Today is National Coffee Day and at least three coffee outlets are offering a free cup – McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme, and 7-11 convenience stores. But don’t show up at Starbucks thinking a regular cup of coffee will be on the house. They are not participating! And even as I was researching the participants, Dunkin Donuts had conflicting reports. Some sites say they are giving free coffee today and others deny it. You should probably call ahead to make sure your particular store is celebrating today.
With more than 500 billion cups of coffee consumed every year, it’s a fitting celebration! And the only commodity that is more traded than coffee is oil.
Today’s largest producer is Brazil. The only state in the US that produces commercially grown beans is Hawaii. They celebrate harvest with the annual Kona Festival.
But the most expensive coffee – Kopi Luwak – is actually pre-digested by a marsupial in Sumatra. Workers gather its excrement after it consumes the choicest beans – washes it and continues with the process! I first read about this in a Dave Barry column and I was fairly certain it was the humorist’s imagination. Not so! Doesn’t it make you wonder who the first person to think of this was and who they served it to?
But the best coffee is considered to be Jamaican Blue Mountain, while my favorite is from Ethiopia where it grows wild and is often hard to find through ‘fair trade’ venues. It was here that legend says coffee was discovered by a goat herder in the first century. Apparently he noticed the goats’ frisky behavior after they snacked on the berry of a coffee shrub, so he tried them as well and voila!
And think about this – it takes almost fifty beans to produce a single cup of coffee – nearly four thousand to make a pound of coffee!
And can we talk about the aroma! Even non-coffee drinkers will attest to its bewitching smell. And it’s on the national list of ‘ten most recognizable odors’.
The University of California has published a report finding that the steam from a cup of coffee contains antioxidants – heterocyclic compunds which prevent cancer and heart disease. The amount from a single cup can equal that of as much as three oranges!
So drink up – it’s good for you!
A Turkish Proverb says it best – “Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love.” They were so serious about their coffee, that in the sixteenth century, Turkish women could obtain a divorce if their husband didn’t provide enough coffee to keep the family’s pot filled!
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