Eighty-three percent of adults in America drink coffee. It’s the world’s second-most traded commodity, and it’s delicious. But there’s more to the country’s favorite hot beverage than meets the eye. From the sublime to the horrifying, coffee is a fascinating natural resource that has had a profound cultural impact around the world.
Coffee rust is not the only fungus that can affect coffee plants. Ochratoxin A is toxic poison produced by Aspergillus and Penicillium fungi that grow on coffee plants. The amount of acceptable ochratoxin is controlled in Europe, with an acceptable level of five parts per billion for ground coffee, and 10 parts per billion for instant, because who cares about instant coffee drinkers anyway? Its presence in coffee was only discovered in 1988, and a study shortly afterward found that 7 percent of shipments were over this safe level. Work by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN helped farmers to reduce the average level found in exports by over 25 percent between 1998 and 2004.Ochratoxin is not the only poison found in coffee. In 2003, one man was killed and 15 people were hospitalized with suspected food poisoning. Doctors eventually deduced that the cause of the illness wasn’t sandwiches, as initially thought, but someone poisoning the coffee pot with arsenic.
Coffee In Pregnancy
Advice on what and what not to consume during pregnancy is rampant, and coffee falls into the camp of things a lot of women are told they should avoid. Much of the reason for this is that data shows that women who drink less coffee have healthier pregnancies. While that seems clear-cut, it’s far from it. Women who suffer more nausea also have healthier pregnancies, and anyone suffering nausea is unlikely to fancy a caramel latte with sprinkles.The best data available appears to show no evidence of causation between coffee drinking and problems below around three cups of coffee each day.
Latte Art And Tasting Competition
People will compete at pretty much anything, even hot drinks. It’s that competitive spirit that gives us the World Cup Tasters Championship. In this event, participants aim to use smell and taste to identify different coffees from around the world as quickly as possible. Coffee tasting is just one competition held in the annual World Coffee Event, which took place this year in Nice, France. Latte art is among the most impressive, and certainly the easiest to appreciate over the internet. Using nothing but hot milk and espresso, latte artists work to create intricate designs on the surface of the drink. Swirls and leaves are popular, but some artists produce pictures of dragons, cartoon characters, and teddy bears, the last being too adorable to even consider drinking.
Coffee Ban In 17th-Century England
Coffee first reached England in the 17th century, served in coffee houses around the country—there were 82 in London alone by the mid-1660s. But coffee wasn’t popular with everyone. A group of women, frustrated by the lack of virility in their men, claimed coffee “made men as unfruitful as the deserts.” This campaign by “several Thousands of Buxome Good-Women, Languishing in Extremity of Want,” as they called themselves, combined with concerns from other quarters, saw King Charles attempt to ban the drink in 1675.
The people were very unhappy with this decision, and Charles quickly forgot about the idea. Coffee houses went on to become the meeting places of the scientific and literary worlds, frequented by people like Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke, Samuel Johnson, and Alexander Pope.
Coffee Overdose And Addiction
Caffeine, like any drug, is toxic in large enough doses. The lethal dose of caffeine would require about 100 cups of coffee, and the water from drinking that much coffee in one go would kill you before the caffeine did. That said, there’s still enough caffeine in coffee to make you ill, especially if you’re not used to it. A 17-year-old girl in England was hospitalized after drinking seven double espressos. She suffered mood swings, raised temperature, and palpitations. She said the experience has put her off coffee for good. The other risk of over-indulging is caffeinism, an addiction that is defined as needing six or more cups of ground coffee per day.
Coffee Contains Caffeine To Attract Bees
Every other coffee list on the Internet will tell you that coffee was discovered by goat herders, whose goats got a little jolly after munching on coffee berries. But why does coffee contain caffeine to begin with? Well, it’s toxic to slugs and other pests, but it turns out it also has an effect on pollinators such as bees. In fact, scientists think they get—wait for it—a buzz from the caffeine in the flowers of plants. Scientists found that consuming caffeine helped bees to improve their long-term memories. The caffeine acts on the brain chemistry of bees in a way that makes the flowers more memorable, so the bees are more likely to return to plants of the same type. Though bees and humans are very different, some experts suggest the capacity to be affected by caffeine could be as old as the common ancestors we share, as it impacts our neurological activity on a very fundamental level.