Renowned information technology wonk and Google research scientist Alon Halevy spent over two years traveling the world, not in “search of the perfect coffee” or even “the perfect cafe,” but simply to explore and appreciate the differences in cultural approaches to coffee.
The fruits of his labor are now available in charming book called “The Infinite Emotions of Coffee”. The book is, in a word, gorgeous – full of poetry, lovely photography, and glimpses into coffee cultures across the world, Mr. Halevy’s book is an early front-runner for 2012’s Coffee Book of the Year. Here’s some more info from the book’s website:
The Infinite Emotions of Coffee provides a contemporary prism of the drink that so much of the world takes for granted every morning. Technopreneur Halevy’s 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. With more than three years of field research, over 180 color photographs, and richly illustrated infographics, this book is an immersive experience that brings alive the enduring allure of coffee and the nuanced emotions of both tradition-bound and avant-garde café cultures.
Aside from being a “Technopreneur” and an internationally revered information scion, Alon is something of a coffee man about town in the Bay Area, regularly attending events and frequenting fine cafes. He is also, for what it’s worth, a really sweet guy. We had a chance to ask Alon some questions about his experiences when writing the book, and he graciously provided the following responses:
Sprudge Editors: So Alon, tell us about the most outrageous experience you had when you were out there in the world researching for this terrific book of yours.
Alon: This is a hard choice, but I think it was the evening I spent with the Ferrer family in Iceland. We were at their Summer house which is miles away from any other house on the outskirts of the tiny city of Selfoss, Iceland. There I was, as close as one can get to the edge of the world, sitting with Ingibjorg, Tumi, their father Carlos (who was the reigning Coffee in Good Spirits champion of Iceland) and all of their significant others/spouses, listening to a hot debate about the right balance of coffee and whiskey in the perfect Irish coffee. (Carlos made some killer Irish coffees too!)
Sprudge Editors: We’re big Tumi fans – what’s not to like? So in all of your travels what simply stood out and caps lock AMAZED you?
Alon: The amazing rate of innovation in the coffee world today. Coming from the tech world where the world changes profoundly every 3-5 years, I was expecting a pretty stable and well understood craft. I was so totally wrong.
Of course, I was also surprised by the sheer number of tweets that coffee folks are able to produce!
Sprudge Editors: Hash tag tell us about it. Thanks for the chat, Alon!
Get a digital copy for your Kindle or fetcherself a real one online over here. If you’re in San Francisco you can pick up a hardback copy at Four Barrel in the Mission.