National Coffee Day
While the U.S. and Canada celebrate National Coffee Day on September 29, other nations mark this day throughout the calendar. International Coffee Day happens just two days later on October 1. The International Coffee Organization has pledged to help struggling coffee farmers worldwide make a living wage.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL COFFEE DAY
The history of National Coffee Day seems a bit, well, cloudy. We believe September 29 came about as a jolting reminder to get back to work following a long summer — even though it’s a full week after the first day of fall. After all, Americans have turned procrastination into an art form.
On the other hand, the history of coffee itself clearly goes back to 15th century Yemen. (Check out Dave Eggers’ recent book for a fascinating look at how it all went down.) As for Europeans, they got their first taste about 100 years later — with Venice leading the way. Per the National Coffee Association, it wasn’t a smooth ride: “Some people reacted to this new beverage with suspicion or fear, calling it the ‘bitter invention of Satan.’ The local clergy condemned coffee when it came to Venice in 1615. The controversy was so great that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. He decided to taste the beverage for himself before making a decision, and found the drink so satisfying that he gave it papal approval.”
Mainland Europe’s first official coffeehouse (no, they didn’t serve lattes) opened in Venice around 1645.
Back in the U.S., if it weren’t for the Boston Tea Party in 1773, Americans may never have swapped tea for coffee. When the colonies revolted against King George III’s hefty tea tax, tea was out and coffee was in. Things really started to percolate in the mid 1800s when brothers John and Charles Arbuckle started selling coffee to cowboys in the American West. James Folger successfully introduced coffee to gold miners in California. Upon returning to San Francisco in 1865, Folger became a full partner of The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills — which eventually became the J.A. Folger & Co. in 1872.
Other brands including Maxwell House and Hills Brothers soon entered the coffee market. A yearning for “speciality” coffee took hold in the 1960s and a little Seattle company called Starbucks changed everything in 1971. Today the U.S. coffee shop market has grown to a $45.4 billion industry, according to Allegra World Coffee Portal’s 2019 Project Café USA report. Dry coffee sales topped $9 billion in 2017 in the U.S.
3 BUZZWORTHY WAYS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL COFFEE DAY
1.Meet and greet at a coffee house
National Coffee Day encourages folks to gather at their favorite coffee shop for the conversation as well as the java. After all, that was the original functon of coffee houses from as early as the 1700s. In England, coffee houses were dubbed “penny universities” because for the cost of a penny, one could drink a strong coffee and find intelligent, engaging conversation — just like today!
2.Experiment with a new brewing method
If you’re ready to move beyond your same-old, same-old coffee brewer, it’s time to get adventurous. Lots of Americans swear by the taste of coffee produced in a French press. Others prefer Chemex brewers, Turkish coffee pots, or cold-brew drip makers. Whichever method you try, make sure the coffee is excellent quality, because that’s what really matters!
3.Surprise someone with a cup of joe
Pick up a cup of coffee for a coworker, friend, family member, schoolmate, or even the security guard you pass on the street everyday. Don’t forget to wish them a happy National Coffee Day during the hand off!
5 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHILE YOU SATISFY YOUR COFFEE JONES
Coffee brought folks together
- In England, early coffee houses, increasingly known as “Schools for the Wise,” became gathering places for intellectual pursuits, entertainment and table games, like chess.
2.In Japan, you can soak in coffee at the spa
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun hot springs spa gives you the option to soak in a coffee bath, along with 26 other choices including red wine, sake or green tea.
3.Sweden tried death by coffee — it didn’t work
In 1746, Swedish King Gustav III ordered doctors to monitor how long it took convicted murderers to die after drinking cups of coffee, according to the National Coffee Association.
4.Coffee bean is a misnomer — it’s a fruit
You probably already know this but, to be clear, coffee springs from the fruit of a bush and the so-called “bean,” is the pit.
5.Beethoven was practically obsessive-compulsive about coffee
Before drinking his morning brew, the composer, Beethoven, actually counted out 60 coffee beans for each cup he brewed.
JUST 3 OF THE MILLION OR SO REASONS WE LOVE COFFEE
A. It’s a sensory experience
Coffee makes us feel good first thing in the morning and it makes use of all our senses. We love that deep brown or black color because the richer the color, the more flavorful the brew. Grinding the beans and inhaling the earthy smell of the grounds as we brew is all part of our daily ritual. At the end, you’re rewarded with the sensuous taste of a good, strong cup of joe to get you going for the rest of the day!
B. You can find great coffee anytime, anywhere
Now that coffee has gone “designer,” it’s easier than ever to get your coffee buzz on. Thanks to Seattle, America’s coffee capital, coffee caters to people in the biggest cities and in the smallest towns. From the classic Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks, you can always satisfy your coffee craving. Get a “regular” in New York City or a cappuccino in San Francisco. Caribou holds it down in the Midwest and in the South, grab a delicious coffee at any Waffle House — they’re open 24/7!
C. Coffee is good for your brain
Coffee isn’t just a beverage that perks us up. It actually helps our brains produce dopamine and adrenaline, improving our memories. Studies show that regular coffee consumption can reduce the likelihood of developing dementia by as much as 65%!
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