The distinctive aroma and intoxicating taste, has made coffee one of the most loved drinks through the ages, all around the world. Wherever coffee went, it became readily admired by the masses. However, those in authority kept challenging its use.
In seventeenth century Turkey, Sultan Murad IV made drinking coffee a crime, punishable by death! In fact he was so intent on doing away with coffee consumption, that he walked the streets of Istanbul disguised as a commoner carrying a 100 pound sword decapitating coffee drinkers. A bit ‘over the top’, if you ask me!
As the bean made its way into Europe, physicians of the time claimed it would drain ‘cerebrospinal fluid’ and bring on paralysis. In mid sixteen hundreds the women in England blamed it for every type of impotence. Even Germany banned the drink under the claims that it was harmful to health.
But the real reasons were more political. Coffee houses were common places were subjects gathered and held discussions over coffee, and governments were fearful of revolts.
Despite many efforts to the contrary, coffee prevailed and in the early Arab world it became such an indispensable part of the family life, that the failure of a husband to provide coffee to his wife was considered a legal reason for separation. According to rumour, even Pope Clement VIII found coffee irresistible and said, “Why, this Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it.”
Coffee was consumed as a symbol of freedom in the late 1700’s when England implemented a hefty tax on tea in the colonies which eventually led to the ‘Boston Tea Party’. It was then that a nation of tea drinkers switched to coffee. Much later, consumption of alcoholic beverages was a common place aboard the US Navy ships, but Admiral Josephus ‘Joe’ Daniels banned alcohol on Navy ships except for select occasions. At which point coffee became the favoured drink giving rise to the expression ‘Cup of Joe’.
So How Many People Drink Coffee Today?
While the United States might be soaking up one third of all coffee exported (2.5 million pounds), with 83% of the over 18 population drinking many different types of coffee at some point or other, it is by no means the largest coffee drinking nation when the per capita figures are taken into account.
The International Coffee Organization statistics indicate that throughout the world roughly 1.4 billion cups are consumed daily and nearly 45 per cent of it is consumed in the U.S. While the U.S may be the country consuming most of the world’s coffee production with roughly more than half of its population drinking close to three and a half cups daily, it does not mean that the average U.S. resident is drinking more coffee than other people on the planet. In fact according to per capita figures, U.S is not even in the top ten!
The top coffee drinkers in the world according to 2013 statistics are the people of the Scandinavian countries with each Finn downing an incredible 10 kilograms per year, and Norwegians following close at a little over seven kilograms of coffee, per person each year. The U.S is number twenty two on the list with a little more than three kilograms per person per year.