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Here in Western North Carolina, there are plenty of different activities to do while you’re here. Whether it’s going on an adventure on one of the many scenic hiking trails, going shopping, or just driving around seeing the sites, you’ll never find yourself getting bored. While you’re exploring the Plateau, you will come across a good cup of coffee that will keep you energized and ready to continue your journey though our little slice of paradise. Coffee is the perfect drink to enjoy during fall when the weather is cooler. What’s better than sitting down with a nice, hot cup of coffee and enjoying the beautiful scenery and watching the Plateau go through this spectacular transition? However, coffee is enjoyable year round. Below are a few of our favorite places to get that coffee you can enjoy while you are here:

  • Buck’s Coffee Cafe in Cashiers, NC: This little treasure in Cashiers has an exquisite latte, amazing iced coffee, delectable pastries, and a very tasty soup. While you’re there, make sure the browse through their unique and amazing art as well as their decorative gifts and accessories.
  • Starbucks in Ingles in Cashiers, NC: This small grocery store coffee shop has won awards for their service and is a preferred coffee shop here in Cashiers. The staff is super friendly, you will get your drinks fast, and the coffee is crisp and hot. There is also free Wi-Fi and a small area to sit and enjoy your coffee before you do your grocery shopping.
  • Calder’s Coffee in Highlands, NC: If you are looking for a great coffee spot in Highlands, Calder’s is the perfect place. With very welcoming employees, a large selection of small bites, and great coffee, it’s very hard to pass up. This is an overall great spot to be and not just for the coffee.
  • Cake Bar at Mill Creek in Highlands, NC: This cute little dessert place doesn’t just have amazing desserts, they also have great cups of coffee. Their expresso, cappuccino, and Irish coffee are definitely note worthy as well. As far as their desserts go, they have several different options including some gluten-free choices as well.

America was a little late to the coffee game, but has flourished and thrived since it entered the market. Coffee has become a huge part of American culture, just like rock-n-roll and sports, like football. With every part of American culture, there is a story and the story of coffee has been a long one, one that began a few hundred years ago. There are several coffee history facts and other information about coffee that will definitely peak your interest.

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Coffee?

  • Coffee has been connected to certain health benefits such as elevating one’s brain health and lowering the likelihood of diabetes. These benefits have not been verified, so make sure not to put extra sugar and milk into your coffee and watch how much coffee you consume.
  • Coffee beans contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, even though they aren’t abundant in nutrients. A regular 8-ounce cup of coffee, provides you with:
    • 5 milligrams of calcium
    • 7 milligrams of magnesium
    • 7 milligrams of phosphorus
    • 116 milligrams of potassium
    • .05 milligrams of zinc
    • Very small quantities of thiamin, niacin, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin B-6.
  • Coffee beans are naturally packed full of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid. The NYU Langone Medical Center has stated that chlorogenic acids that are extracted from green coffee can help people lose weight and reduce blood pressure. However, more research needs to be conducted to determine the length of these effects.
  • Coffee naturally contains caffeine, but the amount of caffeine is determined by the type of coffee used and how that coffee is prepped. The Linus Pauling Caffeine Institute states that caffeine vitalizes the nervous system and it is absorbed rapidly into the body’s tissues, as well as the brain.
  • A regular cup of coffee contains more caffeine than an espresso shot.
  • There have been 3 trends that have been definitive of the evolution of how people consume coffee.
    • 1st Trend: Coffee was a low-cost available good where the drink had the same taste.
    • 2nd Trend: Coffee shops that were very sought after began using sweet flavors as well as other customizations to add something extra to drink. However, the base tended to be a roasted coffee blend that had a flavor that remained constant.
    • 3rd Trend: The drink has become a delicacy that has a history and a specific flavor that tells that history. Roasting at this point has advanced to where it really brings out the intricate flavors of carefully attained beans.
  • Arabica and Robusta coffee are the primary types of coffee sold in the commercial market.
  • Brazil is the leading coffee producer followed by Vietnam and Colombia.
  • Finland consumes the most coffee out of any country.
  • Smallholder farms are the primary producers of coffee at 80%.
  • The most expensive coffee in the world can go up to $100 a cup and it is processed by a civet cat.
  • Coffee beans are in all actuality fruit pits or seeds of a fruit.
  • Coffee, next to petroleum, is the world’s most valuable trafficked good.
  • Due to our saliva diluting the flavor, the taste of coffee is different from the scent it gives off.

Where is the Birthplace of Coffee?

According to coffee history facts, hundreds of years ago, rumor has it that a goat herder by the name of Kaldi acquired coffee beans on the Ethiopian plateau. Kaldi’s goats found the fruit and ate it and it gave them an abundance of energy. Seeing this, Kaldi tested the fruit himself and it caused him to have the same response. Due to this, Kaldi decided to bring the fruit to a local monastery where an abbot turned the red berry into a drink and shared it with other monks. When this discovery was made, its presence was made known across the continent.

When Did Humans First Start Drinking Coffee?

