Whether it’s a mug of premium instant coffee, a double espresso, or a paper cup full of steaming hot brewed coffee, the ingredient at the base of all of these drinks is the same — the humble coffee bean.
There’s clearly a reason that coffee is one of the most popular beverages across the globe. Not only does it taste great, this amazing bean is also a tiny powerhouse. The coffee bean is high in antioxidants, and naturally loaded with caffeine, amino acids and other properties that have made it so universally sought-after.
But when it’s not in your coffee cup, how much do you really know about this incredible bean? Here are some intriguing facts you might not know about the main ingredient in your daily coffee.
1. The coffee “bean” is not actually a bean, but the seed of the reddish, cherry-like fruit of the Coffea arabica plant. The fruit itself has a tart yet sweet flavor.
2. The round, reddish berries look similar to large cranberries, but grow on the shrubs or bushes of the coffee plants.
3. Two to four years after planting, the average Arabica coffee bush starts to produce small, highly fragrant white flowers that have been compared to jasmine. The flowers only last a few days before the berries begin to appear. The coffee berries are usually harvested by hand during the 6-8 week ripening period.
4. Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat-herder discovered the power of these berries as early as the 9th century, when he noticed his goats acting strangely energetic, and even dancing around after eating the red berries. He is said to have taken a leaf out of his giddy goats’ book, tried the berries and experienced the energy boost for himself.
5. Statistics show that over 500 billion (yes that’s billion with a B!) cups of coffee are drunk worldwide each year, with over half of those consumed at breakfast.