I love reading about coffee, almost as much as I enjoy drinking the delicious beverage…almost as much. Anyways, over the last few years I’ve read just about every book on coffee that I could get my hands on…some better than others. After a request via Twitter from Matt Williams, I’m putting together a list of some of my favorites.
(First paragraph – my thoughts on the book, second paragraph a more official description)
Brewing Justice takes a look at fair trade – the good and the bad – and the how our favorite beverage affects those who grow it for us. A little dry, text book like a times, but a must read if you want to know more about Fair Trade.
Fair trade is a fast-growing alternative market intended to bring better prices and greater social justice to small farmers around the world. But is it working? This vivid study of coffee farmers in Mexico offers the first thorough investigation of the social, economic, and environmental benefits of fair trade. Based on extensive research in Zapotec indigenous communities in the state of Oaxaca, Brewing Justice follows the members of the cooperative Michiza, whose organic coffee is sold on the international fair trade market. It compares these families to conventional farming families in the same region, who depend on local middlemen and are vulnerable to the fluctuations of the world coffee market. Written in a clear and accessible style, the book carries readers into the lives of these coffee producer households and their communities, offering a nuanced analysis of both the effects of fair trade on everyday life and the limits of its impact. Brewing Justice paints a clear picture of the complex dynamics of the fair trade market and its relationship to the global economy. Drawing on interviews with dozens of fair trade leaders, the book also explores the changing politics of this international movement, including the challenges posed by the entry of transnational corporations into the fair trade system. It concludes by offering recommendations for strengthening and protecting the integrity of fair trade.
I read this book a few years ago, but it still stands out. A great read, loaded with information to help bring your coffee experience to the next level.
Now in its latest revised edition, Kenneth Davids’s comprehensive and entertaining Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, remains an invaluable resource for anyone who truly enjoys a good cup of coffee. It features updated information and definitions, a history of coffee culture, tips on storing and brewing, and other essential advice designed to improve the coffee experience. Coffee lovers everywhere will welcome this lively, complete guide to the fascinating world of America’s national beverage.
In this entertaining yet comprehensive book, food expert Morton Satin describes how, in recent times, coffee has become the magnet that draws people together for spirited interchanges of information and ideas. In the intellectual capitals of the world, coffeehouses have been and continue to be the venues where the great minds flock to discuss the latest developments in the arts, sciences, and social philosophies.
Satin, moreover, traces the rich and intriguing history of coffee, showing how coffee consumption evolved to fit the social and economic needs of different times. His fascinating narrative dispels common myths and conveys such little-known facts as: the dark coffee bean originated in Africa, not South America, as many believe.
Dave Wodnicki is just a regular guy who likes the simple things in life, like a sunny morning and a nice full-bodied cup of coffee. Having spent all of his working life in the high-tech world slurping down countless cups of bad coffee, Dave started looking for something better than just a caffeine fix. A ‘flavor’ fix was what was needed, and the quest to find it was begun. While on his quest, new pathways were revealed, which led him to the present culture of coffee aficionados. The coffee trail opened up to reveal new views into the world of art and culture. Yet another path led to his awareness and appreciation of agriculture, nutrition, gourmet chefs, and the modern foodie society whose experience and enthusiasm prompted him to pay much closer attention to matters of food and the drink called coffee. This is the story of his adventure through the maze of mediocre mud to the finish line of fantastic flavor. This is the search for the perfect cup of joe…a Coffee Quest.
I’m not going to lie, at first I thought this book was some sort of book about religion. Turns out this book looks into the world of specialty coffee from Stumptown’s office to the small farms where some of the best coffee in the world grows. Must read for anyone that wants to know more about specialty coffee.
Can a cup of coffee reveal the face of God? Can it become the holy grail of modern-day knights errant who brave hardship and peril in a relentless quest for perfection? Can it change the world? These questions are not rhetorical. When highly prized coffee beans sell at auction for $50, $100, or $150 a pound wholesale (and potentially twice that at retail), anything can happen.
In God in a Cup, journalist and late-blooming adventurer Michaele Weissman treks into an exotic and paradoxical realm of specialty coffee where the successful traveler must be part passionate coffee connoisseur, part ambitious entrepreneur, part activist, and part Indiana Jones. Her guides on the journey are the nation’s most heralded coffee business hotshots—Counter Culture’s Peter Giuliano, Intelligentsia’s Geoff Watts, and Stump-town’s Duane Sorenson.
With their obsessive standards and fiercely competitive baristas, these roasters are creating a new culture of coffee connoisseurship in America—a culture in which $10 lattes are both a purist’s pleasure and a way to improve the lives of third-world farmers. If you love a good cup of coffee—or a great adventure story—you’ll love this unprecedented look up close at the people and passions behind today’s best beans.
Not a big fan of Starbucks books, but I really liked this one.
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water.
One of my favorites. If you want to learn more about where your coffee comes from, check out this book today. It’s informative and I enjoyed following along with Dean as he traveled to coffee growing countries around the world.
In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women’s rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world. In Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, a unique hybrid of Fair Trade business, adventure travel, and cultural anthropology, author Dean Cycon brings readers face-to-face with the real people who make our morning coffee ritual possible.
