March is Women’s History Month (hurray!), and as a
bona fide caffeine addict, I feel it is my duty to elevate and celebrate Melitta Bentz — without her, we might not have our morning drip coffee.
Melitta was a housewife from Dresden who invented the paper filter
using her son’s school notebook. Prior to this simple (and genius!) application
of paper, cups of coffee were full of grounds, overly bitter, and the linens
used to strain the beans had to be washed repeatedly (boring!). Frau Bentz’s paper
filter was easy to use, cheap to make, and
disposable! She filed her patent in 1908, and the rest is history.
her, an entire industry was born, and it's important to note that her
method is still one of the most popular ways of brewing in the world — by some estimates, 60% of all
coffee is made in this way! I am personally grateful to Bentz, because her contribution to history means that I am not a zombie every morning.
Melitta Bentz, we honor you.
While you are still enjoying the buzz from your
morning brew, here are a few other fun, caffeine-related facts to think about:
has it that coffee beans were first discovered in Ethiopia when a shepard
noticed his goats acting all crazy. If you immediately are thinking of this
excited goat, you are not
• Coffee beans spread to Yemen from Ethiopia, and
it wasn’t until 1615 that merchants from Venice brought coffee to Italy.
• By 1750, coffee had spread throughout most of
• Coffee became so popular in Germany (then
Prussia) that King Frederick the Great banned it in order to bolster beer
sales (market manipulation, much?).
• One of my favorite National
Geographic articles makes the interesting point that it is probably not
coincidence that coffee and tea caught on just as the Industrial Revolution was
taking hold. This marked the first time in history humans had to ignore their
circadian clocks (which are set by sunrise and sunset), and instead work according to a factory clock.
According to Distractify and BuzzFeed, the first webcam was invented
and set up at Cambridge University to livestream a coffee pot being filled.
That way, it would spare people the desperate disappointment of arriving to find the pot empty (this makes me feel better about my coffee addiction).