Before coffee was the drink that it is today, it was prepared in a multitude of ways including wine-like substances. By the 1400s, coffee was being procured and trafficked in Arabia, and the beans were roasted and brewed. There were then public coffee houses, also known as qahveh khaneh, that appeared across the East where the patrons of these establishments could trade information over a cup of coffee, according to coffee history facts.

When Did America Get Coffee?

According to coffee history facts, America was late to the coffee scene. The drink was finally brought over to the Americas by the British in the mid-1600s. Coffee houses were all the rage and they got even bigger after the Boston Tea Party in 1773. This revolt against King George III caused a huge switch from tea to coffee.

By the 1700s, coffee was one of the highest money making goods in the world. The interest and in gestation in the U.S. was raised primarily during the Civil War, and judicious businessmen were searching for a way to make a profit from it. In 1864, Charles and John Arbuckle started selling pre-roasted coffee by the pound and were making a fortune selling it to cowboys out West. Also around this time, James Folger was selling coffee to the gold miners out in California and he, too, did very well in the market. After this, several other big names such as Maxwell House and Hills Brothers quickly followed. After the war, instant coffee was brought into the market and was all the rage until 1971 when Starbucks opened in Seattle.

When Did Coffee Come to Western Carolina?

It’s believed that the Spanish conquistadors were the ones who brought coffee to Western Carolina. When the “Reconquista” ended (lasted 700 years) and Spain was reclaimed by the Spanish, coffee and how it was prepared was left behind by the Moorish conquerors. Also, after the war, the Spanish traded with the Arabs, Turks, and North Africans (their former conquerors) and received coffee beans that came directly from Yemen and Ethiopia. Due to the fact that the Spanish were able to trade with their former enemies and that their former enemies left behind coffee, the Spanish were able to take away something positive from the Reconquista.

Not long after the war, veterans of the Reconquista followed Christopher Columbus to the New World in order to colonize it and conquer America’s Southeast, which lasted until the 1800s. However, in Mexico, they were able to establish coffee in the late 1700s.

At minimum, two military expeditions composed of Spanish soldiers, priests, translators, prisoners and slaves, traveled to what would now be considered Asheville, North Carolina. It is believed that the first coffee in Asheville was roasted, brewed and served around the middle of the 16th century as well as the last of the Spanish wine.

According to coffee history facts, it is believed that in 1541 Hernando de Soto and his men crossed the banks where the Swannanoa River and the South French Broad River meet. This area is known as a primitive road crossing of Native American footpaths. The men were searching for gold, the fountain of youth (also known as Muscadine Grapes) and a path through the mountains to their colonies in Mexico. These men left disease and disaster in their wake. They did, however, trade with the stronger Native Americans and left hem with Spanish wine, roasted coffee and jewelry.

After de Soto, Captain Juan Pardo followed in de Soto’s footsteps with his own Recanquista veterans. Turkish roasted coffee was a big part of their diet, like Spanish wine. Therefore, they brought their coffee with them in their quest to conquer North America. After Pardo and his men destroyed several French coastal settlements, he came out to Western North Carolina with 30 mastiff war dogs, 50 matchlocks (large muskets) and 120 steel clad armored soldiers. They journeyed 231 miles from Fort Santa Elena (positioned on modern day Parris Island, South Carolina in Beaufort County) past where present day Asheville is located and built Fort San Juan about 49 miles away outside of Morrisville, North Carolina.

The stronger Native American tribes, that were not controlled by the Spaniards, were interested in the Spaniards’ wine, steel and coffee. However, this was not enough to protect Fort San Juan. The desolation caused by de Soto and Pardo was too great and due to this, the Fort was burned to the ground by the Catawba Nation. Only one man by the name of Juan de Badejoz managed to get out; and according to legend, he took a cask of wine and the last bag of coffee.

The location where the Fort once stood was archeologically excavated and it became known as the Berry Site due to the Berry coffee, wine or chocolate that stayed with the Fort as it was destroyed. In place of where the Fort once stood is ceremonial Catawban mound. It would be a long time before coffee was seen again in Asheville, North Carolina.

Sometime after 1585, a man by the name of Sir Richard Greenville brought around 100 soldiers, colonists, and sailors to Roanoke Island with a bag of coffee. However, the Cherokee and Europeans had minimal contact with Western North Carolina until the late 17th century. In the 18th century, however, there was a very successful trade between white settlers and the Cherokee with tea, coffee, sweets and chocolate for corn, tomato, and smoked trout. During the American Revolution, cafes and coffee drinking became a cultural habit for post-colonial North Carolina. In 1784, the early white settlers, (the Pattons, Davidsons, Gudgers, and Alexanders) who were wealthier families, displayed their privilege by fixing coffee for themselves and their guests, due to it taking more time to be prepared than tea does.

Vacation Rentals in Western North Carolina!

Whether you’re planning your vacation around going shopping, or you’re wanting to go explore nature, there are a few great places to get a good cup of coffee while you’re here visiting. Landmark Vacation Rentals has amazing properties to rent throughout the plateau, so you can come and experience our way of life and enjoy that cup of coffee. Stay in a lakeside cabin or single-family home and enjoy the view and the area’s breathtaking landscape. While you’re enjoying your cup of coffee, you can look out at the beautiful mountain scenery as it is preparing for winter.