This exhibit is no longer on display at the Burke Museum. Current Exhibits | Coffee National Tour Schedule

Coffee: The World in Your Cup. January 24 to June 7, 2009.
10 Fascinating Facts
  • Seattle/Tacoma residents consume more coffee per capita than any other city in the country.
  • About 15 billion pounds of coffee are shipped around the world each year.
  • Coffee plants use caffeine as a natural pesticide to paralyze and kill destructive insects. Fortunately, it does not affect humans in the same way!
  • The coffee plant was discovered in Ethiopian forests at least 1,000 years ago.
  • The word "coffee" comes from the Turkish word qahwa, for a wine-like drink. "Java" is an Indonesian island where Dutch coffee plantations were located.
  • In 17th-century London, coffeehouses were called "penny universities" because for the price of a cup of coffee, you could listen for hours to enlightening talk.
  • Caffeine can relieve headaches by constricting the brain's blood vessels.
  • Coffee cultivation is hard work! Pickers are typically paid by the basket-full and an adult picker can harvest over 200 pounds of coffee berries a day.
  • Shade-grown coffee is much better for the environment than sun-grown coffee. More than a half-pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are needed for every pound of sun-grown coffee produced.
  • Since the 1960s, when new varieties of sun-tolerant coffee were developed, scientists have noted an alarming decline in migratory birds. Well managed shade-grown coffee farms provide the forest canopy environment upon which many species of migratory birds rely for survival.
Women examining coffee plants
Woman picking cherries (Sumatra)
Photo by Mark Stell, courtesy of Portland Roasting