Food For Thought

Coffee Quiz: Discover The World In A Cup Of Joe

Coffee quiz i i
David Gilkey/NPR
Coffee quiz
David Gilkey/NPR

Coffee is woven into the fabric of our lives. It's a morning ritual, social stimulant, a solitary pleasure, an intellectual catalyst. All this week, along with our friends at Morning Edition, we're bringing you the stories behind the coffee in your cup – from the farms of Guatemala to the corner coffee shop. And we're exploring how coffee changes people's lives.

Are you someone who runs on coffee? Test your knowledge of this vital brew:

Question 1: Who drinks the most coffee?

  • A. Finland In 2011, Finns consumed an average of 12.17 kilograms (26.8 pounds) of coffee per person. In fact, Nordic countries make up the top six coffee-drinking countries. Could it be something to do with the long, dark nights?
  • B. Italy While the Italians love their espressos — and were the first Europeans to import coffee from North Africa — they rank 12th on the list, with 5.9 kilograms (13 pounds) per person per year.
  • C. Peru Coffee consumption in Peru is very low — .51 kilograms or about a pound per person each year — and most of that is instant coffee.

Question 2: Which of these is a macchiato?

  • milk foam, steamed milk, espresso This is a cappuccino.
  • water, espresso This is an Americano.
  • milk foam, espresso This is a macchiato.

Question 3: Where did coffee originate?

  • A. Ethiopia Evidence suggests that the first coffee plants grew in the region of Kaffa in central Ethiopia.
  • B. Brazil Coffee wasn't planted in Brazil until the late 19th century.
  • C. Indonesia Java may be synonymous with coffee, but coffee was introduced to the Indonesian archipelago from somewhere else.

Question 4: Which of these is the coffee plant?

  • milk foam, steamed milk, espresso This is Pyracantha. Think garden shrub, not breakfast buzz
  • milk foam, espresso Coffee plants produce red or purple fruits called "cherries" that usually contain two seeds, called the coffee "beans." The caffeine helps the plant deter insects!
  • water, espresso This is Mahonia. Think ornamental rather than fundamental.

Question 5: Which country comes SECOND to Brazil as the world's largest coffee producer?

  • A. Vietnam Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French in the mid-19th century. Robusta beans account for most of Vietnam’s coffee output — more than 3.1 billion pounds in 2011.
  • B. India India is the world's second-largest producer of tea, after China.
  • C. Colombia Colombia ranks fourth among coffee-producing countries, and third in exports

Question 6: Who first told North America about coffee?

  • William Penn A. William Penn Coffee was being sold in New York for more than a decade before he founded his settlement on the Delaware in 1682.
  • John Smith B. John Smith Founder of the Colony of Virginia in 1607, Smith would certainly have encountered coffee on his Turkish travels, so he usually gets the credit.
  • Christopher Columbus C. Christopher Columbus He arrived a bit too early!

Question 7: Which will give you the biggest shot of caffeine?

  • A. Arabica beans These are rough estimates only, but a six oz. cup of drip-brewed arabica coffee will give you around 110 mg of caffeine.
  • B. Robusta beans A six oz. cup of drip-brewed robusta coffee will give you anything from 140-200 mg of caffeine, compared to around 100 in a cup of Arabica.
  • C. Yerba mate tea Mate has recently been touted as a high-caffeine tea alternative to coffee, but at around 85 mg per serving, it still doesn't reach the jolt of a cup of joe.

Question 8: Which of these machines would you NOT use to make coffee?

  • milk foam, steamed milk, espresso The Chemex Coffeemaker was invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter J. Schlumbohm, a chemist-turned-inventor.
  • milk foam, espresso This design of vacuum, or siphon, coffeemaker is a modern version of a pot invented in Europe in the 1830s.
  • water, espresso This is a condenser, used to collect and cool vapors from boiling liquids in the lab. Better for making moonshine than coffee.

Question 9: What's the origin of "Mocha" coffee?

  • A. Arabic word for chocolate If you're headed that way, better ask for shokolata, if you'd like some chocolate, or mashroub el-shocolata, if you fancy a chocolate drink.
  • B. Yemeni Port City Al-Mokha used to be a thriving port on the Red Sea Coast. It shipped a varietal of coffee native to Yemen and Ethiopia and lent its name to those beans. These helped fuel Europe's growing taste for this new and delightful drink that began in the 15th century.
  • C. Island off South America Coffee didn't reach any part of South America for another 200 years.

Question 10: Who brought coffee to Java?

  • A. Dutch East India Company The Dutch governor of Malabar, India, sent coffee seedlings via the East India Company to Batavia (near present day Jakarta) around 1696.
  • B. Marco Polo Marco Polo visited the region nearly 300 years before coffee arrived.
  • C. Muslim traders But these traders DID help introduce Islam to the Indonesian archipelago.

Story credits: Quiz written and edited by Ben de la Cruz, Maria Godoy, Alison Richards and Daniel Turner/NPR. Interactive developed by Alyson Hurt and Matt Stiles/NPR.

Photo credits: Question 2: All images by Lokesh Dhakar via Creative Commons. Question 3: (Pyracantha source: diveofficer/via Flickr; Mahonia source: Jim Capaldi/via Flickr; Coffee plant source: istockphoto.com. Question 4: (Christopher Columbus source: Library of Congress; William Penn source: Wikipedia; John Smith source: UK National Portrait Gallery). Question 8: (Chemex source: Lee Davenport; Siphon source: Ryan Orr; Lab Equipment source: NPR illustration/istockphoto.com).

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