It’s the holiday season, friends, and that means one thing around these parts—gift guides aplenty, each more indispensable, authoritative, and essential than the last. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be moved to e-commerce. This is the Sprudge 2014 Holiday Coffee Book Guide.
Coffee Life In Japan—$36 A Masterful Examination Of One The World’s Hottest Coffee Markets
Merry “Corky” White is an anthropology professor at Boston University, and a wonderful trove of knowledge on all things Japan and coffee. Her book is a rigorous, in-depth historical examination of the complex intertwining of coffee, modernity and westernization in Japan over the last 150 years–while still managing to be interesting and engaging for the non-academic reader. The book features fascinating interviews with current figures in the Japanese coffee scene, a great list of cafes to visit, and looks into some of the most unique coffee establishments on the planet. As our own coverage of Japan expands with the hiring of Hengtee Lim, Sprudge’s Tokyo staff writer, Coffee Life In Japan remains an essential primer on Japanese coffee culture and its history and practices.
Cafes and Bars: The Architecture Of Public Display—$49 An essential sourcebook for the budding cafe designer
This fascinating book gathers together some of the most interesting and complete academic writing to ever be done on the role of cafes in society and the implications that has for design. In addition to essays, it includes over twenty case studies of seminal cafe designs throughout history, each featuring written analysis, rare and beautiful photos, and floor plans. Indispensable for those looking to understand the historical context of cafe design, and great for design nerds of all stripes.
The Coffee Roaster’s Companion—$45 For the aspiring micro-roaster
We recently covered the launch of Scott Rao’s newest book, and suffice to say, excitement has been palpable for this new tome of roasting knowledge. Rao is well known for his accessible and informative series of books on different aspects of quality coffee production, and this book on roasting does much to help demystify the process for new roasters.
A century of espresso coffee in the world—A unique historical resource, especially if you can read Italian
If you don’t read Italian, you might not get as much out of the content of this massive compilation of espresso history, but the gorgeous glossy photos, many of them never before published, are worth it alone. From shots of espresso machines being delivered by gondola in Venice, to drawings of a custom 24 group head espresso machine install, this book is full of wonders you won’t find elsewhere.
Coffee And Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in The Medieval Near East—$21 The complete story of coffee’s origins
This book gives the most complete, historically supported account of coffee’s early history that exists. A serious book of history by Ralph Hattox, a professor at the University of Washington, it digs deep into primary sources to establish what we know of the early spread of coffee from Ethiopia to Yemen, and from there throughout the Ottoman empire. Hattox traces the story of coffee and the coffeehouse through the evolving Ottoman empire, chronicling decrees by sultans outlawing the beverage altogether, early European’s first exposures to coffee, and much more.
Modern Art Desserts—$25 For fans of mid-century modern and fondant.
While not strictly a coffee book, Caitlin Freeman’s Modern Art Desserts is an endlessly fun read, and makes a great coffee table display piece. Freeman is the pastry chef for Blue Bottle worldwide, and this book collects her favorite recipes developed as part of the company’s cafe and bakery space at SFMOMA.
R Is For Ristretto—$6 For the budding baby barista in your life.
Another Blue Bottle production, this time from staff artist Michelle Ott, and designed with the toddler in mind. You, too, can look on in wonder as your little miracle colors in the the espresso machine an obtuse shade of ochre.
Finca Tamana by Tim Wendelboe—£40 From El Pital, Colombia to your coffee table.
We featured Tim Wendelboe’s new book right around this time last year, and it remains an essential read for those looking to learn more about progressive coffee farming in Colombia. Finca Tamana is a lynchpin in Tim Wendelboe Kaffe’s annual menu, and the coffee is sold by Nordic Approach, which means it’s in the hands of some of Europe’s best roasters. You can pick up some Tamana yourself from Workshop Coffee, whose roast makes for “red apple acidity” and “a clean, milk chocolate finish.”
Birds of Unusual Vitality Volume 2—$20 The first book from Sprudge Publishing, full of interviews & photos.
Eileen P. Kenny’s Birds of Unusual Vitality is our favorite coffee interview & photo publication, and our daily readers have enjoyed Ms. Kenny’s writing for the last few years on Sprudge, covering coffee scenes from Melbourne to London. This book collects some of EPK’s favorite interviews with additional photos presented in full color print. We’re enormously proud to call this #001 from Sprudge Publishing, a newly formed imprint from the publishers of Sprudge.
The World Atlas of Coffee–£20 An overview of coffee with wit and verve.
Available from Square Mile Coffee is this exciting new guide to all things coffee, written by 2007 World Barista Champion and Square Mile co-founder James Hoffmann. The book takes you from an explanation of the coffee tree itself to an in-depth look at the countries that produce it, with a stop along the way to learn best practices for brewing at home. Also available internationally.
Coffee Obsession–£14.50 An encyclopedia of coffee that’s beautiful, too!
There’s a little bit of everything in this book by Anette Moldvaer, herself a Square Mile co-founder. In it, the reader journeys to 35 different origin countries, and receives playful and illustrative instructions on everything from grinding to roasting. The book’s focus on practical and accessible information make it a delight for coffee lovers of all backgrounds and pedigrees. Also available internationally.