Although Americans are beginning to pay a little more for the price of gourmet
beans, people in general know very little about the history and origins of this
wonderful brew. Did you know of the legend in which the angel Gabriel revealed
to Mohammed the curing and stimulating aspects of the bean? How about the story
about Pope Clement III, who baptized the drink to make it safe for Christian
Below are three books about the industry that I think are worth a glance by
the budding coffee aficionado. At the very least, each book by itself will give
you a good scope of the industry and its social impact on world cultures.
The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry by Gregory Dicum and Nina Luttinger
This book deals mainly with the ec
onomic aspects of world coffee trade and
U.S. domestic marketing and consumption. It is sometimes depressing, sometimes
hilarious. The authors show us how big corporations have sold their swell for
years and survive to the present day in a world stocked with a better product.
Have you ever thought of the hands that picked the beans for your latte? You
will if you read this book.
Coffee Basics: A Quick and Easy Guide by Kevin Knox and Julie Sheldon
On a lighter note, this guide gives the average gourmet consumer insight into
the industry and tips for preparing your favorite cup of coffee at home: choice
of beans, degree of grind, proper brewing, and equipment. The authors decipher
the seemingly cryptic quality designations and list typical regional characteristics
Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
by Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Yang
Whatever bad things you can say about Starbucks Corporation, there are many
good things as well. Activists would beg to differ, and God bless them, thatís
what they should do. The fact remains that compared to other huge companies,
Starbucks treats its customers, employees, and its own internal conscience with
respect. Though many people would argue about the quality of their product,
itís still a bazillion times better than either Folgers (Proctor &
Gamble) or Maxwell House (Philip Morris). Yes, sometimes it sounds like one
humungous advertisement rife with against the odds fanaticism, but the book
still has insights into how a company seeks to give itself a personality in
a world of faceless big business.