Most of us may not have the opportunity to visit all the top coffee houses in Europe or visit the coffee plantations in Brazil, but we can bake our very own coffee cakes just like those served in Vienna or Venice in our own kitchen, using recipes in books written by coffee experts. We can discover the history of coffee plantations in Brazil and Indonesia through books written by historians and researchers.
Stephen King once said “Books are a uniquely portable magic!” Books can transform our mind and give us more understanding of a topic. In this case – coffee.
If you are looking for books to learn more about coffee or to give a special gift to a coffee lover, you are at the right place. Your search may be over! Take a look at 14 coffee books we discovered here:
1. Coffee Creations by Gwin Grogan Grimes
Did you know that coffee pairs well with chocolate and vanilla? Coffee Creations is a book filled with over 50 recipes with one common ingredient – coffee. Inside, you’ll find a number of coffee drinks including Irish Coffee, Mexican Coffee and Coffee Martini (coffee, coffee liqueur, and vodka).
We like the muffin, swirl bread, and fudge recipes.
We followed the fudge recipe taken from Coffee Creations but simplified it using: 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 can (14 oz) condensed milk, 1 tablespoon coffee powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of salt. We lined a rectangular glass baking pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
Following the directions in the book, combine the chocolate, condensed milk, coffee powder in a mixing bowl, microwave on high for 30 seconds or until the chocolate is melted and stir the mixture. Remove from the microwave, add the rest of the ingredients and pour the mixture to the lined baking pan. Chill the mixture in the fridge until it is firm. Remove/peel off foil and cut into fudge small squares.
This book is sure to delight any coffee lover.
Get it at Amazon.com ($13).
2. Coffee Gives me Super Powers by Ryoko Iwata
This delightful book is not just for coffee lovers. It is tastefully illustrated with infographics. You’ll learn a ton about coffee from this little book. For example, the author pointed out that Starbucks’ peppermint white chocolate mocha has 520 calories which is equivalent to the amount of calories in 3.7 cans of Coca-Cola. And if you drink black coffee, you’ll be consuming zero calories since black coffee is naturally calorie free.
Get it at Amazon.com ($6)
3. Coffee: A Dark History by Antony Wild
This book, published in 2004, was written by coffee trader and historian, Antony Wild. It covers the origin of coffee (Ethiopia), the beginning of the 15th-century coffee trade routes, the widespread use of coffee during the Ottoman empire from the 16th century onwards, the rise of coffeehouses in Venice, Vienna and other parts of Europe, the adoption of coffee drinking at home, coffee plants being introduced to other parts of the world by the European colonials (Indonesia, West Indies and South America), slavery & the coffee colonies, coffee and slavery in Brazil and much more.
This book will make you more aware of the drink you love – coffee. It’s not an easy read but will sure give you insight into coffee origins, history and the socio-economic impact of coffee in our world.
Get it at Amazon.com for $19 or used for around $3.
4. The World Encyclopedia of Coffee by Mary Banks, Christine McFadden, and Catherine Atkinson
Published in 2011, this book is one of our favorites because there are plenty of photographs and it has everything we want to know about coffee in brief. It brings readers to the beginnings of the Arabica from north-east Africa to Arabia, tells the story of the Turkish coffee houses set up in 1554, describes coffee in Persia, runs through the customs and rituals of coffee, the migration of the coffee tree, coffee trade, coffee as medicine, coffee houses in Europe, the art of brewing, coffee tasters’ terminology, the world’s coffee producing countries, 70 coffee recipes and much more.
We’ve learned so much from this book. For example, about espresso. Espresso was the first method of brewing coffee and there are many types of espresso – espresso normale, espresso romano, espresso macchiato, espresso ristretto, espresso corretto, espresso doppio, espresso con panna or espresso tazza d’oro and espresso lungo or Caffe Americano. You have to get the book to find out why these espressos are named differently.
Get it at Amazon.com ($6)
5. Starbucks Passion for Coffee: A Starbucks Coffee Cookbook
Published in 1994, this book started out describing the passion for coffee, the coffeehouse experiences and quoting Abd-al-Kadir from In Praise of Coffee in 1587:
Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold, it brings to every man the feeling of luxury and nobility.
This book is filled with recipes for cakes and cookies and we learned something new from this book – the four fundamentals of coffee making. They are:
- The proportion – use the right proportion of coffee to water
- The grind – use the right grind of coffee for your coffee maker
- The water – use fresh, cold water, just off a boil
- The freshness – start with freshly roasted coffee beans, freshly ground, then drink the coffee freshly brewed
Get it at Amazon.com (starting at $9)
6. I Love Coffee! Over 100 Easy and Delicious Coffee Drinks by Susan Zimmer
If you are looking for coffee drink recipes, this is the book for you. You get recipes on hot coffee drinks, iced and blended coffee drinks, coffee and espresso martinis, coffee dessert drinks, holiday coffee drinks, coffee syrup and whipped cream recipes and tips.
