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5 Things You Might Not Know About Coffee

Article July 11, 2018  |  Text by Petra Baumruková Text by Petra Baumruková

Coffee. Your morning savior, a buddy who gets you going during your post-lunch fatigue, who will silently listen to your conversations with your friend and your work meetings. But do you really know it like you think you do? For example, did you know that...

Genes Are Behind Your Coffee Addiction

Why do some people drink five cups a day and others stay up all night after just two? Don’t seek the answer in coffee grounds. Seek it in DNA. Scientists recently went forth into the villages of Italy, where they investigated the DNA of the local inhabitants. They identified the gene named PDSS2, which could play a role in metabolizing caffeine. They found that people with a dominant PDSS2 gene also stated that they drink less coffee. Thus the hypothesis is that this gene makes the human organism process coffee more slowly. Its bearers thus don’t drink coffee as often, and they still feel coffee-wakeful. Lucky folks!

Coffee and Manure: Best Friends

You may have already heard that Kopi Luwak, civet coffee, is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. It costs nearly 40 cents a gram. Yes, these are coffee beans that cute little animals eat and poop out. But you can find great coffee even in much greater excrement. Specifically elephant poop. And here we’ve opened up a smelly subject. Allegedly one fifth of the coffee cups in a shared office kitchen contain fecal bacteria. Washing sponges are the culprit here.

Caffeine Connects Goats and Technology

A legend states that coffee was discovered in the 9th century by an Ethiopian goat herder who noticed how crazy his four-legged wards were after eating coffee beans. And coffee has also made its mark on the history of technology. The first web camera was set up—in Cambridge—just to monitor the coffee machine in the shared kitchen so that people would know that their coffee is ready and that their trip for longed-for dose of caffeine would not be in vain.

First web camera pictures (Source: networkcommunicationsnews.co.uk)

Why Is Coffee Called Coffee?

Coffee got its name from the Arab “qahhwat al-bun,” literally “bean wine.” Via the abbreviation “qahwa” and international exchange, for example “kahve” (Turkish), it’s not too far to “coffee.” Things are also interesting with cappucino. Its name is taken from the color of the clothing of the Capuchin monks. And how about espresso? In Italian, “espresso” means “something pushed through by force.”

(Un)healthy Coffee

Quite recently, coffee was still demonized just like eggs and butter are. Several unpleasant effects on the human organism were attributed to coffee drinking, including increased risks of heart disease and of heartburn. But right now scientists are finding upsides. Coffee, they say, decreases the likelihood of Type II diabetes and of a stroke, and allegedly even halves the risks of suicide and of liver cirrhosis. And allegedly it’s not dehydrating after all. But naturally, too much of anything is bad. But how much is too much? If you weigh 75 kg, then, once again allegedly, 70 cups a day is too much, because it will kill you outright.

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