back to top
Food

9 Facts About Coffee That You'll Never Be Able To Unhear

Hot tip from our forefathers: Brew your coffee with eggshells and eel skins.

Posted on

1. We used to brew our coffee with eggs, fish, and eel skins.

Disney / Giphy

In the olden days, making coffee was a chore people did by hand. The easiest way was to boil the coffee grounds and water together and then toss the entire thing, grounds and all, into your mouth. To circumvent this, people used eggs and sea creatures to settle the grounds. One recipe even advised that you use the "whites, yolk, and shell" of an egg when purifying your brew.

2. You can make white wine from coffee pulp.

NBC via Giphy

During the Great Depression, Brazil was left with a surplus of coffee and they were desperate to get rid of it. Brazilians researched a number of different uses for coffee, including using it as fuel and to make perfume. Brazilian researchers developed a dry white wine out of coffee pulp, but it was expensive to make and not as potent as fruit wine, so it never really took off.

3. A satirical 17th-century pamphlet claimed that coffee would lead men to be "Cuckol'd by Dildo's."

Houghton Archives via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, friend, you read that correctly. In 1674, an anonymous source released a satirical pamphlet entitled the "The Women's Petition Against Coffee," which decried the effect of coffee on men's libidos with the filthy wit of a sexually frustrated Samantha Jones. This work argues that men "come from it with nothing moist but their snotty Noses, nothing stiffe but their Joints, nor standing but their Ears." The men's response, was of course, equally filthy. It claimed that coffee, "makes the erection more Vigorous, the Ejaculation more full," and "adds a spiritualescency to the Sperme."

4. Coffee was in such high demand during the Revolutionary War that women raided a warehouse to get it.

Warner Bros. via Giphy

After the British refused to repeal their tax on tea, an "anti-tea hysteria" took hold of colonists. Between 1772 and 1779, coffee usage in America increased sevenfold, filling the tea hole. But that also meant that merchants could jack up prices on the new American beverage and women were not having it. Abigail Adams described a scene where almost 100 women shook down a merchant they believed to be hoarding coffee, as men looked on in shock. What's more American than rioting for coffee?

5. One couple's undercover love affair is responsible for Brazil's massive coffee production.

Fox via Giphy

Portuguese diplomat Francisco de Melo Palheta was sent to French Guiana as a diplomat to resolve a border issue with Dutch Guiana in the 1720s. While there, he was secretly on a mission to obtain coffee seeds so Portugal could get in on this coffee business everyone seemed fond of. Not only did he successfully navigate the border dispute and get away with coffee beans — he also seduced the governor's wife, Madame D'Orvilliers, in the process. She helped him sneak the product out of French Guiana by hiding ripe coffee berries in his goodbye bouquet. Today, Brazil is known as the largest coffee producer in the world.

6. Honoré de Balzac drank 50 cups of black coffee, which is either way too much, or just enough, depending on how you look at it.

Paul Nadar via Wikipedia Commons

Balzac: You've heard of him, your English teacher talked about him, maybe you've even made a dirty joke or two about his name. He had some notable work habits that contributed to his enduring legacy as a celebrated author with a pun-able name. He was rumored to drink up to 50 cups of black coffee during 12-hour writing stints on an empty stomach. Supposedly, he'd go to bed at 6 p.m., then rise at midnight to begin his work. Grind hard and prosper.

7. Sultan Murad IV didn't just ban coffee, he executed coffee drinkers.

Satisfied Customer / Giphy

Sultan Murad of the Ottoman Empire took matters into his own hands by disguising himself as a commoner and taking the streets with an executioner in tow. If he caught any of his subjects imbibing, he would behead them on the spot. This wasn't too off-brand for him, though; he was infamous for his cruelty. Tobacco users and alcohol drinkers met the same fate, though Murad himself partook in both habits.

8. King Frederick the Great of Prussia brewed his coffee with champagne.

Def Jam via Giphy / Via somebodytodiefor.tumblr.com

Before battle, the king would use champagne in place of water to make his coffee. Then he'd add in powdered mustard, a truly disgusting fact that makes me believe I could never have survived as 18th-century royalty. I don't know if he actually enjoyed this concoction or if it was some weird soldier thing, but it should be noted that he also banned coffee throughout Prussia.

9. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote an entire mini-opera about coffee to shade coffee naysayers.

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

In Bach's time, people thought coffee was the devil's evil libation, so he wrote this comedic opera about an overbearing father, Schlendrian, and his coffee-addict daughter, Liesgen, who get into it on the regular over her wish to visit coffeehouses. He even threatens her with — gasp! — the prospect of not marrying, but Liesgen's coffee-fueled mind is too sharp for patriarchal threats and she ends up getting a husband and her coffee. You can check out the opera above, or read an English translation here.

Unless otherwise noted, all facts come from Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast.

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss