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International Coffee Day

International Coffee Day is a day that celebrates coffee's journey from the farm to your local shop, and the day is an opportunity to honor the men and women who grow and harvest coffee for the whole world. It was started by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in 2015. As of 2017 the ICO consisted of 77 member states, and it is the main intergovernmental organization for coffee. The member governments represent 98% of the world's coffee production, and 83% of the world's coffee consumption. The celebration grew from 70 official events in 35 countries in its first year, to 130 events in 54 countries in its second year.

And what is this drink that the whole world seems to value? Coffee, of course! Coffee is a drink made from the roasted and ground beans of the coffee plant. Coffee beans originated in Ethiopia, and arabica beans are the main species, which now are grown throughout the "coffee belt", an area between the latitudes of 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South. Seventy-five percent of the world's coffee bean production is arabica. Most of the other coffee beans are robusta beans, or "Congo coffee" beans, which are more robust.

There are different legends as to how and when the drink was first brewed. One story claims that a 6th century goatherd from Kaffa named Kaldi saw that his goats were more lively after eating coffee beans. A monk named Mullah apparently noticed this and brewed the beverage and spread word of it around the region. Another story from the 15th century claims that a 9th century mufti—a Muslim legal expert—of Aden was the first to make the drink, and it became popular in Middle Eastern courts afterwards.

Coffee was brought to Italy by 1615, and to France by 1644. It became a popular drink in the court of Louis XIV in 1669, after the Turkish ambassador introduced it to him. France later introduced a coffee seedling to the Caribbean island of Martinique, and the plant eventually spread throughout Central and South America. The Dutch introduced the coffee plant to Indonesia and Java.

The first coffee house opened in London in 1688, and around the same time in the American colonies, as the drink was introduced there in 1670 by the Dutch. During the Revolutionary War the sale of coffee increased 600 percent due to the protestation of tea, but it did not stay popular after the war, as coffee itself was expensive. In the 1860's, the American Coffee Corporation was formed and began buying beans straight from Brazil and Columbia, which made coffee less expensive to Americans. Today beans from Brazil make up about a third of those used throughout the world, and Columbia is the world's second largest provider of coffee beans.

By 1878 coffee was being sold in sealed cans. There are many popular brands today, but one of them is Maxwell House. It was served at the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, and was drank by Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. There is a debate as to if he coined their slogan, "Good to the last drop". Another innovation in coffee, the creation of decaf coffee, came about in 1903, but it didn't gain popularity until the 1930's. Now it makes up about a quarter of the coffee market.

There are many different types of roasts of coffee, and the rise in a preference for darker roasts in the United States was fueled by the proliferation of coffee shops around the country. This boom was started with the opening of Starbucks in Seattle in 1983. There seems to be an endless debate as to if coffee is good or bad for you, but there seems to be a consensus that there are many health benefits, but some drawbacks.

How to Observe International Coffee Day

Check for official International Coffee Day events around the world to participate in. You can even submit your own event. International Coffee Day also has a photo competition. Even if you don't participate in these official events you can still participate on your own. All you need to do is drink coffee! Brew it at home or go to a coffee shop. Maybe you even live by one of the best coffee shops in the country.

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