Coffee isn’t just a beverage; it’s a culture, a passion, and a ritual for many.
For those who find joy in every sip and appreciate the artistry behind the brew, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best coffee books.
From in-depth explorations of coffee origins and processing methods to guides on perfecting your home brewing techniques, each recommendation offers a unique perspective on the beloved beverage.
With that being said, let’s look at the 15 options below and then we will review each book in a little more detail.
15 Best Coffee Books: At A Glance
- The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing By James Hoffman: Our #1
- The Craft and Science of Coffee 1st Edition By Britta Folmer
- How To Make The Best Coffee At Home By James Hoffman
- God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee By Michaele Weissman
- Coffee: A Global History (Edible) By Jonathan Morris
- The Professional Barista’s Handbook By Scott Rao
- The Coffee Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide By Jon Thorn
- Starting Your Own Coffee Shop By Jessica Simms
- Coffee – Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production By Jean Nicolas Wintgens
- The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee By James Freeman
- Coffee Roaster’s Handbook By Len Brault
- The Devil’s Cup By Stewart Lee Allen
- The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee By Tristan Stephenson
- Uncommon Grounds By Mark Pendergrast
- Everything But Espresso By Scott Rao
1. The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing By James Hoffman: Our #1 Choice
Our top pick for the ultimate coffee read is James Hoffman’s “The World Atlas of Coffee.”
If you’re into coffee, you’ve probably heard of James Hoffman – the guy is like a walking coffee encyclopedia, having earned his stripes as a world barista champion and founder of Square Mile.
Now, picture all that coffee wisdom bundled up in one fantastic book.
“The World Atlas of Coffee” is a coffee lover’s dream guide.
It covers everything from how coffee is produced to how it lands in your cup.
The book’s layout is pretty cool – it’s organized by continent and then country or region, making it easy to navigate.
Each section is bursting with colorful pages, jam-packed with info.
Hoffman’s book doesn’t just stop at telling you about coffee; it’s a step-by-step guide for home-brewing methods.
From the journey of a coffee bean, starting with the harvest and ending with the roast, it’s all in there.
Plus, he dives deep into the nitty-gritty details like the anatomy, genetics, and varieties of coffee plants.
But it’s not all technical – you’ll also get a dose of coffee history, both globally and regionally.
The book takes you on a visual trip around the globe, showcasing coffee-growing countries through vibrant photos and concise, easy-to-digest text.
In this second edition, Hoffman even throws in seven additional coffee-growing countries, updated maps, and all the latest stats and data.
Whether you’re a casual coffee sipper, a pro in the business, or just someone curious about the magic behind your morning brew, “The World Atlas of Coffee” is a must-have on your shelf.
Trust us; it’s like having a coffee expert on standby anytime you want to dive into the fascinating world of coffee.
2. The Craft and Science of Coffee 1st Edition By Britta Folmer
“The Craft and Science of Coffee” is a book that provides a comprehensive overview of the coffee industry, covering its origins, global impact, and the interplay between science and craft in its production.
This book is your go-to guide for everything coffee-related – from its roots in East Africa to becoming a global sensation.
The authors take you on a journey through the agricultural, economic, and social aspects of coffee, unraveling the science behind its production, roasting, and brewing.
What makes this book special is that it’s a team effort.
Experts from various corners of the coffee world join forces to create a comprehensive resource.
The goal? To bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and practical know-how in the coffee industry.
Whether you’re a coffee farmer, a barista, or just someone who enjoys a good cup, this book caters to all.
It’s designed to deepen your understanding and love for coffee, offering a unique and inclusive perspective.
The first edition, edited by Britta Folmer, the Coffee Science Manager at Nestlé Nespresso S.A., hit the shelves on December 16, 2016.
So, if you’re ready to unravel the craft and science behind your favorite brew, this book is a must-read.
3. How To Make The Best Coffee At Home By James Hoffman
How to Make the Best Coffee at Home is another book written by James Hoffmann – the same coffee guru behind “The World Atlas of Coffee.”
