The coffee table book is a fundamental part of any good interior design. From photography books filled with travel ideas, to stories of iconic musicians during the 70s and 80s, it’s the first thing guests see when they walk into your living room, and it defines everything about you.
For us coffee lovers, then, the perfect coffee table book is, well, a book about coffee. In this blog post, we’ll showcase our 5 favourite books on coffee, and why they make for interesting reading.
1. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
The Blue Bottle Company is one of the most important roasters to exist in North America. Headquartered in Oakland, California, the company know an awful lot about the craft of the cup. And kindly enough, they’ve packaged up their knowledge and passed it onto the world.
Their book, ‘The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee’, explains how to choose, brew and enjoy the new wave of coffee at home. They show off more than 40 recipes and explain what goes into a good-tasting cup of coffee.
2. God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
Coffee is as important as food to almost everyone’s daily life, at least author Michaele Weissman believes so. She ventured into an exotic world of specialty coffee to pilgrimage across the world in search of the perfect cup of coffee, and she believes she found it.
God in a Cup has become the holy grail of coffee books, and there’s a lot to learn both about coffee and about life from this coffee table read. Read about stories in Ethiopia and Panama and find out how a cup of coffee ends up on a small side table in Portland or Washington. This is the ultimate adventure story in pursuit of that glorious black stuff.
3. World Atlas of Coffee
This book has been around for a while now, and for good reason. James Hoffmann deciphers the world of third-wave coffee and shares what he knows about different coffee-growing regions, as well as step-by-step brewing tutorials that’ll revolutionise the way you brew your cup.
The World Atlas of Coffee is undoubtedly the new-age coffee bible. It’s an educational smorgasbord of fascinating stories, personal journeys and interesting facts about coffee. Put the kettle on for this one, there’s lots to learn.
4. The Professional Barista’s Handbook: An Expert Guide to Preparing Espresso, Coffee, and Tea
Work in coffee? This one’s for you. The Professional Barista’s Handbook is the ultimate handbook for any working barista. Author Scott Rao has worked in coffee for almost two decades, and he showcases his learnings over the years, from tuning espresso machines to understanding what goes into making the perfect cup.
As put by the author himself, this is:
‘A practical book with relevant information about making great coffee in a café.’
5. Uncommon Grounds
Uncommon Grounds isn’t a ‘how-to’ guide or a ‘step-by-step’ tutorial book, it’s a complete history of coffee. From its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia, all the way to Starbucks, this book by Mark Pendergrast is a must read if you’re after some self-education.
The New York Times call it a book filled with ‘wit and humor’, so expect quirky anecdotes and an interesting look at some of the key characters behind coffee, alongside some more straight and narrow market analysis and social history.
There’s a movie due for release by the same name, too.
More than just coffee books
Coffee books are more important than just the story of coffee. They’re social idioms that help raise awareness behind the ethics of people, behind trade and cultural differences. A coffee table book is one thing, and a book on coffee is another.
What’s more important than the books themselves is the social awareness raised about the industry. It’s about raising an awareness that promotes gender and pay equality, alongside ethical farming, conservation and environmental consideration.
Read at your leisure, but learn at your will.