Week of March 28, 2021

Hot Brown Factoids


Coffee’s nickname of “java” comes from that Indonesian island, where most coffee was grown when the drink became popular in the 17th century (though coffee seems to have originated in what is now Ethiopia).


About 12% of coffee consumed worldwide is decaffeinated, and the various processes to remove the caffeine all involve soaking coffee beans in very hot water, then using either a solvent to dissolve the caffeine within the beans or carbon to absorb it. Caffeine adds to the natural flavor of the drink, however, so decaffeinated coffee tends to be milder tasting.


The owners of Starbucks first considered the names “Cargo House” and “Pequod,” which was Captain Ahab’s ship from the novel Moby Dick, but their brand consultant encouraged strong-sounding “st-” words. He also took out a 17th century map of the Pacific Northwest and noted a mining town called “Starbos,” which reminded him of the Pequod’s young first mate, Starbuck.


In the US, women drink slightly less coffee than men, but spend more overall on those coffee drinks.


Coffee “beans” are actually coffee plant seeds.


Instant coffee is brewed coffee which is then freeze-dried or spray-dried, so that re-hydrating brings it back to drinkable form.


You might have seen some coffee labeled “shade grown.” This means the coffee trees are grown in the traditional practice among larger trees of different species, as opposed to a “full sun” monoculture of only coffee trees. There are ecological benefits to shade-grown coffee, and since coffee is often grown in the tropics, the reduction of deforestation to replace the forest with all coffee trees is a big one.