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your coffee journey, this book has your back.
Hoffmann spills the beans on all things coffee, starting with what equipment is worth your dime and what’s just hype.
Learn the art of grinding coffee, master the basics of brewing for your favorite gear (think cafetiere, aeropress, stovetop), and dive into the world of coffee drinks – from cortado to flat white.
But it doesn’t stop there.
This book is your go-to guide for making a killer espresso, buying top-notch coffee, and developing a refined palate for tasting.
Plus, Hoffmann throws in recipes for various brewing methods like AeroPress, V60, Chemex, and classic espresso.
Whether you’re a coffee pro or just getting started, this book is a goldmine.
It’s not just informative; it’s visually appealing too, with vibrant images that make it feel like a stylish coffee table book.
Hoffmann’s years of expertise shine through, giving you the confidence to brew your best cup yet.
4. God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee By Michaele Weissman
Even though it hit the shelves back in 2008, “God in a Cup” remains a go-to for anyone keen on exploring different coffee flavors.
This book, crafted by the late-blooming adventurer and journalist Michaele Weissman, takes you on a journey into the fascinating world of specialty coffee.
The book delves into the exotic and paradoxical realm of specialty coffee, where the successful traveler must be part passionate coffee connoisseur, part ambitious entrepreneur, part activist, and part Indiana Jones.
Weissman unravels the story of the Third Wave of Coffee, which kicked off in the early 2000s.
This wave was all about elevating the quality of coffee and building sustainable relationships with farmers and businesses.
In “God in a Cup,” Weissman introduces you to the key players behind the Third Wave, chatting with coffee influencers like Geoff Watts, Peter from Counter Culture, and Duanne from Stumptown.
But this book is more than just a business-oriented coffee read.
It’s like a captivating travel adventure mixed with environmental consciousness – something even non-coffee enthusiasts can enjoy.
This book also digs into larger questions about the role of coffee in modern society.
Can a simple cup of coffee unveil the face of God? Could it be the modern-day holy grail for adventurous souls, and can it change the world?
It invites you to ponder these thought-provoking questions as you sip your favorite brew.
It’s a delightful exploration of coffee that goes beyond the beans and into the heart of our modern coffee culture.
5. Coffee: A Global History (Edible) By Jonathan Morris
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the history of coffee then “Coffee: A Global History” by Jonathan Morris is a great option.
From its roots in Ethiopia to becoming a global sensation, this book takes you on a journey through the rich history of everyone’s favorite brew.
Jonathan Morris, a research professor at the University of Hertfordshire, and a whiz in the history of consumption and consumer societies, goes deep into the cultural significance of coffee.
He uncovers the diverse ways it’s prepared and enjoyed worldwide and even sheds light on the global trade and geopolitics swirling around it.
What’s cool about this book is that it’s not just a history lesson.
Morris gives you the lowdown on the different flavors of coffee and introduces you to the people who make it all happen – from production to distribution.
The book’s got it all: engaging writing, fascinating info, and it throws in recipes, images, and some surprising facts for good measure.
Whether you’re a food enthusiast, history buff, barista, or just someone curious about the ancient and modern tales of coffee, this book is your go-to resource.
It’s like a flavorful blend of information that goes down smoothly, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for the world’s favorite caffeinated beverage.
6. The Professional Barista’s Handbook By Scott Rao
In the world of coffee, baristas are no longer just the folks who serve your daily cup; they’re the go-to experts for all things coffee.
Scott Rao, a seasoned barista, felt the need to share his wisdom and wrote “The Professional Barista’s Handbook” to help you become the coffee maestro you aspire to be.
This handbook is like your coffee companion, covering everything from the basics to the fancy stuff.
It’s not just a read; it’s a visual guide with loads of practical advice, perfect for anyone eager to up their barista game.
Whether you’re starting out or looking to refine your skills, this book is your trusty training manual for all things espresso and coffee.
Scott dives into the nitty-gritty – from brewing the perfect drip coffee to crafting those Instagram-worthy latte art designs.
