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15 Facts About Coffee You Never Knew

There's a lot that goes into your cup of Joe.

If you're a coffee drinker, you probably have a morning coffee routine down pat. Whether you rely on French press, cold brew, or a homemade latte, drinking a good cup of coffee is a common (and satisfying) way to start the day.

But even if you're an avid coffee lover, you might not know some of these fun coffee facts. Read on for some coffee trivia—you never know when it will come in handy.

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You'll get more caffeine from drip coffee than espresso

coffee pot pouring into two mugs

You might think that because espresso is so concentrated, you'll get more caffeine from it than from regular old drip coffee. But you'd be incorrect! One espresso shot has around 100 milligrams of caffeine, while a cup of drip coffee has around 128 milligrams of caffeine. If you really want to take things to the next level, add a shot of espresso to your drip coffee to make a red-eye drink.

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Light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast

running coffee pot

While we're talking about caffeine myths, let's debunk another common coffee misconception. You might think that bitter, dark coffee contains the most caffeine, but the opposite is true. Light roast coffee has more caffeine because it's roasted for a shorter time.

Coffee is full of antioxidants

ground coffee in filter with spoon next to coffee pot

If your coffee-loving parents instilled in you that coffee is good for you, they're not wrong (unless you load it up with sugar, that is). Coffee's powerful antioxidants can help protect your body from disease.

"Coffee is surprisingly rich in antioxidants—naturally-occurring plant compounds that have been shown to help protect against several chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer," Kelli McGrane, MS, RD, registered dietitian and Lose It! nutrition consultant, previously told Eat This, Not That. "Coffee is particularly rich in an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which has been linked with helping to reduce cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels."

The caffeine extracted from decaf coffee is sold to soda makers

bubbling coffee pot next to mug

Have you ever wondered what happens to the caffeine that's taken out of decaf coffee blends? It turns out, it's in high demand. That caffeine is sold to soda companies as well as pharmaceutical ones, according to a 2008 Wall Street Journal article.

You can order a "short" drink at Starbucks

Starbucks short disposable cup on a table
Charles Koh/Unsplash

Is a tall drink still too much coffee for you? Starbucks has an off-menu "short" size that's smaller than a tall. (Conversely, there's also "trenta," which is larger than a venti.)

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There's a Guinness World Record for the "fastest time to drink a cup of coffee"

Cup of decaf coffee

Many of us savor each sip of that morning coffee. But if you want to set a world record, you'll barely even taste the stuff. Andre Ortolf of Germany set the record in 2019, downing a coffee in just 4.35 seconds.

There's a car that runs on coffee

Coffee creamer milk

Yes, really! The so-called "Car-puccino" is a 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco that was modified to run on leftover coffee grounds. At least it's eco-friendly!

The world's most expensive coffee costs up to $600 a pound

cup of coffee

If the price alone isn't enough to deter you from trying kopi luwak, what about the fact that it's colloquially called "cat poop coffee"? Believe it or not, this coffee comes from beans previously digested (and pooped out) by civet cats. It's been criticized for animal cruelty, and in addition to that, coffee just isn't worth a $100-plus price point.

The world's first webcam was created to watch coffee

Dark roasted coffee

Have you ever heard that Google Image Search was created because of Jennifer Lopez's iconic green Versace dress? It turns out, the invention of the webcam has a similar story. Researchers at the University of Cambridge set up a webcam to watch the coffee pot in their computer lab so they wouldn't walk to the break area only to find an empty pot. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

Coffee was reportedly discovered by goats

Coffee beans with metal scoop

As legend has it, a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed his goats were more energetic after eating a certain type of berries. The goat herder took his findings to a monastery, and at some point after that, people started using the plant to make a drink.

Chock Full O'Nuts doesn't have any nuts

can of chock full o nuts coffee on blue background

You might think it's obvious that a coffee brand doesn't have nuts in it. So then…why is it called that? Chock Full O'Nuts started as a nut roastery in New York City, then pivoted to coffee. The name stuck; the nuts didn't.

Boston really, really loves Dunkin'

Hot and iced coffee at dunkin donuts
Courtesy of Dunkin'

The first Dunkin' location was in Massachusetts, and New England has a lot of hometown pride for Dunkin', especially its iced coffee drinks. Just ask your Boston friends, and they'll probably have some niche Dunkin' memes to share. There's even a Saturday Night Live sketch about it.

Americans spend a lot on coffee each year


One Amerisleep study from 1,0008 respondents found that women spent an average of $2,327 on coffee each year, while men spent an average of $1,934. Other research puts the average coffee spend at $1,100 for Americans; either way, it's no small amount of cash.

Starbucks was founded by two teachers

trio of starbucks holiday cups
Leena Robinson/Shutterstock

You might think that Starbucks was founded by businessmen, but its founders were two teachers and a writer, according to Thrillist. But, really, who needs coffee more than teachers and writers?

There's a scientific reason whipped coffee works so well

whipped coffee

Dalgona coffee was a huge trend at the beginning of the pandemic. But how do instant coffee crystals turn into a frothy drink? It all has to do with the ratios of the ingredients.

"The repeated viral whipped coffee recipe is to use two tablespoons each of coffee, sugar, and water. For most instant coffees, a prescribed 'cup' of coffee is one teaspoon of crystals mixed into six ounces of water," Popular Mechanics explains. "By using six times more crystals in one-twelfth the water, then adding two tablespoons of sugar 'glue,' we're really doping the chemical reaction in favor of building foam."

Aside from the fact that the whipped coffee recipe uses a lot less water than you'd typically use with instant coffee, the sugar is more than just a flavoring. It helps hold everything together, giving you that Instagram-worthy, sippable texture.

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Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more about Meghan
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