When you wake up, take a break, socialise or relax, there’s often a steaming hot cup by your side, and a 50/50 chance it contains coffee.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where “coffee” is one of the many words you can make with the letters provided.
Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world, after petroleum, according to UK-based website History Extra.
Legend has it, a goat herder in ninth century Ethiopia, named Kaldi, discovered coffee when he saw his goats chewing some berries from a tree and transforming into excited, high-energy creatures. Kaldi told the abbot of a local monastery about his find, and the abbot came up with the idea of drying and boiling the berries to make a beverage.
He threw the berries into the fire, and in seconds, he got a whiff of that special coffee fragrance we all know and love. The abbot then raked the roasted beans from the embers, ground them up and dissolved them in hot water. And so, he enjoyed the world’s first cup of coffee. Word soon spread about the reinvigorating drink, and the popularity of coffee soon spread from the Middle East, through the Balkans, Italy and the rest of Europe and the world.
Today, coffee is everywhere and has a whole range of flavour combinations. But the beloved beverage has an interesting past. Here are some moments from the past that played a part in the history of coffee:
1. Oldest brewing methods
The oldest brewing methods used today are the ibrik – used to make Turkish coffee – and boiling coffee grounds in a pot. Every other brewing method we use today, right from the French press to drip brewers, were all invented after 1900. Before that year, people would brew coffee by boiling it, and then use eggs, fish or eel skins to separate the coffee grounds from the coffee itself.
2. Brazilian coffee and the Olympics
It’s thanks to coffee that the Brazil Olympic team was able to make it to the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, US. Brazil’s sports federation chartered a merchant steamer, the SS Itaquicê, to transport its athletes to Los Angeles. But because they were unable to fund the team, they asked the country’s National Coffee Council to put together a cargo of coffee. Coffee growers rallied and donated thousands of bags. The Brazilians’ ingenious plan was to sell coffee at ports along the way and use the revenue to fund the team – a win-win situation for the country, which at the time, was the world’s largest coffee producer, accounting for 80 per cent of the world’s coffee.
3. Coffee grinding guns
During the Civil War in the US, Union soldiers’ guns were designed to hold coffee grinders within them. This ingenious design was made possible so that the soldiers could have fresh coffee while in their camps. It was bad luck for the Confederate army, though, since they did not have access to coffee – the Union soldiers cut off their access to the ports.