The book doesn’t just throw information at you; it’s designed to be practical, focusing on essential techniques that’ll turn you into a coffee pro.
And hey, it’s not just words; there are plenty of photos and graphs to help you visualize and apply what you learn.
The Professional Barista’s Handbook has received positive reviews for its concise and useful content, making it a valuable resource for home enthusiasts and professional baristas alike.
So, whether you’re pulling shots at home or in a bustling cafe, this handbook is your go-to guide for brewing that perfect cup every time.
7. The Coffee Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide By Jon Thorn
The Coffee Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide by Jon Thorn is a richly illustrated guide that describes and rates more than 150 coffees from around the world.
Jon doesn’t stop at just introducing you to these coffees – he spills the beans on roasting, grinding, and blending techniques to help you whip up the perfect brew in your kitchen.
But that’s not all; this guide is like having a coffee expert by your side.
Jon shares his wisdom on how to taste coffee like a pro and dives deep into the world of estate coffee.
It’s a must-read for coffee enthusiasts everywhere, giving you the lowdown on everything from the basics to the finer points of coffee appreciation.
And hey, if you’re into making more than just your regular cup of joe, Jon’s got you covered.
The book includes a mouthwatering collection of recipes for classic coffee drinks.
So, whether you’re a seasoned coffee connoisseur or just starting your coffee journey, this guide, first published on March 26, 2007, is your key to unlocking a world of coffee delights.
8. Starting Your Own Coffee Shop By Jessica Simms
Dreaming of running your own cozy coffee spot? Well, Jessica Simms has your back with her book, “Starting Your Own Coffee Shop.”
This guide is like your roadmap to turning that coffee dream into a bustling reality.
First things first, Jessica spills the beans on choosing the perfect spot for your coffee haven.
After all, a coffee shop isn’t just a place for a caffeine fix; it’s a social hub and maybe even a performance space.
The book walks you through crafting a solid plan – think goals, target market, and financial projections.
It’s like a blueprint for your coffee empire.
But it’s not just about location and plans.
Jessica shares some golden nuggets on building a dream team for your shop.
From hiring the right folks to giving them the lowdown through training, she’s got you covered for smooth operations and top-notch customer service.
And because the coffee game can be fierce, the book dives into marketing strategies to make your spot stand out.
It’s not just about the coffee; it’s about creating a vibe that draws people in.
Plus, Jessica spills the beans on financial management and keeping that inventory in check – essential stuff for running a tight ship.
Did you know that over 80% of adults in the U.S. are regular coffee drinkers?
Jessica discusses the coffee craze and its importance in communities, making it clear why your coffee shop could be the heart of the neighborhood.
“Starting Your Own Coffee Shop” is like your mentor in the coffee biz, covering everything from finding that perfect location to keeping the cash flow in check.
If your dream involves the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the hum of happy customers, this book is your ticket to making it happen.
9. Coffee – Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production By Jean Nicolas Wintgens
If you’ve ever wondered about the A to Z of coffee, look no further than “Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production.”
Edited by Jean Nicolas Wintgens, this comprehensive guidebook is your go-to source for all things coffee cultivation, harvesting, processing, and more.
It covers everything from the latest research on coffee plants, pests, and diseases to biotechnological methods that jazz up coffee breeds.
Not just that, it dives into the sustainability of current coffee production methods and offers a glimpse into modern alternatives that shake things up.
In this second edition, you get the lowdown on how coffee production impacts the environment, plus a deep dive into the botany, genetics, and genomics of coffee.
And because we all care about that perfect cup, there’s a special focus on bean quality assessment.
Now, here’s the cool part – the book is a visual delight with over 900 color photographs, drawings, and diagrams.
Whether you’re a coffee producer, trader, or researcher, this 1040-page handbook is your coffee Bible.
It’s also endorsed by the International Coffee Organization and the Specialty Coffee Organization of America, making it a highly respected resource in the coffee industry.
It’s a goldmine for anyone considering a future in coffee farming.
