interested in our guide on morning coffee benefits.

1. Coffee Was Discovered In Ethiopia

Coffee is believed to have originated in Ethiopia. The story goes that a goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats were more energetic after eating coffee berries. Kaldi brought the coffee cherries to local monks, who were suspicious of the fruit and threw them into the fire, fearing it was associated with the devil.

Later, the monks noticed a mouth-watering aroma coming from the fire and removed the cherries. They ground the beans and brewed the first cup of coffee. You might also be interested in our coffee myths post.

2. Coffee Beans Are Not Actually Beans

One of the most surprising coffee facts is that they’re not actually beans. Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee cherry. They’re called coffee beans because they look like beans.

So, if you were to plant a green coffee bean, it would grow a coffee tree under the right conditions.

3. Coffee Used To Be Banned

There have been multiple attempts to ban coffee throughout history. One of the more notable bans came from Mecca leader Khair-Beg in 1511 when he shut down all coffee shops and outlawed the beverage. He believed coffee went against Muslim drinking rules, but historians suspect he was also concerned about radical thinking as his citizens gathered in coffee houses to speak negatively about his regime.

Coffee was also banned in Italy during the 16th century by religious figures who feared it was satanic. That was until Pope Clement VIII tried it for himself and realized how wonderful coffee really is.

In the 18th century, Frederick the Great of Prussia decreed that common people could not have coffee, but wealthier citizens could enjoy a rare cup. He also heavily taxed it to drive the interest in coffee down, as he believed beer was a superior drink.

4. Brazil Is The Largest Coffee Producer In The World

Coffee comes from the coffee tree, with different species of the plant producing Arabica and Robusta beans. These shrubs thrive in warm, tropical climates, which is why most coffee-producing countries are around the equator. There are 50 countries involved in coffee production, but one has a clear lead.

The most productive coffee-growing country is Brazil, which produces 5,714,381,000 pounds of coffee per year. The second largest coffee country is Vietnam, accounting for 3,637,627,000 pounds.

5. The Most Expensive Coffee In The World Comes From Poop

There are lots of different types of coffee in the world, some more expensive than others due to unique growing conditions, like Kona coffee, which is only grown in the volcanic Kona region of Hawaii. The world’s most expensive coffee is Kopi luwak coffee. You can expect to spend from $10 to $100 per cup.

Kopi luwak coffee is made when coffee cherries are consumed by Asian palm civets. They are partially digested before they are excreted. This kind of coffee is so popular because the digestive process removes some of the more astringent properties in the beans, making for a smooth cup of java.

6. Decaf Isn’t Caffeine-Free

Cup with decaf text written as aroma of no-caffeine hot beverage inside scattered coffee beans frame on brown burlap bag background
Most caffeine-sensitive drinkers won’t feel the amount of caffeine in one cup of decaf as it is so low

Although you may assume decaffeinated coffee is fully caffeine-free, there is a small amount left. Decaf coffee sold in the US must be 97% caffeine-free, and 99.9% caffeine-free in the European Union.

An average cup of coffee contains around 95mg of caffeine, so the amount of caffeine in one cup of decaf is so low that most caffeine-sensitive drinkers won’t feel it. You might also be wondering, can you get addicted to decaf?

7. The Largest Coffee Ever Made Was 7,000 Gallons

While you might brew an extra large cup of coffee on long mornings, it has nothing on the biggest cup of coffee ever brewed. In 2022, the largest cup of coffee in the world was brewed by Tonic World Center S.A. de C.V. in Mexico, earning a Guinness World Record. The drink was a staggering 7,116.59 gallons.

8. Italy Invented Espresso

Although coffee isn’t grown in Italy, the country is still known for roasting and serving some of the best coffee in the world. So, it’s no surprise that it’s the home of espresso.

In 1906, Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni revealed the first take on espresso at the Milan Fair after adding a portafilter and other features to a steam brewer created by Angelo Moriondo.

Around 30 years later, Achille Gaggia, who was also Italian, invented a machine more akin to the espresso we know and love today. The new device reached eight to 10 bars of pressure and produced shots that were one ounce in size.

9. Florida Does Not Commercially Grow Coffee

Since only a few areas in the world can grow coffee plants, much of North America simply doesn’t have the correct climate. Parts of Florida, Hawaii, and California can and do grow coffee, but coffee is not grown commercially in the Sunshine State.

10. Starbucks Is The Largest Coffee Chain In The World

Starbucks got its start in 1971 when it opened its first coffee shop in Seattle. It’s since grown to become the largest coffee chain in the world.

As of 2022, there were just over 35,700 Starbucks locations; 19,838 of the stores were international, and 15,873 were in the United States. That same year, it recorded $26.57 billion in revenue, the highest in its history.

11. Native Tribes Used To Eat Coffee

Long before people were drinking coffee, it was eaten. The practice of grinding beans with animal fat and forming them into balls or bars was common in Ethiopia to help boost energy levels.

In the 16th century, members of the Haya tribe in Tanzania would chew their coffee for similar reasons. These days, if you’re going to eat your coffee, it’s more likely to be chocolate-covered coffee beans.

12. Nestlé Invented Instant Coffee

Nescafé is one of the most popular instant coffee brands, so it’s unsurprising that Nestlé invented it. The story began in 1929 when Nestlé Chairman Louis Dapples was tasked with finding a way for the bank to shift unsold coffee after the Wall Street Crash. With the help of Dr. Max Morgenthaler, Nestlé found a way to create a soluble coffee powder.

After much experimentation, Nescafé hit store shelves in the UK and the US in 1939. It reached 30 countries a year later.

13. Coffee Was Once Grounds For Divorce

Coffee was very important in 15th-century Mesopotamia, which is modern-day Iraq. How well a woman made coffee highly influenced a man’s decision to marry her. Once they were wed, she could divorce him if he didn’t provide enough coffee.

In Saudi Arabia, a similar law still appears to be standing, as a woman may decide to leave her husband if he doesn’t give her a fresh cup of Joe every morning.

14. Before Coffee, People Drank Beer In The Morning

people, drinks, alcohol and leisure concept - happy young man drinking beer from glass at bar or pub
Farmers and laborers often relied on the high-calorie content of beer to fuel their activities and start their day energized

Before coffee came to Europe, people drank beer and wine in the morning. This was mostly because the abundance of calories in beer helped farmers and others with manual labor jobs have the energy to start their day. Since coffee provides a jolt of energy without impairing one’s judgment, it’s easy to see why it became the drink of choice.

15. Coffee Is Brewed With Eggs In Vietnam

Since coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, almost every country has its own spin on it, from café au lait in France to café con leche made with scalded milk in Spain. One of the most interesting regional coffee drinks is Vietnamese egg coffee, Cà Phê Trứng.

While not all coffee is brewed with eggs in Vietnam, this beverage is a must-try for adventurous coffee lovers. The drink is made with Robusta coffee, beaten egg yolks, sugar, and condensed milk. Learn more in our explainer on what makes Vietnamese coffee different.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *