For millions of people around the world, coffee is more than just a drink – it’s an obsession. Arguably the most consumed beverage in the world next to water, coffee has a rich and storied history that began in ancient times, but its popularity is now at an all-time high, and it shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.
For those of us who just can’t get enough of this brewed beverage, there are several great books about coffee that can enrich your understanding of and appreciation for this widely loved drink. Whether you’re a barista-in-training or just a fan of all things java, below are 5 of the best books on coffee you can add to your personal library.
Coffee connoisseur Tristan Stephenson gives readers a peek into the amazing world of coffee, from growing and roasting the beans to brewing and preparing the consummate cup.
The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee will take you on a journey into the history and evolution of coffee, as well as the science behind each phase of its production.
Stephenson also does a masterful job of highlighting the cultural influence of coffee, including the many elements that comprise the ethos of cafes and coffee houses.
For aspiring baristas, there is a plethora of useful and instructive information in this book, including a detailed explanation of the different varieties of coffee, as well as an entire section devoted to the science and flavour of coffee.
The Espresso chapter helps you get to grips with making the perfect espresso, as well as how to use milk to transform coffee into some of the world’s most popular cafe concoctions such as lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos.
Stephenson also includes a wide variety of brewing methods, as well as some expertly crafted recipes, including Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Butter Coffee and Coffee Liqueur.
2. The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing – Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed by James Hoffmann
Coffee roaster, world champion barista and coffee blogger James Hoffmann offers a wealth of information regarding the entire process of bringing coffee from the farm to the cup, as well as the different factors (e.g. growing location, roasting process, water type for brewing, etc.) that can influence the flavour of the coffee we drink.
Hoffmann also offers readers a country-by-country synopsis of the world’s major coffee producers, from Bolivia to Zambia, as well as the various methods and characteristics that can affect the quality of each particular country’s coffee output.
Hoffmann’s World Atlas is the first book to detail the coffee production of well over 35 different countries, providing information that has previously been unavailable to anyone except coffee industry insiders. In addition to all this, the book is also full of great pictures, so it will please you visually.
This book is especially helpful for people who are interested in becoming professional baristas, as it provides step-by-step training for various essential barista techniques such as grinding, roasting, tamping, brewing, as well as instructional guides for making specific drinks such as cappuccinos, macchiatos, flat whites, and so forth.
Not only will you learn about the different types of equipment you can use to make remarkably flavourful coffee (e.g. French presses, espresso machines, cloth brewers, etc.), but you’ll also gain valuable knowledge regarding the ins and outs of making beautiful latte art.
With over 100 recipes to suit practically every element of the taste spectrum, Coffee Obsession by Anette Moldvaer is a master class in coffee making techniques for the barista-to-be.
4. Setting Up and Managing Your Own Coffee Bar: How to Open a Coffee Bar That Actually Lasts and Makes Money by John Richardson & Hugh Gilmartin
Authors and accomplished coffee shop consultants John Richardson and Hugh Gilmartin know a thing or two about running a successful coffee shop; they have decades of experience in owning and operating several well-known coffee hot spots throughout the UK, and they regularly consult with cafe owners throughout North America and Europe, teaching them how to drive sales and profitability through solid business fundamentals.
Each author brings a unique perspective to the table regarding the importance of treating your coffee shop business as a business, as well as understanding the importance of letting your passion be the foundation of all your efforts.
Setting Up and Managing Your Own Coffee Bar is a tour de force of the authors’ knowledge and experience distilled into a proprietary series of steps known as “The Great Formula”: Passion, Product, People, Marketing, Systems, and Money.
The book goes into detail regarding important business variables such as location, funding and marketing, and it helps aspiring coffee shop owners to transform their passion for serving good coffee into a thriving, profitable business.
The Coffee Boys, as the authors are known, have a knack for providing informative and practical wisdom in a very entertaining manner, which makes this book an easy read.
If you’ve ever wondered what it is about coffee that gives it such ubiquitous appeal, How to Make Coffee will give you the details regarding the chemistry of caffeine, as well as the types of phenols and other substances that can be released from coffee beans by way of the roasting, grinding and brewing process.
You’ll learn about important variables that can influence the flavour of coffee such as water temperature, bean selection, grinding methods, milk/cream proportions, and the connection between roast and taste.
While there is quite a bit of technical knowledge regarding the scientific aspects of coffee making, Kingston’s informative offering is far from a dry read; it’s a lively discussion that can enlighten readers regarding the importance of understanding the science behind coffee in order to make your best cup.