So, if you’ve ever dreamt of donning the hat of a coffee farmer, consider this book your essential guide to kickstarting your coffee journey.
10. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee By James Freeman
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is a book crafted by James Freeman, the brain behind the Blue Bottle Coffee Company.
This isn’t just your average coffee book; it’s a journey from growing the beans to savoring that perfect cup.
James spills the beans on everything – from how coffee is grown and processed to the art of roasting.
But here’s the cool part: it’s not just theory.
The book comes with hands-on tutorials for various brewing methods like the French press, nel drip, and siphon.
Think of it as your coffee workshop, right at home.
And it gets even better.
If you’re into adding a dash of sweetness to your coffee routine, there are over 30 recipes from Caitlin Freeman, the founding pastry chef at Blue Bottle.
But let’s not forget the essence – the book dives into the origins of coffee, giving you insights into different coffee-producing regions.
Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or someone just starting to explore the world of coffee, this book is your comprehensive guide.
It’s not about sipping coffee; it’s about crafting your own coffee experience at home, the Blue Bottle way.
11. Coffee Roaster’s Handbook By Len Brault
The Coffee Roaster’s Handbook by Len Brault is a unique guide that’s both your buddy in the kitchen and a pro’s best friend.
Len covers all things coffee roasting, making it a must-read for beginners and connoisseurs alike.
This book isn’t just a list of do’s and don’ts; it’s a journey through the history of coffee, helping you understand the beans from the ground up.
Len spills the beans on selecting and buying green coffee, storing it right, and mastering the art of cupping and evaluating roasts.
What makes this guide stand out? Well, Len doesn’t just throw information at you – it’s a colorful experience with practical tips and insights.
The guy knows his coffee, and it shows.
Len Brault, with his online coffee website and seminars on brewing and roasting, is a great coffee guru, and this book is a testament to that!
Whether you’re flipping through a paperback or scrolling through an e-book, Len’s handbook is your ticket to mastering the science of coffee roasting.
It’s not just a book; it’s your companion in the pursuit of the perfect roast.
So, if you’re ready to dive into the world of roasting, this guide is the perfect starting point, whether you’re a coffee rookie or a seasoned enthusiast.
12. The Devil’s Cup By Stewart Lee Allen
Next up we have “The Devil’s Cup,” a book by Stewart Lee Allen that takes you on a wild ride through the history and cultural impact of coffee.
In this book, Stewart travels the globe to answer burning questions, like whether coffee kick-started an enlightened Western civilization or if it’s the secret driving force of history.
This book isn’t your typical history lesson; it’s part travel adventure, part laugh-out-loud comedy.
Stewart’s witty storytelling makes it a must-read not just for coffee lovers but also for foodies, anthropology enthusiasts, and anyone up for a funny, sardonically narrated escapade.
Now, if you’re expecting a cookbook, this isn’t it.
Stewart swaps recipes for a deep dive into the roots of coffee and how it evolved into the beloved beverage we enjoy today.
He humorously tackles the eternal battle between coffee and tea drinkers, suggesting that even tea enthusiasts secretly crave a good cup of joe.
The Devil’s Cup is your passport to understanding the captivating journey of coffee through the ages.
It’s not just a book; it’s a witty, entertaining exploration that’ll leave you with a newfound appreciation for your favorite brew.
13. The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee By Tristan Stephenson
The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee by Tristan Stephenson covers everything from the roots of coffee to its global impact.
In this book, Stephenson explores the origins of coffee, its journey around the world, and its cultural influence.
Worried about it getting too scientific? Fear not! While there’s some science talk, the book keeps it breezy and easy to follow.
Packed with illustrations and images, it’s like a visual coffee adventure.
But there’s more than just facts.
Tristan throws in coffee recipes, turning this guide into a one-stop shop for coffee lovers.
Whether you’re into growing, roasting, brewing, or serving, it’s got you covered.
Espresso aficionado? You’re in luck! Two dedicated chapters spill the secrets of crafting the perfect shot.
