You probably wake up to it. You may not be able to wake up without it. Tuesday, Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day, a time to celebrate the humble red berry that fuels mornings for about 130 million Americans.
Local free coffee deals
A number of coffee shops, restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations will once again offer free cups of joe on this day. In the Tampa Bay area they include:
Dunkin’ Donuts: Get a free medium cup of hot or iced dark roast at participating locations. One per person, please!
Flying J and Pilot Travel Centers: Like their Facebook page and print out a coupon good for a free 16 oz. cup.
IKEA: While it’s not doing anything special for National Coffee Day, if you join its Family Card program and get free coffee or tea every time you visit.
JetBlue: If you’re a Mint customer and you happen to be traveling Tuesday, you can enjoy a free Brooklyn Roasting Company espresso.
Kahwa Coffee: Just walk in to one of the eight local stores and say the phrase, “I Live United.” Presto! You get a free small cup of joe. It’s a promotion for Kahwa’s partnership with the United Way.
Krispy Kreme: You can’t pass this one up. Get a free small cup and, yes, an original glazed doughnut.
Staples: No, they don’t sell cups of coffee in the stores, but they are running a promotion on social media: post a picture with your coffee mug with the hashtag #OfficeMugShot and enter for a chance to win a free coffee pack.
Wawa: This popular new sub shop/gas station chain is offering a free cup in any size you choose.
If you miss the day, there are always online coffee coupons and promotions at popular chains like Starbucks, which chose to sit out the National Coffee Day promotion.
Fun facts about coffee
1. All coffee is grown in what is called the Coffee Belt, 50 countries around the equator that include Hawaii and Mexico. Soil, heat and light in this region offer ideal growing conditions.
2. Brazil produces 40 percent of the world’s coffee, twice as much as the second and third producers, Colombia and Vietnam.
3. Legend has it that the stimulating effect of our favorite morning beverage was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd in the 9th century. He noticed how perky his goats became after nibbling on coffee berries. He tried it himself, and the rest is history.
4. Coffee is the United States’ second biggest import and the world’s second most traded commodity, after oil.
5. There are two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Seventy percent of beans are Arabica. Robusta, as the name suggests, has twice as much caffeine.
6. Do you take it with cream? The fat content makes your beverage stay warmer than plain black coffee, but it weakens the effect of the caffeine.
7. Relax. You would have to drink 100 cups to die of caffeine poisoning.
8. Studies show coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Other research suggests caffeine can protect against skin cancer in women and improve the health of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
9. There are about 2,500 coffee retail stores and 10,000 cafes in the US. Still, 60 percent of total coffee sales come from supermarkets and retail chain stores.
10. A coffee-fueled car was test-driven in the UK in 2011, giving rise to the idea that our favorite beverage could one day become a fossil fuel alternative.
Whether you enjoy it by the pod or by the pot, in the store or in your kitchen, there are plenty of reasons to head out and let someone else lift your morning fog on Tuesday.