Facts you didn’t know about coffee

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Ethan Epstein/File

Ah, coffee — the hot bean water we all know and love. From its inviting aroma to its amazing effects, it really comes in clutch when you are forced to be a human early in the morning, or at all. Since we’ll most likely all be turning to some form of coffee to get through studying, it’s only Berkeley of us to learn a little more about it. Before you spend your life savings on lattes this week, check out these fun facts about your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Coffee is a $20 billion industry.

There are a whole lot of coffee beans out there. Coffee is a $20 billion industry and it comes from 50 different countries every year. The world pretty much runs on this stuff (and you thought you drank a lot of coffee).

It originated in Northeast Africa.

Did Starbucks’ Guatemalan roast throw you off? Well think again. Coffee arabica, aka coffee, is from Africa and grows on a bushlike shrubby tree. Of course, nowadays it’s grown in many other countries too and the seeds of the plant are what we all call coffee beans.

Coffeehouses began in Persia.

In the 1400s, coffeehouses sprouted in Persia (Iran), Egypt and Constantinople (Istanbul). It wasn’t until 1652 that the first coffeehouse opened in England, and they quickly spread. By 1700, there were about 3,000 cafes in London alone.

The London Stock Exchange started as a coffee shop.

That’s right — coffee is even more integral to capitalism than you might have thought. In addition to coffee being the main drug of choice for many countries, many banks and insurance companies also began as coffee shops, including Lloyd’s of London.

King Charles II shut down coffee houses.

First of all, coffeehouses were largely created as a place to socialize and discuss current events. King Charles II feared the potential of political discussions in coffeehouses to spark treason throughout England, so he banned them. The ban only lasted a week before cafes reopened. 

One of the ingredients can kill you.

As we all know, the main point of coffee is to get some of that good old caffeine. Well, more than 12 ounces of coffee can be intoxicating. Don’t worry though — there are only 95 milligrams of caffeine in an average cup of coffee. You’d have to drink a whole lot of lattes to reach fatal results.

Like any drug, you can experience withdrawal.

If you’re a frequent coffee drinker and skip your daily cup of joe, you may experience withdrawal symptoms in the form of fatigue, a headache and/or irritability. So don’t be confused if you try to skip caffeine for the day and end up feeling horrible.

Coffee has some bad effects.

If you consume more than 500 mg of caffeine (about 5 cups of coffee), you may experience anxiety, irritability, insomnia, tachycardia (fast heart rate) or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

There you go — all the fun facts about coffee and its history, just in time for finals week. Just remember to keep your coffee intake to a reasonable amount. Happy studying!

Contact Hailey Johnson at [email protected].

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