The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry Review
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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 enjoyment?

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 Huffaker

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 of coffees.

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.

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