Coffee and Books, Two of the Best Things There Are
I have read my fair share of coffee books throughout the years, and I've thoroughly enjoyed plenty of them. I'll list them here and explain a little about why I enjoyed them so much.
God in a Cup
God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee is the full name of the book, even as the name suggests a perfect coffee is part of the story - something seemingly unattainable - author Michaele Weissman details her experiences from Portland to Panama in search of it in an entertaining book. I was given this book on loan by a friend, which at the time piqued my curiosity given it's title. I started reading this book at school, during a short assigned reading time in class and I quickly got sucked into it. The following week I wound up sitting with a cup of coffee finishing the book, in the afternoon lit by the setting sun. It was with reading God in a Cup that I started to pair the two, coffee and books. I found the narrative so thrilling and I kept anticipating every next page, and every next book from that point on.
God in a Cup is Weissman's journalist's account of her travels from Portland lobbies documenting the first Clover machines to Panama's Cup of Excellence, where a new coffee varietal arrived to change things around, Geisha. In between there are highly interesting stories of Weissman visiting coffee farms in Central America and Africa, and her detailed accounts give the unseen places our coffee comes from an appreciation every reader will feel. I highly suggest reading this book, even a decade after its release I'll still read it again.
The Monk of Mokha
Here is another amazing book. The Monk of Mokha is the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American who has the dream of returning Yemen's coffee to a prominent place in history. In front of him is Yemen's civil war, which gives the story sharp turns that will keep you wanting to know what happens next. The story line is amazing, beginning with a young Mokhtar employed as a doorman in San Francisco and following him to the terraced farms deep in Yemen ducking from the dangers of war. Dave Eggers gives us a highly suspenseful story with a touching ending, making for an amazing read. The hardcover edition of the book is stunning and will look good anywhere it is placed. Once again, this book is highly recommended.
The New Rules of Coffee
The New Rules of Coffee: A Modern Guide for Everyone is a short and sweet collection of rules from the founders of Sprudge. Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen give us 160 pages of coffee rules for everyone, whether you're a barista of not. All of the rules written about are directed at a large audience, and they're all rules we can all follow. The simplicity of the book mixed with its fun illustrations makes for a great pickup. The authors give us 4 sets of rules; Rules for Coffee Around the World, Rules for Coffee at Home, Rules for the Cafe, and Rules for a New Coffee Future. All rules in these sets are informational and relevant, a few will make you think "huh, I never thought about that" and a few will inspire some changes in your coffee making. Just like it's stated in the back cover "there has never been a better time to enjoy coffee", I agree. Also, there has never been a better time to enjoy this book.
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, a book which has become a staple in any coffee book collection, is the story of Blue Bottle's beginnings from founder James Freeman. An interesting and enlightening read, comparing Blue Bottle's beginnings to what it is now gives the book an age that keeps giving the more time goes on. The book is not all story though. There are short history lessons, brew guides, and recipes, giving this book a wide range of uses making it an all-in-one. Another highly recommended buy.