As the days become increasingly shorter and the urge to head for the increasingly earlier after-work-drink becomes harder to resist, what good reads are there to bring us back home and accompany that cozy late night cup of home brew?
We dip into our Roastery bookshelf to dig out our favourite coffee reads this season.
For the Enthusiast there has been a recent flurry of in-depth, professionally written coffee books that offer vast, yet succinct, information on all things coffee, most notably James Hoffmann’s The World Atlas of Coffee, Anette Moldvaer’s Coffee Obsession and Coffee with Tim Wendleboe. These offer a great introduction to origin, farming and processing, brewing, roasting and experimentation, all of which are eloquently designed and written, and are perfect for the coffee enthusiast looking to further their knowledge.
For the Geek we have been spilling our beans over Scott Rao’s compendium of authoritative books these past few months; his ability to concisely present his wealth of knowledge in the science of coffee makes his titles Everything But Espresso, The Professional Baristas Handbook, Espresso Extraction and The Coffee Roaster’s Companion not only immensely engaging, but an essential for any budding barista or roaster.
For the Philosopher Scott F. Parker and Michael W. Austin’s Coffee - Philosophy For Everyone: Grounds for Debate is a wonderful platform in which leading essayists in the coffee world critically discuss the ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics and culture of caffeine. This collection is definitely one for the more theoretical reader, but with contributors including Donald Schoenholt and Stumptown’s Matt Lounsbury it offers a more creative perspective into the coffee world.
For the Philologist the definitive work on the narrative of coffee history and how it has impacted the world is Mark Pendergrast’s Uncommon Grounds, which explores the dramatic changes in coffee culture over the past decade and its global implications.
For the Creative the historical novels The Bitter Trade and The Coffee Trader by Piers Alexander and David Liss employ the emerging coffee trade as their stage, as their protagonists engage in the emerging coffee market in London and Amsterdam, respectively. Well written, charming and exciting, these fictions are a sensory exploration of 17th century coffee culture.
For the Screen check out Mark and Nick Francis’ 2006 feature length documentary Black Gold. This multi-award winning film explores working and living conditions for farmers in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia; beautiful, poignant and politically grounded, it leaves a lasting impression on even the most caffeine conscious of consumers.
Watch Out For Brandon Loper’s A Film About Coffee, screening in London in November, and Mat North’s Coffee: A Modern Field Guide that launches at Cup North Festival in Manchester. If these two live up to the hype, then we’ve got many a night-in scheduled for next month!