Although coffee beans and brewing originated in the Middle East it quickly spread to the far reaches of the world. Coffee is not just a popular drink, but a popular crop in the Americas, where much of the area had a climate that was ideal for the beans to thrive.
Here are 15 Fun Facts about the history of coffee in the Americas, from South and Central America and the Caribbean right up through to North America and Hawaii.
- Hawaii is the only US state that produces coffee commercially.
- The United States imports more than $4 billion dollars’ worth of coffee each year.
- New Yorkers drink almost 7 times more coffee than other cities in the US.
- Coffee first made its way to the Caribbean around 1720, when naval commander Gabriel de Clieu brought coffee seedlings to the island of Martinique.
- Those sprouts flourished and 50 years later there were over 18,500 coffee trees in Martinique — enabling the spread of coffee cultivation to Haiti, Mexico and other nearby islands in the Caribbean.
- In around 1727, the King of Portugal sent an emissary to French Guinea to obtain coffee seeds to become a part of the coffee market. The King’s emissary is said to have initially had difficulty obtaining these seeds, but after charming the French Governor’s wife, she sent him enough seeds and shoots to start up a coffee industry in Brazil.
- In 1893, the coffee from Brazil was introduced back into Kenya and Tanzania, not far from its place of origin in Ethiopia 600 years prior — ending the energetic bean’s transcontinental journey.
- In the 1930s Brazil took off as major producer of coffee, and now produces around a third of the world’s coffee beans.
- Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the United States.
- The first webcam was invented at The University of Cambridge to let people know whether or not the coffee pot was full.
- Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States one of the leading consumers of coffee in the world.
- The average American worker spends approximately $20 on coffee per week — be it lattes, roasted beans or pods for their at home espresso machine.
- Seattle has 10 times more coffee stores per 100,000 residents than the United States has overall.
- When coffee was first introduced in America, it was not as popularly received as it had been in Europe. Some scholars believe coffee’s popularity grew during the Revolutionary War, as tea became more and more difficult to obtain from British merchants.
- If ever offered a “Cowboy Coffee” — politely decline! According to legend, cowboys used to make coffee by putting ground coffee in a clean sock and dunking it in cold water. They’d then heat it over the campfire, and pour the liquid into tin cups when it was ready to drink.
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