Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry

Rowman & Littlefield. 2013. 424p. ed. by & others. photos. notes. index. 9781442214408. $55; ebk. 9781442214422. BEVERAGES
This massive volume is truly comprehensive, examining coffee from soil to cup. Thurston (Phillip R. Shriver Professor, history, Miami Univ., OH), Jonathan Morris (modern history, Univ. of Hertfordshire, England), and Shawn Steiman (head, Coffea Consulting, Honolulu) have pulled together 63 essays that address agriculture, economics, gender, culture and history, assessment of quality, effects on health, and future research and development of the coffee bean and coffee production. The authors include coffee farmers, scientists, industry leaders, journalists, historians, and even a mechanical engineer. In addition, there are country profiles providing detailed information about both coffee-producing and coffee-consuming countries (e.g., Vietnam, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Colombia, the United States) that cover subjects such as the history of coffee in the region, climate, business costs, companies in the marketplace, and trends in consumption. The pieces vary in length, depth, and quality: some are familiar and casual, while others have a more scholarly bent.
VERDICT It's hard to imagine that the audience for this title is very large; it's neither strictly a scholarly examination nor a work of creative nonfiction. But for those who have a serious coffee addiction, the book offers a wealth of content.
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