From training tips to equipment recommendations and a bunch of espresso-based drink recipes, it’s a treasure chest for espresso lovers.
The book provides a deep yet understandable level of detail, making it suitable for both coffee professionals and enthusiasts.
14. Uncommon Grounds By Mark Pendergrast
Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast was first published in 1999 and this book remains a go-to for coffee newbies and aficionados alike.
From the ancient discovery of coffee in Abyssinia to its global influence over centuries, Pendergrast takes you on a captivating journey.
You’ll explore how coffee shaped cultures, economies, and social dynamics, evolving through the ages.
Pendergrast also brings you up to speed on recent coffee culture shifts, from the “Coffee Crisis” to the rise of Fair Trade and the emergence of coffee connoisseurs seeking the perfect brew.
It’s like a coffee time machine that brings you from ancient rituals to today’s quality-driven coffee scene.
Why pick up this book? it’s a detailed and entertaining exploration of the world’s favorite pick-me-up.
Perfect for coffee lovers and anyone curious about the forces shaping the coffee industry.
And hey, it’s not stuck in the past; “Uncommon Grounds” is available in different formats, so you can pick your preferred coffee companion.
With engaging storytelling and thorough research, it’s no wonder this book has earned praise for bringing coffee history to life.
15. Everything But Espresso By Scott Rao
Guess what? Scott Rao is back with another treat for coffee enthusiasts, and this time, it’s all about satisfying the cravings of coffee geeks.
Say hello to “Everything But Espresso” – a book tailored for those who want to geek out on all things coffee, minus the espresso shots.
Now, let’s break it down.
Divided into three parts, this book is like your roadmap for diving deep into non-espresso coffee brewing:
- Part One: Get ready for a journey into coffee extraction, measurement, and tweaking brewing parameters to amp up the flavor game.
- Part Two: Discover the art of achieving that optimal flavor using various brewing methods – think drip, pour-over, press pot, and vacuum pot.
- Part Three: Unravel the mysteries of proper water chemistry and bean storage. Because, yes, the little details matter.
Designed as the go-to guide for coffee lovers, this book is a goldmine for those who want to up their game in non-espresso coffee preparation.
It’s not just a book; it’s your companion on the quest for the perfect cup.
Ready to geek out? “Everything But Espresso” is waiting to be your coffee confidant, and it’s up for grabs for those eager to enhance their coffee knowledge and skills.
Where Can These Coffee Books Be Purchased?
Coffee books can be purchased from various retailers, both online and in physical stores.
Here are some popular options:
- Online Retailers:
- Barnes & Noble
- Book Depository
- Specialty Coffee Shops:
- Some independent coffee shops or specialty coffee shops carry a selection of coffee-related books.
- Major bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and independent local bookshops often have a dedicated section for food and beverage, including coffee-related books.
- Author’s Website:
- Check the official website of the author, as they may offer direct sales or provide information on where to purchase their books.
- Local libraries may have coffee books available for borrowing, offering a cost-free option to explore a variety of coffee literature.
- E-book Platforms:
- For digital readers, platforms like Kindle, Apple Books, and Google Play Books offer e-book versions of many coffee-related titles.
- Coffee Events and Conventions:
- Attendees at coffee-related events, conferences, or conventions may find a selection of coffee books available for purchase.
- Subscription Services:
- Consider subscription services like Book of the Month or coffee-themed subscription boxes, as they may feature coffee books in their selections.
Before making a purchase, it’s advisable to read reviews, check the availability of different formats (hardcover, paperback, e-book), and compare prices across different platforms to find the most suitable option for your preferences.
In the rich tapestry of coffee literature, these 15 best coffee books stand out as essential companions for enthusiasts and novices alike.
From exploring the origins of coffee to mastering brewing techniques and delving into the culture that surrounds this beloved beverage, each book offers a unique blend of knowledge and inspiration.
Whether you’re seeking a historical journey, practical tips, or a deeper understanding of the art of coffee, this curated list has something for every coffee lover.
Happy reading and brewing!