There’s nothing more satisfying than curling up in your favorite armchair, a steaming mug of java at your side, and a fresh, new book in your hand. As you get ready to discover all the wonders hidden in those pages the fantastic aroma of coffee fills the air and satisfies the senses completely.
A good book can open up doorways into new worlds and can get you excited and enthusiastic about any subject. If you think you know all you need to about coffee then it’s time to reconsider. The coffee industry is ancient in origin and steeped in tradition and culture that shape how we enjoy coffee today.
Even if you’re only interested in one particular brewing technique then it’s still extremely important to consider the full picture as this can enhance your appreciation for the magical stuff that is coffee.
To help hone your skills, broaden your knowledge, and expand your horizons, you need a coffee book that reflects your needs. To help guide you, here are nine of the best coffee books available to suit beginners and coffee connoisseurs alike. Have a browse and if any particular one speaks to you then check it out on Amazon by clicking the “Price and Reviews” button.
The Top Nine Best Coffee Books
- 1. Top Choice – The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing
- 2. Runner Up – Coffee Roaster’s Handbook
- 3. The Science of Coffee – The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
- 4. Best For Brewing Espresso – The Professional Barista’s Handbook
- 5. An Adventurous Tale Focused on Coffee – God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
- 6. Best For Home Brewing – Craft Coffee: A Manual: Brewing a Better Cup at Home
- 7. Best History Book – Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
- 8. Best for Brewing Regular Coffee – Everything but Espresso
- 9. Best All Rounder – The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee
1. Top Choice – The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing
Author: James Hoffmann
Publication Date: October 10th, 2018
Pages: 272 Pages
If you’re a fan of researching coffee then chances are you’ve heard of the author of this book. James Hoffman is an award-winning barista and coffee roaster. He travels worldwide in search of the best coffee and is known for his public speaking on the subject. He was the 2007 world barista champion and he also has a successful youtube channel that features everything coffee.
This book is really well written. It takes the subject of coffee and makes it gripping and thought-provoking. It’s fully informative and once you’ve read it through you’ll be left with no unanswered questions. It covers the coffee plant and its origins, coffee beans, the roasting process, and the basics of coffee brewing methods. Everything you could hope for regarding coffee is covered in this book and the author tells the story in a vibrant manner.
This book comes in hardback, kindle format, and even an audiobook version read by the author himself.
2. Runner Up – Coffee Roaster’s Handbook
Author: Len Brault
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Pages: 170 Pages
If you’re interested in anything to do with coffee roasting then this is the book for you. It covers all the basics and delves into enough depth to satisfy anyone from beginner to expert in coffee roasting. The author covers a brief history of the coffee industry before moving on to roasting equipment and techniques. Finally, there’s an illustrated guide to drum roasting so you can try it yourself at home.
The author, Len Brault runs a longstanding website on everything to do with coffee. He has a wide knowledge of everything to do with coffee and has held many seminars on brewing and roasting. He is especially interested in the Vietnamese coffee culture and is working on bringing aspects of this to the USA. He is also working with coffee farmers to help adapt to the changing climate and to preserve the wonderful diversity that exists within the coffee species.
He’s an interesting man and the book thoroughly reflects his in-depth knowledge as well as his passion for roasting. It’s well worth a read, even if you only have a slight interest in roasting as it will change the way you think about coffee.
3. The Science of Coffee – The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
Authors: James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan
Format: Hardback, Illustrated
Publication Date: October 9th, 2012
Pages: 240 Pages
If you’re interested in brewing pour-over or specialty coffee with the precision necessary for any scientific experiment then this is the coffee book for you. James Freeman delves into the nitty gritty, most precise measurements necessary to brew coffee to perfection. This book is ideal for any practical-minded person that nurses a coffee obsession and is looking to take their brewing technique to the most extreme level possible.
Alongside the in-depth brewing guidelines, there are also a number of inviting recipes to try out as well as some beautiful illustrations that make this book a pleasure to read. This book is a perfect choice for any coffee enthusiast who is keen to understand advanced brewing methods as well as gaining an insight into how the coffee-growing conditions can influence the flavor of your cup of joe.
The author, James Freeman is the founder of Blue Bottle Roasting Co. which is one of the countries leading artisan coffee roasters.
4. Best For Brewing Espresso – The Professional Barista’s Handbook
Author: Scott Rao
Publication Date: January 1st, 2008
Pages: 99 Pages
This option by Scott Rao is an ideal choice if you want to excel at brewing espresso but the expertise doesn’t end here. He also goes into other brew methods such as the french press and even covers brewing tea. This book is absolutely essential if you own or work in a coffee shop as it’s one of the best, most complete guides to brewing great coffee.
The author has condensed a lot of useful information into this compact book but it must be studied carefully so as not to miss anything. He really dives in deep to tell you all you need to know to maximize the flavor profile so if you’re looking to brew the most delicious coffee at work or at home then this is a good read to get you up to speed.
