The Best Books to Learn About Coffee in 2023
Coffee is without a doubt one of the most loved beverages in the world. It is also one of the most complex. Have you ever wondered what goes into producing coffee? Or how your favorite cup of joe is prepared in other countries? Or perhaps you are looking for the perfect gift to surprise the coffee lover in your life?
Books about coffee are a great gateway to understanding botany, cultivation, history, production, and preparation of coffee. When I started out in 2015 my first coffee related book purchase was James Hoffman’s World Atlas of Coffee, which literally laid down the foundation for my career in coffee. Whether you want to take a deep dive into different coffee cultures, or you want to improve your barista skills, this extensive list of books about coffee has something interesting for everyone.
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The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing – Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed (2018)
by James Hoffman
I’m guessing you’re familiar with the walking coffee encyclopedia that is James Hoffman – world barista champion and Square Mile founder. His knowledge is respected by coffee enthusiasts worldwide, and getting your hands on this print version of his bundled knowledge is highly recommended. The World Atlas of Coffee is an all-encompassing guide to the world of coffee.
It served as my entry point into this fascinating industry. Whether you want to improve your home brewing skills or make coffee your career, this book is a great resource. It takes you through the steps of growing, processing, and roasting coffee, as well as different brewing devices and coffee-growing regions around the world. The brewing techniques described here will undoubtedly improve your coffee game.
Coffee: A Global History (2018)
by Jonathan Morris
Coffee: A Global History by Jonathan Morris is a must-read for history buffs. Jonathan Morris stirs up the grounds of coffee’s long history by chronologically uncovering its origins from Ethiopia to Yemen and analyzing the status quo over 176 pages. The author explains how coffee is celebrated and enjoyed in various cultures around the world, as well as how global phenomena such as globalisation have affected it.
From producers to traders, roasters, and coffee equipment manufacturers, he considers all actors in the coffee industry and investigates the geopolitics that link producers and consumers. This coffee book will help you understand how coffee rose to fame and became everyone’s favorite beverage.
The Coffee Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide (2007)
by Jon Thorn and Michael Segal
The Coffee Companion by Jon Thorn and Michael Segal is a great read to learn about estate coffees and their flavor profiles. It provides an introduction to popular coffees from around the world, such as Jamaican Blue Mountain and Hawaiian Kona, as well as a guide to blending, roasting, grinding, and brewing delicious coffee.
You’ll learn what to expect from over 150 coffees of different origin and their taste profiles. This book is a must-have for aspiring coffee connoisseurs due to the instructions on how to identify high-quality beans based on their appearance and advice on the best brew equipment to use for specific types of coffee beans.
Coffee – Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production: A Guidebook for Growers, Processors, Traders and Researchers
by Jean Nicolas Wintgens
This must-read for anyone working at the farm level delves deeply into topics such as botany and genetics of coffee, establishing a coffee plantation, soil protection, organic coffee farming, and coffee diseases, processing, harvesting and logistics over almost 1000 pages. This information is extremely beneficial to those working in coffee production and logistics. If you’ve ever considered becoming a coffee farmer, this is the book for you.
Coffee Roaster’s Handbook: A How-To Guide for Home and Professional Roasters (2020)
by Len Brault
There are numerous coffee roasting books available, but Coffee Roaster’s Handbook is unique in that it is written specifically for avid home roasters and aspiring professionals. Brault discusses everything from selecting a roaster to controlling the roast profile, as well as how to achieve different flavors and flavor profiles for different beans. He also provides a wealth of information on the various types of coffees, their properties, and how to pair them with specific roast styles.
The book covers a wide range of topics, from equipment selection to green bean storage, and it includes numerous clear photos and helpful diagrams to help you understand key concepts. There are also extensive sections on each type of coffee – whether it’s shade-grown or organic, heirloom or decaf – and each variety is paired with the perfect roast to bring out its unique flavor. Len Brault formerly owned a very successful coffee shop and founded a coffee importing company. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry, so he knows his stuff! If you’re looking for a book that will help you take your roasting to the next level, this is a great choice!
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes (2012)
by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman and Tara Duggan
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is a must-read for coffee lovers and aspiring baristas. Author James Freeman guides readers through the history of coffee, the various types of beans, and how to make the perfect cup of coffee. The book is filled with stunning photography and step-by-step instructions for making coffee at home using Blue Bottle’s signature pour-over methods.
It’s an excellent gift for coffee enthusiasts and a fantastic way to learn more about this delightful beverage. An approachable resource that provides insights into the minds of the legendary Blue Bottle Coffee founders through storytelling and passion.
The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee (2019)
by Tristan Stephenson
The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee is an entertaining book that covers a wide range of topics related to our favorite bean. The author, Tristan Stephenson, looks at history, origin, roasting and the science behind coffee. You’ll learn how different cultures have developed their own ways of preparing and serving coffee and how trade and transportation have enabled the spread of coffee around the world. There is also a chapter dedicated to the chemistry of coffee and how its properties affect its taste. Even though it does get scientific at times, the whole book is easy to read. Numerous illustrations and images help bring the topics to life.
I recommend this coffee book particularly for espresso lovers, as there are two chapters dedicated to the art that goes into making the perfect shot of espresso. These contain useful tips on training and equipment as well as a variety of recipe ideas for making different types of espresso-based drinks. Nevertheless, the book is also suitable for those who are new to coffee and want to channel their inner barista. From cold brew to coffee related desserts, recent trends are being introduced through a variety of recipes to try at home or at work.