To say that the world of coffee is a complex thing would be an understatement, which means we need some help in understanding it. From the history of coffee to perfect brew methods, there are some excellent resource books out there.
For any coffee lover, here are some essential titles to put on your bookshelf.
Understanding the world of coffee requires a little more knowledge than nailing the difference between a French press and a Bialetti. Consider it this way: Coffee, the beverage that most of us are so used to drinking on an everyday basis, is a product produced in about 70 different countries around the world. Every day, someone is growing, processing, exporting, importing, roasting, making, and drinking coffee.
9 Books to Teach You About Coffee
1. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan
This book happens to be a personal favorite resource, one that I often refer to when I have a coffee question. For anyone that has ever wanted an encyclopedia to the craft coffee world, this just might be it. Not only that, but it also includes a few recipes for popular Blue Bottle treats, all to ensure that you have something excellent to pair with your cup.
2. Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast
Ever thought about how your morning cup of joe affects foreign policy? Uncommon Grounds will tell you. This is the book for history, economics, anthropology, and of course, coffee buffs. Ask anyone in the coffee world and they will cite this book as a favorite and a resource, as it gives a comprehensive understanding to the history and complexities of your favorite drink.
3. God In A Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee by Michaele Weissman
Published in 2008, God in a Cup is a look at the drivers behind the specialty coffee industry, specifically, the personalities. Guided by the specialty coffee leaders at Counter Culture, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown, Weissman sets off on a journey to understand this complex world where people will in fact pay a high price for a cappuccino. While the industry has certainly changed and evolved since then, if you have ever wondered about the inner workings of specialty coffee in the US, this book is for you.
4. Left Coast Roast by Hanna Neuschwander
There's no denying that the West Coast (or the Left Coast, so to say) has had a thing or two to do with the craft coffee movement. Left Coast Roast takes a look at the iconic artisan roasters of this region and, with its beautiful illustrations, is good for anyone with Left Coast leanings as well as those who love a good-looking book.
5. The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing by James Hoffman
Hoffman is the co-founder of London's Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and as such, he knows a thing or two about coffee. As he writes on his popular coffee blog, Jimseven, The World Atlas of Coffee is intended for both people in the industry and on the outside. "I believe that understanding something more can make it more enjoyable, and I wanted to make more of coffee accessible rather than make it more mysterious and exclusive." Just like a good atlas should have, there are maps of growing regions and insight into all the coffee-growing countries and how they got to where they are today, as well as helpful tips like brewing techniques.
6. The Birth of Coffeeby Daniel Lorenzetti and Linda Rice Lorenzetti
The Birth of Coffee is a book about the people that make our coffee, and I'm not talking about baristas. Focusing on the origins of our beans, coffee-toned photos and text weave together to tell the story of the people around the world who grow our beans. The book gives us a firsthand look at the cultures and communities behind coffee farming.
7. Coffee Obsession by Anette Moldvaer
This is the Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Coffee book, from how it grows, to how to taste it, to how to roast it. Full of maps, diagrams, and tips and techniques, Coffee Obsession makes the world of coffee accessible to anyone.
8. Everything But Espresso by Scott Rao
If you feel like you might have coffee geek-tendencies, then this book is for you. Like the title indicates, the focus is on everything but pulling shots, and if professional coffee makers will tell you anything, it's that brewing a good cup of coffee is not just an art, but a science. This book is all about measurements, ratios, and what makes or breaks a good brew. You'll even get into water chemistry, but by the end of it, you'll certainly be able to brew excellent coffee with consistency.
Okay, so this one isn't actually a book in the usual sense. 33 Cups of Coffee is actually a notebook intended for documenting all of your coffee experiences — or, in other words, a tasting journal. Sometimes the best way to learn is by experience, right?