Ever since a ninth century Ethiopian goat herder discovered that his goats became more energized by coffee (according to legend), the hot drink has become the world's most popular beverage, with over 500 billion cups consumed each year.
1The coffee that comes from animal droppings
Do you want a really special coffee and have disposable income? Try Kopi Luwak. This special blend is one of the most expensive coffees on the market, and can run hundreds of dollars per pound due to its rich taste and complex process. What makes the process of creating this delicacy so challenging?
Prior to being harvested by humans, the beans are eaten, digested, and defecated by civets, strange tree-dwelling, cat-like animals. The digestive juices ferment the berries in a way that creates a smooth-tasting cup of coffee with little bitterness.
Unfortunately, according to PETA, civets are force-fed the coffee beans while in confined in cages. By the time the cat-like creatures are released back in the wild, their health is in poor condition.
2The couple who are addicted to coffee enemas
Meet the couple from St. Petersberg, Florida who are addicted to coffee, but the way they ingest it is a little on the non-conventional side.
Mike and Trina (their last names have been withheld) are addicted to coffee enemas. This unique duo recently were profiled on the TLC show My Strange Addiction, and claim to have been giving themselves these caffeinated enemas for several years. (They say they average a whopping 100 a month!)
After having stomach ailments, Trina did a little research and stumbled upon coffee enemas. She gave this alternative treatment a try and felt better for the first time in many years. After witnessing her results, Mike soon picked up the habit.
Coffee enemas can be time consuming, however. The process of delivering a 32-ounce bucket filled with coffee to their lower intestines via a Vaseline-coated hose can take up to several hours a day.
The couple have become pros at giving themselves the enemas, however. “I make a quick transition from the floor to the toilet seat,” said Mike. “it comes flying out like a torrent.”
While Mike enjoys an espresso grind “on the cold side,” Trina is more partial to the “saturated blend” that is “warmer and thicker.”
Don't try this at home, kids. Stick to Starbucks!
3The woman who sued a restaurant chain over spilled coffee
Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico, gained notoriety as being an instigator in one of the most frivolous lawsuits in history – she is the woman who sued McDonald's over spilling hot coffee which she claimed severely burned her.
It turns out the suit wasn't quite so frivolous after all. Liebeck was in the passenger seat of her grandson's car when she ordered coffee at a McDonald's drive through window. After receiving it in a Styrofoam cup, the then
79-year-old's grandson pulled the car over so she could add cream and sugar to her drink. As Liebeck removed the plastic lid from the cup, hot coffee spilled in her lap. The sweatpants she was wearing absorbed the coffee and gave her third-degree burns on approximately 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, buttocks, and genitals.
Liebeck was hospitalized for six weeks and underwent numerous skin grafts. (It should be noted that McDonald's and other chains served their coffee at 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit – home brewing machines serve coffee at 130 to 140 degrees.)
Liebeck tried to settle with the fast-food giant at $20,000, but they refused settlement, which led to additional lawsuits. During the courtroom drama, it was discovered that more than 700 people made claims against McDonald's over being burned by their coffee.
Liebeck was rewarded $200,000 in compensatory damages. This amount was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found her 20 percent at fault in the spill. The jury also awarded the woman $2.7 million in punitive damages, which is about the cost of one of Ronald McDonald's blow dry sessions.
A post-verdict investigation found that the temperature of coffee at the local Albuquerque McDonald's had been dropped to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
4The tennis player's bizarre on-court request
In January 2015, Serena Williams was feeling a little sluggish in her match with opponent Flavia Pannetta in the Hopman Cup opener in Perth, Australia.
After losing the first set 6-0, she decided she needed a little pick-me-up, and when you're Serena Williams, you get to have some perks with the job. Williams got a percolating perk by ordering an espresso DURING the match!
After asking the umpire if it was okay, the tennis superstar then had a ball girl deliver her the espresso. “I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me,” Williams said. “I just asked them to get me a shot of espresso - I asked them if it was legal, because I've never done it before. I needed to wake up.”
Williams recovered to beat Flavia Pennetta 0-6, 6-3, 6-0. She later jokingly called her beverage “miracle coffee.”