While there is a plethora of books on the history and economy of coffee, there are surprisingly few about enjoying coffee. With 200 color photos and friendly text, this highly readable and accessible coffee guide is divided into two sections, covering the beans and the brew. In addition to providing a general knowledge of coffee, Sinnott (curator, www.coffeecompanion.com) strives to give readers tools to prepare world-class coffee at home. Along with selecting, roasting, grinding, and brewing coffee, he discusses serving coffee-correct temperatures, using sugar and milk, and the equipment needed. Troubleshooting tips, charts, step-by-step instructions, and a variety of recipes add to the book’s usefulness and value.
With a Starbucks on nearly every corner and a Mr. Coffee in nearly every home, it is an understatement to say that coffee is a well-rooted part of American cuisine. And while 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year worldwide, it might seem that coffee consumption would be at a plateau, but its desirability is at an all-time high. In The Coffee Companion, coffee lovers will find a thoroughly spectacular guide to help them continue their coffee consumption, with only the best coffees of the world. This richly illustrated guide describes and rates more than 150 coffees from around the world, including tips on roasting, grinding, and blending beans to create the perfect brew. For the true connoisseur, there’s also an in-depth coverage of estate coffees plus expert guidance on tasting coffee properly. Top it off with a delectable collection of recipes for classic coffee drinks. Not just an indispensable book for coffee lovers everywhere, The Coffee Companion is a visual hymn to all (the best) things coffee.
The story is alright, but my favorite part is descriptions of the coffee shops. I felt like I knew half of the coffee shops in New Orleans before I even stepped foot in the door.
The agnostic, ten-years-sober son of a Baptist minister, B. Sammy Singleton has an opinion about everything. He also has a guidebook on New Orleans coffee shops to write. But when his best friend Catfish-reluctant heir to the Beaucoeur sugarcane fortune-is arrested for “grave robbing” and then goes missing, events spin out of control. The outcome is a personal journey into a past Sammy thought he had laid to rest, an excavation of buried truths about himself and about what the tragedy-bound Catfish calls the American Holocaust. Set in the French Quarter and Faubourgs Marigny and Tremé, The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans – Part 1 smoothly blends satire, mystery, and historical fiction. The book “reviews” and is often narrated from local coffee shops including CC’s, PJ’s, Rue de la Course, Café du Monde, Café Rose Nicaud, and Envie, while exploring such themes as the “sacrament” of coffee drinking, living sober, New Orleans’ civil rights history, and the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in America. According to Swampland.com: Cultures of the South: “Lummis’ tender and affectionate descriptions of New Orleans, his ‘Paris of the South,’ evoke Pat Conroy’s lush and loving portrayal of coastal South Carolina. Just as Conroy’s South of Broad is a paean to Charleston, so is Lummis’ Chronicles a love song to New Orleans. Alternately funny, painful, entertaining, and always unflinchingly honest, The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans is a must read.”
I’m currently reading this novel and can’t put it down. It’s probably one of my favorite works of fiction set around coffee.
Amsterdam, 1659: On the world’s first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city’s close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city’s most envied merchants, Miguel has suddenly lost everything. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living in his younger brother’s canal-flooded basement, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation.
Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutchwoman who offers him one last chance at success—a daring plot to corner the market of an astonishing new commodity called “coffee.” To succeed, Miguel must risk everything he values and face a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to see him ruined. Miguel will learn that among Amsterdam’s ruthless businessmen, betrayal lurks everywhere, and even friends hide secret agendas.
So you want to make a better cup of coffee every morning? I have a book you might want to check out!
For coffee lovers everywhere, The Perfect Cup is the one book you’ll need to appreciate coffee and it s growing status as a gourmet beverage. Coffee expert Timothy Castle chronicles the coffee revolution in America and offers state-of-the-art information on everything from the bean itself to brewing and appreciating the perfect cup. Do different brewing methods produce different-tasting coffees? What is the most common mistake people make at home with coffee? Is there reason to be concerned about “chemical” decaffeinating processes? These and many other questions are answered in this book. In a section entitled “How to Buy Coffee and Whom to Buy It From,” Castle includes interviews with more than thirty of America’s foremost coffee retailers and roasters. He also provides an overview of the regions of the world where coffee is commonly grown, and offers more than two dozen unusual recipes featuring coffee in sauces, marinades, main courses, and desserts, such as Grilled Coffee–Marinated Lamb Chops, Cappuccino Muffins, and Chocolate Espresso Souffle.
Since its discovery in an Ethiopian rainforest centuries ago, coffee has brewed up a rich and troubled history, according to Uncommon Grounds, a sweeping book by business writer Mark Pendergrast. Over the years, the beverage has fomented revolution, spurred deforestation, enriched a few while impoverishing the many, and addicted millions with its psychoactive caffeine. Coffee is now the world’s second most valuable legal commodity, behind oil, according to Pendergrast, who is also author of For God, Country, and Coca-Cola.
What books would you add to the list? I’m always looking for new books to read, especially any fiction ones out there.