Coffee Keeps Me Perking

“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and as sweet as love.”~ Turkish proverb

I’m “jonesing” this morning. I have too much to do and too little time, so I must have caffeine to keep me going. Actually, that’s not true. I had plenty of time, but I procrastinated. There is a storytelling retreat this weekend, and I’m one of the featured speakers. I need to rehearse, but I can’t concentrate.

All I can think about is coffee. Oh, I’ve already had two cups from the coffeemaker, but I need to go to my favorite little coffee house downtown (not Starbucks, though their coffee will do in a pinch) and get a tall mocha. I’ve promised myself that as soon as I hit the “publish” button, I will get in the car and reward myself.

So, here is a short quiz to see how much you know about coffee, other than the facts that it’s a stimulant, a diuretic, and a laxative.


  1. True or false: Coffee is the most popular drink in the world.
  2. The term “cup of Joe,” or “cuppa Joe” if you have a lazy Texas tongue, came to mean “cup of coffee” :
    a. During the Gold Rush Days when miners at a camp in San Francisco named it after a man who had brought bags of coffee beans to sell.
    b. The phrase goes back to the mid-1840s, and is of unclear origin, though it is possibly short for “Old Black Joe,” the title of a popular Stephen Foster song.
    c. It’s a Navy term for coffee that came about in 1914 when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels banned drinking aboard ships, so the strongest drink a sailor could get was a cup of coffee, which they named after Josephus Daniels.
  3. True or false: To keep coffee beans fresh, store them in the freezer.
  4. True or false: Drinking a pot of coffee will help sober a drunk person.
  5. True or false: It’s possible to drink too much coffee; the caffeine can kill you.
  6. True or false: Coffee is the second most widely traded commodity in the world.


  1. False, for most of the world, though at my house it’s true. Water, of course is number one (though the late W.C. Fields said “I can’t stand water because of the things fish do in it.”). Second on the list is tea.
  2. If you answered “b” or “c” you might be correct, but the origin of the phrase is really unknown. Wikipedia says the phrase goes back to the 1840s, if you believe them.
  3. False. Storing coffee beans in the freezer might even accelerate the loss of freshness. To remain fresh, coffee beans should be stored in a cool (not cold), dry, dark place in an airtight glass container. Bagged coffee beans begin to lose their freshness after about two weeks. It never gets two weeks old at my house.
  4. False. That’s a myth. If you feed a drunk person a pot of coffee, you have a drunk with a coffee buzz.
  5. True. It is possible to overdose on caffeine, but it takes 10g to make a lethal dose (that is MANY cups of coffee). If you drink a lot of coffee, you might want to make certain that you aren’t taking medication with caffeine in it.
  6. True. At least it’s what they say. After oil, coffee is the most widely traded commodity.

Whew! I’m gonna go get a cuppa Joe.

[ Editor’s note: I have silly life experiences in pursuit of coffee:

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