We learned about the difference between Arabica and Robusta beans. Arabica or the aristocrats of coffee beans are grown at higher altitude, constituting 75% of the world’s coffee production, grows at 3,000 to 6,500 feet, with a constant temperature of 68 degrees and slower growing process. One Arabica shrub yields only about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of green coffee each year. The Robusta beans are of lower grades and grow in lower altitudes, hardy and disease resistant. A Robusta shrub yields about 2 to 3 pounds of green coffee per year. That’s double of the Arabica. The author named Liberica beans as the third type of beans which are similar to Robusta.
Get it at Amazon.com ($14).
7. The Joy of Coffee by Corby Kummer
This is an essential guide to buying, brewing and enjoying coffee written by the senior editor of The Atlantic Monthly. One topic that caught our attention was the topic on ‘withdrawal pangs’ – where studies revealed that headaches are the most common problem when one withdraws from coffee. Headaches can start within a few hours without caffeine and the problem worsens between 24 to 48 hours. Other problems include nausea, difficulty concentrating, flulike feelings and blurred vision. We have experience all those symptoms.
Have you? Find out more from The Joy of Coffee.
Get the book at Amazon.com ($16).
8. Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Theresa Peluso
If you like reading short stories about someone’s coffee habits or coffee memories, this book is for you. Frankly, this is not the type of book we like. Everyone is different, you may like it and find inspiration in reading this small book.
Get the book at Amazon.com ($15).
9. Coffee and Cake by Rick Rodgers
This is a coffee and cake recipe book. Mr. Rodgers’ mother’s family is from Liechtenstein, which means this book is filled with delightful Old World coffee house coffee and cake recipes. You’ll find the recipes for Black Forest Cake, Mochaccino Torte, Hazelnut Gateau with Coffee Buttercream (yum!!) and Tiramisu Cake with Mascarpone Frosting.
We tried the easy Blackout Cupcakes using mayo, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, strong brewed coffee and vanilla extract. Voila!!
Get it at Amazon.com ($10 – $18).
10. Coffee Obsession by Anette Moldvaer
One of our favorites among the many. Ms. Moldvaer’s book was published in 2014. She starts the book with “The Journey of Coffee” – tracing the history of coffee from around 1,000 years ago to the 1700s when coffee plants were planted in the Caribbean islands of Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, French Guiana and on to Brazil in the 1800s. The book shows the difference between Arabica and Robusta, processing, cupping, flavor appreciation and more.
This book is useful if you want to learn about the different coffees of the world – Africa, Indonesia, Asia and Oceania, South and Central America, the Caribbean and North America. Ms. Moldvaer also includes the information about coffee equipment and how each coffee gear works.
Get it at Amazon.com for $13.
12. Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast
Uncommon Grounds is similar to other coffee history books but includes stories of American coffee companies’ successes. You’ll read about A&P leading the way in direct coffee sales to consumers between 1919 and 1929. Also about Folgers, Maxwell House Coffee and Chock full o’Nuts. Between pages 204 and 205 you’ll find inserts of black and white ads and photos cartoons about coffee. They give you a glimpse into the importance of coffee in the U.S. from the 1920s to the 1960s. For example, a photo showing Frank Sinatra holding a cup and saucer in front of a mike apparently singing “The Coffee Song” and a 1950s Instant Maxwell House Coffee ads with words like “Not a powder! Not a grind! But millions of tiny “FLAVOR BUDS” of real coffee…”
Get it at Amazon.com for $14.
13. Starting & Running a Coffee Bar by Susan Gilbert, W. Eric Martin and Linda Formichelli
Though published in 2005, this book is still relevant. If you are looking for a simple guide to help you realize your dreams of owning a coffee shop this book may answer some of your doubts. However, it won’t make you a barista.
Get it at Amazon.com for $15.
14. Chelsea Market Cookbook by Michael Phillips with Rick Rodgers
This is not a book about coffee. We have included it because of an article on Coffee Brewing 101 by Chelsea Market’s Ninth Street Espresso, the first specialty coffee bar in New York City. Added to that, the Chelsea Market Cookbook has a Lamington recipe. Lamington is one of the best sweets originating from Australia/New Zealand that goes well with coffee.
Get it at Amazon.com for $20.
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