Coffee has become a staple in the American diet, and many of us cannot imagine a world without our favorite caffeinated beverage. To celebrate Independence Day, let’s take a look at how coffee became such an important part of American culture.
WHERE IS COFFEE FROM?
Coffee is a relatively new product of North America, but coffee plants have been utilized for their energizing properties since 1000 BCE. Herders on the Ethiopian plateaus would eat coffee berries and the seeds inside (now known as coffee beans) to help them stay awake through the night to protect their animals and have the energy to fight off predators.
Coffee quickly spread across the African continent and to Asia, where the beans were traded for European goods. Visitors from England and Spain brought back word of a beverage that gave you energy. By the mid- 17th century, Europe was obsessed with the drink, which was a mix of the coffee plant and water.
THE COFFEE OBSESSION BEGINS
Around the same time, Dutch settlers brought coffee on their voyage across the sea to the city of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York). The beverage was enjoyed in moderation, but tea was still the go-to drink, especially for British colonists.
When King George III instated a heavy tax on tea in 1773, colonists quickly challenged his rule by shifting to coffee in large amounts. Revolutionaries claimed coffee as a symbol of freedom and rejected tea as inherently British and unpatriotic.
Benjamin Franklin even called coffee “the drink of the civilized world.”
WE STILL LOVE COFFEE TODAY
America has continued its coffee obsession over the past 200 years and has become one of the top ten coffee-drinking countries in the world.
The United States consumes over 486 cups of coffee per person per year and imports over $4 billion of coffee beans each year to feed a growing infatuation with the drink.
Coffee is one of the top five beverages consumed in the United States each year, and its growing popularity will only increase as Americans look for new ways to stay energized. This 4th of July, let’s remember our (coffee plant) roots and celebrate our coffee-fueled successes.
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