The world is full of coffee lovers, but it isn't full of perfect coffee.
So often when we brew our morning or afternoon cup, we unwittingly deprive ourselves of the complete coffee experience.
This list of the 11 best books about coffee, however, puts the ultimate cup within our reach.
The best books about coffee: The voices of the experts
1. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes
James Freeman's book takes you into the world of growing, harvesting, and roasting. After bringing the roasting process down to the level of the kitchen, he goes on to detail the steps and techniques for a vast range of coffee-brewing methods.
Then, to complete your coffee-drinking experience, Caitlin Freeman offers a number of complementary recipes which enhance your perfectly brewed cup.
When you have completed your session with these masters, you will know not only what materials to use, but also how to brew coffee, why those techniques work, and how to drink it.
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2. God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
Journalist Michaele Weissman's book is brilliantly fresh among the works of the coffee world's experts.
Rather than giving an exposition on the bean and its results, she takes her place as the author of the coffee lover's adventure story.
Seeking the ultimate coffee, she tracks down the best of the best among American coffee roasters as well as the fields and farms where coffee begins.
Then, besides standing by at international coffee competitions, she delves into the practices of the coffee business and uncovers the advantages of fair working conditions, advantages which extend not only to the workers and the businessmen, but also to the coffee itself.
Weissman even penetrates into the world on the other side of the counter, encountering baristas, consumers, and roasters, and doing all with this single mission: to break down and divulge exactly what it is that goes behind and into a coffee lover's perfect cup.
3. Brew: Better Coffee at Home
Designed for the private consumer, this book teaches exactly what its title proclaims: brewing a better cup of coffee in your own home.
Starting with the beans and the tools, Brian W. Jones assists the reader with recognizing the optimal choices in both these categories, at the same time showing clearly how to use them.
Breaking down specialty coffee into its basic components, he also focuses on slow-brew techniques, such as the French press and the pour-over method.
He does not stop there, however, but goes on to show how to put the coffee you have learned to brew into recipes for cocktails and other drinks.
He opens up the best of the coffee world to you in your own kitchen.
4. Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production
From growing to roasting, this book approaches coffee from a scientific perspective for the benefit of the professional.
Covering methods and techniques appropriate for the different stages in the life of the coffee plant and its beans, the book’s 40 authors discuss everything a member from the production side of the coffee industry needs to know, including criteria for discerning quality.
They lead the professional through the biology of the coffee plant and even consider coffee's economic ramifications.
Equipped with illustrations, diagrams, and an appendix, Coffee is more than adequate for anyone interested in the bean from the perspective of production or research.
5. The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing--Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed
Read this book if you want to know anything--or everything--about coffee.
James Hoffman couldn’t get more basic, beginning by introducing his readers to coffee on the biological level.
After differentiating between all the varieties, he moves on to the evolution of coffee as it passes from the seed through all its stages, ending with processing.
The book then leads its readers all over the world, showing them the place of coffee in each country and region, and finishing at last with the consumer’s coffee experience.
If you want to know something about coffee, from origin to storage to brewing, you can probably find it in this book.
6. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
For a history of the world according to the coffee bean, Pendergast's work is the ultimate resource.
Beginning with discovery and ending with Starbucks, he discusses the effects the events of the world have had on the coffee industry, as well as the effects the coffee industry has had on the events of the world.
He explores the progression of the coffee culture itself, especially the coffee-related events of the current century.
Historically, economically, and socially, Pendergast immerses the reader in coffee, enlivening the journey with anecdotes and lively characters.
A vibrant, illuminating book, it belongs on the bookshelves of all current and would-be coffee connoisseurs.
7. Espresso Coffee: The Science of Quality (2nd Edition)
This book unites in a single place the expertise of a number of authors, who discuss espresso quality from a scientific perspective.
Always taking into account the chemistry and technology involved, it carries the reader through the various steps of the life of the coffee bean.
The authors begin with a detailed scientific deconstruction of quality and then move on to the plant, the bean, roasting, grinding, and even health as affected by coffee.
Written for novices and aficionados alike, this book, coloring in the background for all the coffee manuals, gives you the how and the why behind your favorite cup.
8. Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry
With 63 different essays discussing topics ranging from coffee history to gender issues to the coffee market itself, Coffee gives the reader access to the expert opinions of various personalities involved in the coffee industry.
An extremely readable, non-academic text, it looks at coffee from every angle, exploring ideas from both the production and consuming parts of the world.
The book even takes into account the future of coffee and the possible working of time and technology on the bean and the industry.
Whether you be student, scientist, novice, or connoisseur, this book will reveal the simple drink to you in the light of an intriguing and meaningful study.
9. The Coffee Roaster's Companion
Although he intends this book for professional roasters, coffee consultant Scott Rao writes in language accessible to the hobbyist.
Beginning with the elementary question of why we roast coffee beans in the first place, he proceeds through an explanation of the chemistry of the bean, the handling of the bean before roasting, and the roasting itself.
With careful thoroughness, he examines all the minute details of the roasting process, especially taking into account the scientific aspects of the question.
A manual more than a mere discussion, this book is an excellent introduction to the process of moving the bean from the plant to the cup.
10. The Professional Barista's Handbook: An Expert Guide to Preparing Espresso, Coffee, and Tea
For a comprehensive manual for the making of excellent coffee, the coffee lover could find no better guide than this book.
Intended for professional use in a cafe, it nevertheless offers plenty of practical information and direction to the layman.
The author Scott Rao carefully breaks down coffee into all its components, including methods, ingredients, and varieties.
With step-by-step photographs, he also illustrates the finer aspects of coffee production, such as creating the artistic images we see on the surfaces of our specialty drinks.
Whether beginner or barista, if meticulously achieved perfection is your goal, Scott Rao has all the advice you’ll need.
11. Everything but Espresso: Professional Coffee Brewing Techniques
Breaking the coffee-making process down minutely, Scott Rao's book is a coffee lover's delight.
Beginning with extraction, Rao discusses all the finest points of producing the perfect cup. From temperature, to grinding, to filters and flow, not a single detail escapes the benefit of his expertise.
Even the water used in making the coffee has its own place in the book.
Moving from the general to the specific, Rao takes into consideration the various methods of brewing and fine-tunes them to achieve a result as close to perfection as possible.
With its astounding detail and brilliant insight, Everything but Espresso will turn even the rawest novice into a connoisseur.
Reading Your Way to Better Coffee
Whether you are new to the coffee world or are an expert looking to sharpen your knowledge and technique, you can do nothing better than turn for help to the best books about coffee.
After reading from this list, your coffee will never be a mere drink; it will have become an experience.
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Daily Cupo, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.