You Don't Know Joe

A California coffee expert is debunking some myths and legends about America's favorite caffeinated beverage.

How many cups of coffee do you drink a day? Three? If you said yes, that's roughly how many servings are consumed every day by each of the more than 100 million American adult coffee drinkers, according to a study by UC Irvine professor Steven Topick . With 400 million cups brewed each day, the U.S. lays claim to the top coffee-consuming nation, he says.

Topick is currently teaching a course called the World of Coffee. He is dispelling some of the myths about the brew. For example: legend has it the word 'coffee' comes from Kaffa, a coffee-growing region in Ethiopia. The truth according to Topick, however, is that although coffee grows natively in Kaffa, "coffee" is a corruption of the Arabic word "qahwa," which previously meant "stimulant." 

Topick was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete a manuscript on the world history of  coffee since 1500.

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