Full of beans

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks on the planet, and more than 400 billion cups are consumed each year. Around two-thirds of the world’s coffee is produced in Central and South America, with Colombia in the top three. Its high-quality, rich and full-bodied brews come from the Arabica bean, which thrives thanks to the country’s climate, high altitudes and volcanic soil, which all offer the perfect growing conditions.

Whether you see coffee as the perfect kick-start to the morning, a mid-afternoon energy booster, or the ideal way to round off an evening meal, here in the UK we get through approximately 70 million cups per day. So, how about finding out a little bit more about the drink that often gets the blame for keeping us up at night but is also lauded as a cure for hangovers.

Five fascinating coffee facts

  1. Coffee is really a fruit. The beans are actually the seed of a cherry-like berry and only called beans because of their shape – like a bean. A strong cup of your favourite brew, however, cannot be considered one of your five a day!
  2. It is thought that coffee was discovered by Ethiopian shepherds around 800 AD. The story goes that their goats appeared to ‘dance’ and were full of energy after eating the berries, so of course the shepherds simply had to try them for themselves and enjoyed a similar feeling.
  3. The drinking of coffee has been banned a few times throughout history. The first time was in Mecca in 1511 because it was thought to stimulate radical thinking. The beverage was labelled ‘Satanic’ by clergymen in Italy in the 16th century, and in 1623, the Ottoman leader Murad IV decided he would punish anyone caught drinking coffee. First-time offenders earned themselves a beating, and anyone who did it again was sewn into a leather bag and thrown into the Bosphorus.
  4. Research suggests some health benefits linked to drinking coffee. Studies have shown that it can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and that it has positive effects on type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
  5. If you’ve got money to burn, love coffee and are not squeamish, you could treat yourself to a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee. For around $600 you can buy a pound of beans that have been eaten by a Sumatran wild cat, fermented in its stomach and then expelled when nature calls! We’ve not tried it but apparently the coffee produced is deliciously smooth with hints of chocolate or caramel.

Every Travelsphere holiday offers exceptional value for money. Included in the price are return scheduled flights/rail travel and internal flights, where applicable, overseas transfers and transportation, carefully chosen hotels, many meals and excursions and the services of a Travelsphere Tour Manager or Local Guide.