7 Weird and Entirely Useless Facts About Coffee

So to celebrate the day, here’s some lore you might find surprising:

1. Coffee is mildly addictive but caffeine is not.

When test subjects abstained from coffee, drank it regularly for 12 days, and then stopped, they experienced “withdrawal effects,” but those effect were “moderate and transient,” i.e. no big deal. However, when the test subjects were gradually weaned from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee, they didn’t drink more coffee in order to replace the caffeine. Therefore, it is the coffee rather than caffeine that is mildly addictive. So there.

2. New Yorkers like iced coffee more than Chicagoans or Angelenos.

McCafe coffee shops recently surveyed 1,000 Americans on their coffee drinking habits. New Yorkers, when asked how much they’d pay for the last cup of iced coffee available in the city on a hot day, bid the price up to $33. Coffee drinkers in Chicago and Los Angeles were only willing to pay a measly $20. I don’t know about Cleveland but I’d guess maybe $7.95.

3. The world’s largest coffee mug holds 1.6 gallons.

According to the website Mugs.coffee, the world’s largest commercially-produced ceramic coffee mug holds about the same as 20 regular mugs, which comes out to 200 fluid ounces or a little less than 1.6 gallons, roughly as much coffee as a person should drink in a week or half as much as a typical blogger drinks in a day.

4. People have been roasting coffee beans for 1,000 years.

Archeologists in the Dubai area recently discovered coffee beans in a strata dating from the beginning of the 12th century. However, there’s evidence that the beans were imported from Yemen, which would push back the date of roasting at least 100 years. The beans were preserved because they were carbonized by roasting and though there were no complete beans, enough survived to definitely identify them as the Arabica variety. Which makes sense, considering both Dubai and Yemen are on the Arabian peninsula.

5. It is now possible to brew coffee in space.

Since there’s insufficient gravity in space for water to drip through coffee grounds, astronauts typically drink freeze-dried which… yuck. Fortunately, a group of engineers recently figured out a capsule-brewing system that works without gravity. And that’s a good thing because if we ever try to send a colony to Mars and the colonists have to drink that freeze-dried junk, I doubt if they’ll survive. I know I wouldn’t.

6. Dogs can drink coffee but cats shouldn’t.

Caffeine can be lethal to dogs… but only if they drink 150 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight. So the average dog (maybe around 40 pounds?) could down a cup of coffee (100 milligrams) without taking any damage. Cats, however, are far more sensitive to caffeine and even trace amounts can damage their nervous systems. Ferrets are whole ‘nuther case, though. See below.

7. The world’s most expensive coffee comes from monkey spit.

Until recently, it was believed the world’s most expensive coffee was harvested from weasel poop. Kopi luwak (aka civet coffee) ferments in the weasel’s intestines, altering the beans’ chemical composition, apparently much for the better. Cost: around $400 a pound.

Today, however, we know that the world’s most expensive coffee actually comes from beans that monkeys have chewed and spit out. Apparently, the chewing process gives the coffee a unique vanilla-like flavor. Cost: around $600 a pound.

It suddenly occurs to me that if I can train monkeys to chew weasel poop, I could make a fortune! Shark Tank: here I come!

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