Coffee is so much more than just the drink that keeps us awake. It’s history, culture, taste, and the sweat off the brows of coffee farmers all over the world.
Here, I’ve rounded up ten of the best (so far!) books on coffee that are sure to fill your cup to the brim.
Here are 10 best coffee books to add to your reading list:
- The World Atlas of Coffee
- Uncommon Grounds
- The Craft and Science of Coffee
- Craft Coffee: A Manual
- God in a Cup
- Coffee Atlas of Ethiopia
- Brewing Justice
- The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee
- Coffee Roaster’s Handbook
- How To Make Coffee
Excited to get your hands on these? Let’s help you make your pick by taking a closer look at these titles.
Note: All books are available from Amazon.com.
Any coffee-loving reader will surely enjoy this book by James Hoffmann. It’s a beautiful telling of the rich history and story of coffee from 35 different countries.
So if you’ve been so used to seeing coffee from the perspective of your own culture, this’ll definitely give you a wider sense of appreciation.
Also, if you’re eager to know everything there is to know about coffee, from where it originated and the various ways it’s produced to the different cultures that make coffee such a vibrant part of life today, this book won’t disappoint.
- The World Atlas of Coffee takes readers on a global tour of coffee-growing countries, presenting the bean in full-color photographs and concise, informative text. It covers where coffee is grown, the people who grow it and the cultures in which it is a way of life. It also covers the world of consumption -- processing, grades, the consumer and the modern culture of coffee.
And for a book that covers the topic so extensively, it’s surprisingly budget-friendly.
At the end of the book, you should be able to have a deeper understanding of just how complex coffee production is, so you’ll never take your cup of coffee for granted again.
Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast talks about the history of coffee–from the time it was first discovered, through the struggles in fair trade and labor practices, up to the present.
Ever wondered how come it’s so easy for us today to enjoy a cup of brewed coffee at our favorite coffee shop?
You’d be surprised at what a ride the coffee industry has been in to get to that point.
Perhaps the best thing about this book is how it highlights the fight that cultures around the world have gone through in the pursuit of fair trade and humane labor practices in coffee production.
There’s still so much to learn about these topics when it comes to coffee production, and some healthy dispute is very much alive today. However, understanding how it all started, progressed, and how it is now is a good place to start.
Also, there are so many unheard voices in this industry that this book gives voice to. And that’s a pretty amazing thing, as it allows readers to get to know them in almost a very personal way.
So coffee becomes not just the drink that we enjoy at breakfast, but a product of hard work and passion–which makes me love it even more!
Yes, coffee production and preparation is a science.
Have you ever wondered how different coffee beans sourced from different parts of the world can taste so different, and how factors like temperature, brewing time, and even grinding can change its texture, body, and aroma?
Well, this book will answer all of those questions and more.
Author Dr. Britta Folmer puts together scientific research, experience of expert baristas, and academic studies to paint a very thorough picture of how coffee is produced, processed, and prepared for our enjoyment.
If you’re a serious coffee lover who wants not only to understand the coffee industry, but also how best to enjoy different kinds of coffee, this is a must-read for you.
It can be a bit pricey, but given how much knowledge you end up taking home, it’s almost a bargain.
Love coffee but don’t understand how to make a proper cup? Look no further than Craft Coffee: A Manual by Jessica Easto.
This is the perfect book for coffee lovers who don’t necessarily want to get into the nitty-gritty of the coffee industry or coffee production.
This book offers a comprehensive guide into different types of coffee and coffee preparation techniques, as well as the various devices that you can use.
If you want to own a coffee shop, though, this probably isn’t enough as reading material.
So if that’s what you’re after, you can pick this up as supplemental reading, but look for something more extensive if you want to understand coffee at a deeper level.
5. God in a Cup
Michaele Weissman’s book, God In a Cup is a fun, almost quirky read for every coffee fanatic.
In this book, we’re reminded of that expression, “God is in the detail,” as the author takes us on an obsessive journey towards discovering and understanding specialty coffee.
This book is also an attempt to answer the question, “What’s the best cup of coffee?” However, whether Weissman is able to successfully answer this question is up to the reader to decide.
Nevertheless, the quest plus the in-crowd knowledge of some of the biggest names in the coffee industry make for more than a worthwhile read.
Also, it won’t hurt to know where the coffee that you love so much comes from and how it started to be prepared the way it’s today.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Thanks to its culture and history, we get to enjoy our favorite caffeine drink today.
And this book, featuring the work of several writers, explores the many layers of the coffee industry in Ethiopia, where it all began.
You’ll love this book for the color, diversity, and nuance that it provides to the coffee industry as a whole.
Most of us have become so used to our coffee that we give no further thought to its history and production.
Reading this book offers readers a new lens with which to see coffee–that from the growing of coffee beans to harvest to how it’s transformed into that aromatic, rich-flavored brew, it takes culture, people, love, and passion.
Also, if you want a peek into coffee production in Ethiopia, the book provides insights into the country’s coffee farms, their practices, and how their coffee is brought to the rest of the world.
Talk about taking your love for your brew to the next level!
Brewing Justice by Daniel Jaffee explores the inner workings and impact of fair trade in coffee production.
If you’re just learning about the coffee industry, you’d think that coffee fair trade is simply the pursuit of fair wages and practices for farmers and workers in coffee production.
However, many dispute that this move is doing more harm than good when you look at its agricultural and economic impact.
Daniel Jaffee explores the often-unheard effects of fair trade and what it actually means for grassroots communities, coffee producers, farmers, and even consumers.
- The book carries readers into the lives of coffee-producer households and communities, offering a nuanced analysis of fair trade’s effects on everyday life and the limits of its impact.
- Brewing Justice paints a clear picture of the dynamics of the fair-trade market and its relationship to the global economy.
If you love coffee as much as you love investigating societal, environmental, and economic issues, you’ll easily find yourself engrossed in this book.
Take note, though: If you already have an opinion about the issue being tackled here, you might want to approach the book with an open mind.
This book by Tristan Stephenson is for baristas and casual coffee drinkers alike. If you’re a barista, you’ll find the information about coffee preparation and techniques helpful.
But if you simply love coffee and enjoy learning about it, you’ll also find information on coffee culture and history engaging.
Also, if you have a sweet tooth and love incorporating coffee into desserts and other treats, you’ll find the recipes included in this book interesting.
Fortunately, you don’t need complicated equipment to make them, so they’re easy to follow at home.
If you want to focus on the coffee roasting process, the different ways to do it, the types of equipment to use, and the outcomes for each roasting method, Coffee Roaster’s Handbook by Len Brault would be a good book to pick up.
Whether you’re someone who wants to roast your coffee at home or who wants to do it for commercial purposes, you’ll find this comprehensive guide helpful.
It’s surprisingly rare to find a coffee book that gives a detailed explanation and guide to roasting. So when you see this book on the shelves, be sure to take it with you.
How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston isn’t your typical guide on how to make a cup of coffee.
It’s a light, almost casual take on learning how to make a good cup of coffee while understanding its heritage, history, and the science behind coffee making.
If you want to have a deeper appreciation for coffee while learning about the notes, flavors, and textures that come with different coffee beans and varying brewing methods, you’ll surely enjoy this one.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at all things coffee, these books are a great place to start.
Whether you’re just starting out on your coffee journey or you consider yourself a coffee aficionado, there’s something here for everyone.
I hope you enjoy learning more about coffee with these books. If you’re interested in learning more about coffee right now, you can also have a look below for an in-depth guide to various coffees: