Summer is a telling time for coffee drinkers; the heat naturally flushes out the untrustworthy fair-weather “It’s too hot for coffee” types from their ruse and lets us know who we can really trust. I started drinking coffee as a kid – funny given a popular myth regarding the discovery of the bean’s stimulating properties. Coffee originates from Ethiopia, allegedly first noticed by a goat herder named Kaldi whose goats began acting jumpy after eating several wild coffee cherries. The bean has since grown to become an essential part of global food culture – the second most widely traded commodity after crude oil – and the basis of millions of people’s livelihoods (and others’ mornings).
In honor of one of the world’s favorite beverages, we’ve compiled 8 coffee facts about our favorite gifts that will have coffee lovers buzzing no matter how they take it.
1.) Cooler than you think: It’s never too hot for coffee, but for those who are after a refreshing and revitalizing afternoon drink, cold brew is for you! Plus, cold brew coffee may actually be more flavorful! When coffee grounds are exposed to hot water, acidic oils are extruded that don’t dissolve at lower temperatures. This gives coffee its bitter kick, but masks some of the fruity, aromatic flavor retained by cold brew. Check out our gift lab to see the Cold Brew Set in action!
2.) Mornings on tap: Here in North America, one third of tap water used for drinking is used to brew coffee! Soak up a little extra with this towel – perfect to hang nearby your coffee station to dry mugs between mornings.
3.) Sadly, you can’t wear the Coffee Belt: Though the most coffee is consumed by the global north, coffee can only be grown in a region straddling the equator known as the ‘Coffee Belt’ (or Bean Belt). The Coffee Explorer Set takes you on a tour of the belt with four varieties from Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia, and Honduras without having to board an airplane. That could get expensive quickly; the only U.S. state in which coffee can be successfully grown for commercial purposes is Hawaii, which explains why backyard bean growing hasn’t quite taken off.
4.) Before on-plane temperature control: This DIY take on coffee liqueur promises a different kind of buzz than your morning cup of Joe. Coffee Liqueur’s distant, freckle-faced cousin, Irish coffee, was conceived in the 1940s by the head chef at now-Shannon International Airport to warm American passengers on cold winter flights. When asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, the chef labeled it ‘Irish Coffee.’
5.) Stimulating more than your mornings: Turn your kitchen or dining room into your own café – maybe you’ll spark an important intellectual movement! European coffee houses, precursor to modern cafés, are often credited with helping to spark the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries for their role as public places for discussion. Plus, coffee benefits short term memory recall!
6.) Classic CoffΣΣ: Immortalized in ceramic, the classic Greek motif coffee cup is an iconic symbol of the New York City morning rush. Makes a perfect gift for a coffee loving New Yorker, who drinks (on average) close to a whopping seven times more coffee than inhabitants of other major cities!
7.) Caffeine Vaccine: With these soaps active in the shower and caffeine active in the bloodstream, you’ll be extra safe from unwanted microbes! Long credited speculatively with antiseptic properties, a 2011 study indicated that caffeine may be more effective than ampicillin at inhibiting bacteria like staphylococcus, salmonella and E. coli.
8.) Who needs unions when the boss has a bean machine?: Depicting 23 different kinds of espresso, the Pop Chart serves as an aesthetic reference for any espresso lover! Just don’t spend too much time staring at it with mouth-watering daydreams of bold, Italian goodness – espresso was first invented in the early 1900s as a means to decrease the time laborers took on their coffee breaks. Get back to work!