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21 Great Books About Coffee: Ultimate Holiday Gift...

21 Great Books About Coffee: Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

We love books almost as much as we love coffee – so it’s no surprise that we absolutely adore coffee books! Having trouble finding that perfect present for your coffee obsessed friend or lover? Well we’ve got all the information you need – with links to local booksellers via AbeBooks when applicable. Happy holidays!

Left Coast Roast
Hanna Neuschwander

We called this book “a playground of information and art” when it was published last August, and think it would make a wonderful, accessible gift for just about anyone on your list. Hanna Neuschwander is an occasional contributor to Sprudge.com, and aside from being informative, the book itself is gorgeous and full of great illustrations. Highly recommended!

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
James Freeman

“Once you’ve tried Blue Bottle coffee there is no going back—and thanks to this book, you can now understand exactly why. This be-all book on today’s coffee culture is a how-to and why manual that will thrill coffee geeks, amateurs, and professionals alike. And for those whose experience is that food is an afterthought at a coffee bar, you can now have Blue Bottle’s sumptuous recipes that are like the crema in the cup.” Danny Meyer, restaurateur and author of Setting the Table. 

Coffee Story: Ethiopia
Majka Burhardt

A sumptuous coffee table book with stunning photography, from the folks at 90 Plus Coffee. “”Coffee is so vital to us all that it makes this book, the first modern study of coffee uniquely important–and I recommend the pages herein to anyone in quest of knowledge, enlightenment, and entertainment.” – Professor Richard Pankhurst, author, Economic History of Ethiopia (1968) and A Social History of Ethiopia (1990).

Life Is Espresso
Bear Pond Espresso

Author Katsu Tanaka is an international figure in specialty coffee, and his flagship series of cafes, Bear Pond, have been featured by everyone from the New York Times to FRSHGRND. This is a lovely book to gift the global coffee enthusiast.

The Infinite Emotions of Coffee
Alon Halevy

We’ve profiled Alon Halevy several times on Sprudge, and consider his book to be a real must-have for coffee lovers. In it, Dr. Halevy “travels to more than 30 countries on six continents shed light on how coffee has shaped and is influenced by different cultures through the bean’s centuries-spanning journey of serendipity, intrigue, upheavals, revival, romance and passion.”

A Cup of Aloha: The Kona Coffee Epic
Gerald Kenro

“A Cup of Aloha is a heartfelt portrait of the farmers, millers, landowners, merchants, and laborers who struggled to keep themselves and their industry alive. The author traces coffee’s history in Hawai’i–from its arrival in 1828 to Kona’s position in today’s highly competitive specialty coffee market.”

The East India Company Book of Coffee
Antony Wild

“This guide takes the reader behind the scenes to relate the story and colourful history of coffee – where it comes from, how they are produced, the true origins of famous blends, the many different ways of drinking coffee and the best of the brews. This book should be of interest to both the casual reader and the dedicated gourmet, and inform with unusual anecdotes and illustrations.”

Uncommon Grounds: The History Of Coffee And How It Transformed Our World
Mark Pendergrast

Mr. Pendergrast’s book is a must-read primer for the coffee enthusiast, and an excellent piece of continuing education for the barista or coffee nerd in your life. This is one of our all-time favorites.

The Birth of Coffee
Daniel Lorenzetti & Linda Rice Lorenzetti

“The Birth of Coffee tells its story through evocative prose and stunning duo-toned photographs. Seeing the hard-working, often-poor people responsible for your coffee can set you back a step, but they are presented with pride and dignity. And these same people often end their evenings the same way you do–with a steaming cup of coffee.”

All About Coffee
William H. Ukers

In its second edition, this book “covers the historical, technical, scientific, commercial, social and artistic dimensions of coffee”, and is beautifully illustrated. This book is available for free on various digital platforms, but the true enthusiast is going to want to keep this on their bookshelf.

God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
Michaele Weissman

The most divisive and controversial book ever written about specialty coffee is still a damn good read, though now more of a 2009 time capsule than a current reading of the industry. God In A Cup is a conversation starter.

The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee
Stewart Lee Allen

There are no stones left unturned in this quirky yet down-to-earth account of Stewart Allen’s search for the best cup of coffee in places as diverse as Jiga Jiga, Istanbul, Zaire, Vienna, Paris, and London. The Devil’s Cup is the perfect accompaniment for your morning, afternoon, and nightly coffee.

Coffee – Philosophy For Everyone: Grounds For Debate
Scott F. Parker (Editor)

Offering philosophical insights into the popular morning brew, Coffee — Philosophy for Everyone kick starts the day with an entertaining but critical discussion of the ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and culture of coffee.

Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality In Business
Danny Meyer

While not a coffee book per se, Danny Meyer’s hospitality bible is a go-to for anyone in the service profession. This book is required reading for anyone in the service industry and makes a great gift for the barista, bartender, server, or small business manager in your life.

Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built A Company One Cup At A Time
Howard Schultz

Hustlin’ Howie Schultz, oh how we mock you, but it’s a mockery born out of respect and love. Pour Your Heart Into It is Schultz’s first book, originally published in 1999 at the zenith of Starbucks’ mega-expansion. The book is understandably a bit dated – Schultz would later leave the company, then come back again to rescue it, as chronicled in his second book, Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul. Both are great reads.

Coffee Flavor Chemistry
Ivon Flament

There are coffee nerds, and then there are coffee science nerds. This book is the one for them, a “comprehensive review of coffee flavor chemistry” with a focus on analytical techniques for roasting, brewing, and harvesting coffee. A little spendy at $350, but sure to delight.

Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production
Jean Nicola Wintgens

More like an excellent coffee college textbook, Wintgens’ book is an invaluable resource of knowledge and information, presented without any fluff.

Espresso Coffee, The Science of Quality
Andrea Illy

This book “comprehensively covers topics such as agronomy, green coffee processing, roasting/grinding, packaging, percolating and decaffeination techniques.” It sits on the shelves of coffee trainers worldwide and considered one of the best books on the subject of espresso.

God Kaffe
Casper Engel Rasmussen

From Copenhagen’s landmark specialty coffee roaster, Coffee Collective, comes this beautiful Danish-language guide to all things coffee. If there’s someone on your list with a Scandinavian obsession, this is the book for her or him.

Coffee With Tim Wendelboe
Tim Wendelboe

“Tim writes about how coffee is grown, produced, imported and roasted and gives you many reasons why some coffees taste better than others. There are also some pastry recipes by one of norways best pastry chefs, Sverre Sætre in adittion to a couple of tasty and simple coffee drink recipes from Tim Wendelboe’s espresso bar.”

A-Z Coffee
Lars K. Huse & Harald Johnsen Vøyle

Norwegian illustrator Lars K. Huse and designer/megahunk Harald Johnsen Voyle teamed up for this delightful, limited run picture book.

Presented as an A-Z; an art-book, and conversational guide about coffee, specialty coffee and coffee culture, filling a gap in the market overflowing with purely informative, and at times frankly boring books. It has been formed over the past six months, pulling and combining resources as both an illustrator and a coffee professional. The book is aesthetically quite simple, classic contemporary, with subtlety in line and production.

Did we leave out your favorite coffee book? Queen out about it in the comments below!


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  10. Romona N. Harding

    30 September

    Yes! Finally something about other.

  11. Meghan S. Gobler

    24 September

    Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Appreciate it

  12. hector

    15 May

    ¡Great!… I love coffee and information about it.

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    27 June

    =

  20. D. Nettleton

    28 November

    Yes, you missed Clive Coffee’s new book! “The Craft of Coffee” found here: http://www.clivecoffee.com/category/craft-of-espresso.html

  21. Norbert Niederhauser

    28 November

    A new Specialty Coffee Book just came out: Specialty Coffee – Managing Quality. Check it out here: http://seap.ipni.net/articles/SEAP0102-EN

  22. Shin

    27 November

    God in a Cup was quite revealing about the leaders of this industry…it completely inspired to keep providing the best coffee possible.

  23. James Hayes-Bohanan

    27 November

    The ultimate coffee book, required reading for all of my geography of coffee students, is Javatrekker.
    http://www.deansbeans.com/coffee/JAVA.html

  24. Norman

    26 November

    “Coffee: A Celebration of Diversity” by authors Sandalj & Fulvio. Read Sweet Maria’s enthusiastic review: http://www.sweetmarias.com/book-coffee_a_celebration.html

  25. john lamberton

    26 November

    Rao homies

  26. Thomas

    26 November

    Antony Wild’s other book “Coffee: A Dark History” is also good!

  27. Sarah

    26 November

    I would add Merry White’s new-ish book, Coffee Life in Japan: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520271159

    It’s an amazingly comprehensive and historical look at coffee/cafe culture in Japan and the ways coffee maps onto both public and private space. Good stuff.

    • James Hayes-Bohanan

      27 November

      I concur — this book reflects remarkable research into Japan’s cafe culture.

    • Dawn

      2 December

      Yep–was surprised to not see that one on the list-have already gotten it as a present for someone this year.

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