10 Quick Coffee Facts – Everything you always wanted to know about coffee but were afraid to ask

For most of us, the journey that our food takes from the farm to our kitchen is a mystery. We don’t know where our food is grown, what it looks like in the field, how it is processed along the way. Several years back, I was living in a small agricultural community in the mountains of Costa Rica when some tourists came through from the US. They were amazed that the milk they were drinking was from the cow on the farm next door, the eggs from the chickens, and the lettuce and other vegetables in the salad were from the garden 10 feet away. The truth is many of us have become disconnected with the source of our food and what it looks like before it gets to the grocery store self. I’ll admit that I am ignorant of where much of my food comes from as well (I mean, I know that milk comes from a cow), but take quinoa, for example. I buy it all the time. I know it is a grain, but I have no idea what the plant looks like or the process that it goes through or anything really…

The thing I do know about, though, is coffee – so hopefully I can share with you that connection to how coffee is grown, the route that it travels, and transformations that it undergoes to get from the seed to your coffee cup.

10 Quick Coffee Facts:

  • Coffee is one of the most highly traded commodities worldwide – it is the #1 legal export in most developing countries
  • It is grown in over 50 countries that fall between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, in what’s called the “bean belt”
  • Over 10 million hectares of land are dedicated to growing coffee (which is about the size of 5 million football fields)
  • The livelihoods of over 125 million people are intertwined with coffee agriculture
  • Coffee is grown in areas of the world that have high levels of plant and animal diversity – so how the farm is managed can greatly impact the local plants and wildlife in the area
  • 80% of the world’s coffee is grown by small shareholder farmers, but many of them are struggling to survive on coffee income alone
  • The first coffee plant was thought to be found in Yemen
  • There are 2 species of coffee plants that produce coffee that we consume – arabica and robusta
  • About 1/3 of all the world’s coffee comes from Brazil
  • In the US, we drink over 400 million cups of coffee per day

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