22 Bits of Trivia

Christopher C.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

It seems like only yesterday that I was researching fun facts for 21 Bits of Trivia for 2021. Um, I don't know if you've noticed yet but it's already 2022, buckos. Last year flew by, but let's not dwell on it any more than we have to! Here are our 22 Bits of Trivia for 2022!

A fictitious map exaggerating the number of coffee shops in a certain area.

1. COFFEE ON EVERY CORNER

As of 2008, there were about 25,000 coffee shops in the US. There were a little over 37,000 in the beginning of 2021.

A black-and-white photo of the Cutty Sark, a now-decommissioned tea clipper.

2. SET SAIL!

In its heyday, the Cutty Sark, a tea clipper, could transport enough tea at a time to make 200 million cups. Though the vessel was decommissioned in 1954, you can still enjoy Afternoon Tea and see the Cutty Sark at the Royal Museums Greenwich.

An image of an ibrik with a coffee plant coming out of it, overlaid on a Middle Eastern backdrop.

3. HINT OF HINT OF COFFEE

Before coffee roasting was invented, Saudis and Egyptians brewed unroasted coffee fruit in an ibrik. We can't imagine it was very strong.

An image of a medium's hands around a crystal ball depicting a tea leaf.

4. MYSTICAL LEAF PEEPING

Tasseography is the art of reading tea leaves to tell the future.

Cups of coffee with chai spices on a dark brown background.

5. WHY IS IT SPICY?

In 1453 Constantinople, coffee was first brewed with chai spices.

A freighter with many glasses of iced tea Photoshopped on top of it.

6. COLD AS ICE

Of the 519 million pounds of tea brought into the US every year, about 85% of it becomes iced tea.

A hand giving a stop sign to another hand trying to give it a cup of coffee.

7. BEY IS NOT BAE

Khair Bey, Mecca's governor in 1511, was ordered to be executed by the sultan of Cairo for attempting to ban coffee.

A man sitting on a couch with a remote in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other.

8. WAIT, MOVIES AREN'T REAL?

To mimic the look of whiskey for TV and film, actors are typically given watered-down black tea.

A top-down view of a moka pot brewing coffee.

9. BUONE NOTIZIE!

In the late 1500s, Italian botanist/physician Propero Alpini brought the good word of coffee back home. Italy proceeded to take it very seriously for the next 442 years.

An ornate teacup being filled by an equally ornate tea pot.

10. NOT THE GOOD CHINA

Early tea drinkers worried their delicate teacups would crack if exposed to hot tea, so they added milk to the cups beforehand to lower the temp of the tea. What was then purely cautionary has turned into the way the UK does it—93% of tea is drunk with milk today.

An illustration of Pope Clement VIII.

11. COFFEE GETS BAPTIZED (WELL, KINDA)

Pope Clement VIII tasted the then-called “drink of the devil,” loved it, and gave it his official approval in 1600.

A stack of abrasive sponges on a yellow background.

12. LIKE A SPONGE

Tea and coffee are porous, so they'll absorb any aromas around them. So, unless you want garlic Darjeeling or café du trout, we'd recommend storing your leaves and beans at room temp in an opaque, airtight container.

A bag of Mocha Java being poured into an Airscape canister.

13. A MORAL QUANDARY

The world's oldest coffee blend, Mocha Java, was the result of a 1685 Dutch smuggling operation. The famous brew is a blend of Yemeni (shipped from the port of Mokha) and Javanese beans. These countries were responsible for caffeinating much of the world at the time. Apparently, Dutch East India Trading Company workers mixed the beans to stretch them.

A cup of black tea frozen.

14. SORRY, MR. BLECHYNDEN

Richard Blechynden is often credited as the creator of iced tea, which came to be on a hot day at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. A different account of the invention of iced tea places it in pre-Civil War Kentucky. As the story goes, icehouses as early as 1842 were used to store ice for ice cream, iced tea, and the occasional mint julep. Classic.

An image of a hand pouring coffee into a man's head.

15. HARDLY A PREDICTION

In 1601, writer G. W. Parry said that coffee would, “intoxicate the brain.” Um yeah, and we love it.

An illustration of a stomach with 40 cups of black tea overlaid.

16. WHOLE LOTTA TEA

Tibetan tea customs dictate everyone's cup should remain full, which tracks because Tibetans reportedly drink 40+ cups each every day.

A man making siphon (aka vacuum pot) coffee.

17. HOW TO FEEL LIKE A MAD SCIENTIST

The vacuum coffee pot (also called a siphon) was invented in 1859. Up until this point, coffee drinkers had to contend with making their coffee in less fragile and precarious ways.

A camel carrying a wooden crate of tea in Siberia.

18. THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART

In 1600s Russia, tea caught on quickly, which led to an annual pilgrimage of 6,000 camels from warmer climes to the frigid Motherland. The trips often took 1½ years. The installation of the Trans-Siberian Railway cut this arduous journey down to a few weeks.

The Wigomat 100, the world's first electric coffee maker.

19. IT'S ELECTRIC. BOOGIE WOOGIE WOOGIE

In the 1950s, German inventor Gottlob Widmann whipped up the world's first electric coffee maker. The Wigomat is truly a sight to behold. It gives off Moccamaster, Melodrip, siphon, and autodrip vibes all at the same time. Up to a liter of water is boiled in the main chamber before being pumped into the outlet arm, from where it saturates the paper filter full of grounds in the next chamber. From there, the Wigomat operates like any modern autodrip machine, only you have to unhook the carafe chamber from the boiling chamber before serving. Kooky.

Image Attribution: www.acosta.eu, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
An image of biscuits, clotted cream, jam, and black tea.

20. AFTERNOON TEA

History has it that Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, popularized Afternoon Tea in 1840, about 180 years since tea drinking reached England. What started as a light meal to break up the long stretch between breakfast and her 8 PM dinner quickly became a social event. Though Afternoon Tea was more elaborate then, the custom is still alive and well.

Dalgona whipped coffee on a serving platter.

21. NOW WATCH ME WHIP

Remember dalgona coffee? The whipped bev that blew up during 2020's lockdown is based on a '60s street candy invented in Busan, South Korea.

A bold red circle with a slash atop a photo of a woman sticking her pinky out while drinking wine.

22. WHEN IN DOUBT, PINKY OUT

Sike. Though movies and cartoons have reinforced the pinky out to be fancy narrative, we're here to tell you that you should absolutely not do that. Extending your pinky makes you look elitist and rude, as the snooty tea drinkers of yore would do it to shame the lower classes for using all their fingers. It's 2022, tuck that pinky in.

1 Comment

  • PM
    Patti McMahan

    That was fun trivia. And yes, anyone who tried to legally ban coffee—-why those would be fighting words!

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