Even among the host of very excellent coffee roasters that populate San Francisco's hilly streets, Blue Bottle Coffee is legendary. You can't walk through the Ferry Building without being drawn lemming-like to the aroma of their espresso, and spotting one of their carts at the farmers' market or random street corner feels akin to winning the lottery. Yes, their coffee is very good. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee takes us from coffee farm to coffee cup, explaining how each small step in that process leads to the perfect pour.
• Who wrote it: James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan
• Who published it: Ten Speed Press
• Number of recipes: Several lengthy descriptions of various coffee-brewing techniques, plus 30 recipes for food
• Recipes for right now: Brown Sugar and Winter Spice Granola, Blue Bottle Benedict, Saffron-Vanilla Snickerdoodles, Ginger-Molasses Cookies, Affogato with Smoky Almond Ice Cream, Daniel Patterson's Coffee-Roasted Carrots with Chicory Granola, Nopa's Blue Bottle Martini
• Other highlights: This is more than just the story of how Blue Bottle Coffee came to be — it's more like the story of coffee itself. Within these pages is enough information on how coffee is grown, picked, roasted, ground, brewed, and tasted to keep any coffee geek happy for quite some time.
I particularly liked the detailed description and history of all the various ways to brew your morning cup of coffee, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each. French press? Rich mouthfeel, but prone to over-extraction. Siphon coffee? Invented in the 1840s by a French housewife and notoriously tricky to master, but a total showstopper.
And because we can not live on coffee alone, the final third of the book is filled with recipes that are either made with or go particularly well with coffee. If you've never quite forgotten the biscotti you tasted on your summer trip to San Francisco, the recipe is likely here for you to recreate the experience, along with plenty of other tasty treats to discover.
• Who would enjoy this book? Coffee lovers of all stripes, fans of Blue Bottle Coffee
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan
• Visit Their website: Blue Bottle Coffee
(Images: Emma Christensen)