5The casual coffee criminal who robbed a newsstand
In 2012, two men walked into a newsagent (newsstand) in Manchester, England, handed over four bags, and asked the cashier to fill them up with cigarettes and tobacco. Oh, did we mention that one of the robbers was nonchalantly holding a cup of coffee the whole time?
The men also robbed another newsstand in Manchester, Oasis News On Portway, on New Year's Day. Perhaps with all of this thieving and New Year's Eve partying, a cup ‘o Joe isn't a bad idea after all.
6The woman who started a coffee empire with her son's book
Before 1908, when you brewed coffee, filters were made of cloth. Sometimes coffee was filtered through socks if you were in a pinch. Yummy!
After getting fed up with her coffee's bitter taste caused by cloth filters, German homemaker Melitta Bentz literally took a page from her son's schoolbook and filtered her coffee through it. She quickly patented her contraption and became a coffee filter mogul.
The paper filters went on to win awards at the Leipzig Trade Fair and her company still exists to this day.
Thank you Melitta Bentz for bringing the sock brew to extinction!
7The naked coffee drinker who was arrested in his own home
Eric Williamson of Springfield, Virginia can't even enjoy his home brew nude! A few years ago, Williamson was arrested after his neighbor, Yvette Dean, was taking a morning walk with her child and spotted a man making his morning cup of coffee au natural. Did we mention the naked brewer was in his own home?!
Williamson described himself of being oblivious to the outside world, and told a reporter the morning was like any other: he made a pot of coffee, went upstairs and filled his cup – he just happened to be nude. The next thing he knew he was being arrested by police in his bedroom.
Details later emerged that Williamson had several roommates and was alone for the first time in months. Two other women testified that they saw Williamson nude that morning. The first was a librarian who saw the nude dude and considered it rude. She complained to the police, but they came by and saw nothing.
A little while later, Dean called 911 after seeing Williamson in all of his glory. She testified that she made eye contact with him and he gave her the finger. Williamson refuted her version of the story and was later acquitted. Once again, did we mention that the man was in his own home?
8Muppets creator's early version of Kermit the Frog pitched coffee in commercials
Many people don't realize that Jim Henson's lovable Muppets predate Sesame Street. In fact, Kermit the Frog started out as a green, vaguely froggish-type puppet in the 1950s that starred in a five-minute TV series called Sam and Friends. He was also in commercials for Wilkins Instant Coffee.
Proto-Kermit (a.k.a. Wilkins) was one violent Muppet. In one of the coffee commercials, Wilkins shoots his poor friend from a cannon, turns to the camera asks the viewers if they like Wilkins coffee, implicating that you better or else. In other commercials, Wilkins stabs, smashes, hammers and shoots “the bad guys” into liking the coffee.
It's not easy being green.
9The coffee stands that doubled as brothels
Coffee stands with baristas clad in bikinis have become all the rage in the Pacific Northwest. When you're competing in the area where coffee giant Starbucks began, you have to do something extra to make your business stand out. Carmen Panico, owner of five such coffee stands, did a little more than meets the eye to make her chain successful.
It turns out, the baristas working for Panico also engaged in sex shows and prostitution to make extra money at the coffee stands. Panico later pleaded guilty to prostitution and money-laundering charges.
The names of two of her coffee huts were Java Juggs and Twin Peaks, and one even including a stripper pole! Tell-tale giveaways perhaps?
Regardless, I'll take my coffee black, thank you very much.
10 The Pope who gave Europe the okay to drink coffee
Some people have undeservedly been lost to history. I would personally like to give thanks to good ol' Pope Clement VIII (1536-1605).
In the 1500s, coffee was imported from Arabia to Europe through the canals of Venice, Italy. While people in Christian Europe liked the caffeinated drink, it was greeted with suspicion. Some called it “Satan's drink.” Monks even urged Pope Clement VIII to outlaw the “Muslim” drink. The pope argued that the drink was so good that it would be a “sin” to let only “pagans drink it.” Thanks to Pope Clement, coffee began to spread across Europe.