5. An Adventurous Tale Focused on Coffee – God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
Author: Michaele Weissman
Publication Date: April 18th, 2008
Pages: 288 Pages
‘God in a Cup’ is a coffee-focused adventure that will change the way you think about the whole industry. Michaele Weissman looks in-depth into the world of ultra-premium coffee, where brewing methods require scientific precision and coffee tasting is a serious business. The author then visits remote coffee farms across the globe and exposes a dark side to the industry where fair trade standards can end up ignored.
Ethiopia is next on the list, the birthplace of the coffee plant and still a central coffee hub. Finally, the author takes you on a journey through the most up-market coffee roasters, restaurants, and cafes to look at how this developing culture is shaping the world of coffee.
This book is undoubtedly an adventurous tale that thoroughly explores all aspects of the world of coffee. It’s the perfect choice for coffee drinkers and adventure lovers alike.
How do I become a coffee lover?
If you’ve always wanted to be one of those people who adores coffee but you’ve no idea where to start then the first step is learning to enjoy black coffee. Check out our post on how to drink black coffee. Once you develop a taste for the good stuff, get yourself a book to guide your coffee brewing. This will improve your technique as well as provide you with an insight into the world of coffee so you gain a greater appreciation of the wonderful stuff.
What is the basic knowledge of coffee?
The basic knowledge of coffee includes the origin of the coffee bean, how it is roasted, and which roast of bean to choose for your brew method. The grind size is also essential to understand as well as the brewing method. You need to know how much coffee to use (or the coffee to water ratio), the brew time, the technique, water temperature, and any other factors that affect the quality of coffee. It’s also important to understand how to store coffee to keep it as fresh as possible.
How do I become a barista?
Most coffee shops or cafes will train their baristas in-house. Alternatively, you can do training courses online or in person at institutions that specialize in coffee brewing.
What are the benefits of drinking coffee?
Coffee is packed full of antioxidants which help protect your cells from damage thus reducing the impact of stress on the body. The caffeine found in coffee is a mood booster, helps direct blood to your skeletal muscles to get you up and moving and it helps you feel more alert and awake. It’s a great drink to remove the morning groggy feeling and to have before exercise.
What is the difference between coffee and espresso?
Espresso is coffee brewed over a short period of time at very high pressure. The result is a small volume, concentrated shot of coffee that has a foamy ‘crema’ on top. This is simply emulsified fats from the coffee beans themselves as the pressurized environment whips them into foam. Espresso is extremely intense in flavor and thick in texture almost like melted honey. Regular coffee is simply ground-up coffee beans that have been exposed to hot water so creates a much larger volume but thinner textured cup of coffee with a smooth and rich, yet less intense taste.
More Coffee Books Reviewed
Best For Home Brewing – Craft Coffee: A Manual: Brewing a Better Cup at Home
Author: Jessica Easto
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Pages: 272 Pages
So many coffee brewing guides focus purely on espresso and its associated coffee drinks. If you’re not much of a fan of this kind of coffee then it can be tricky to find a guide that talks about other brew options. This book is exactly that as it looks into a variety of brew methods such as pour-over, french press, cold brew, and Aeropress.
This book is beautifully written and super easy to pick up and refer to, no matter what level your coffee brewing skills are at. It focuses on practical aspects of brewing like cost, time, and accessibility which are often overlooked in today’s world of premium coffee makers.
In summary, this book makes brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home straightforward and accessible for everyone.
Best History Book – Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
Author: Mark Pendergrast
Format: Paperback, Illustrated
Publication Date: July 9th, 2019
Pages: 480 Pages
If you love history then this is the coffee book for you. The author takes you on a journey from the discovery of the coffee plant and its original uses right through to today’s global coffee culture and the rise of industry giants like Starbucks. The author discusses the ‘coffee crisis’ that caused a crash in coffee prices and brought about the necessity of the fair trade movement.
The book is packed full of interesting facts and unbelievable truths about the coffee industry including the good and the bad stuff. It makes a really satisfying read and is the ideal coffee table book to spark conversation with guests.
Best for Brewing Regular Coffee – Everything but Espresso
Author: Scott Rao
Publication Date: January 1st, 2010
Pages: 70 Pages
For some of us, the very best cup of coffee possible is a rich and smooth cup of black coffee with no bells or whistles. Barista guides too often delve into espresso but when it comes to home brewing, this is not the brew method most people choose. Scott Rao has developed this condensed guide to home brewing methods that makes brewing delicious coffee accessible to all.
It’s a short book that gets to the point and is ideal if you need some coffee knowledge but you don’t want to spend a long time looking at the subject in depth. This book helps improve your brewing skills in a fun and fast way and is a great option for beginners.
Best All Rounder – The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee
Author: Tristan Stephenson
Publication Date: March 12th, 2015
Pages: 192 Pages
This complete guide to all things coffee is a great book for beginners, baristas, and coffee connoisseurs alike. It starts off with a look at the history of coffee, the cultural influences as well as the full growing process. He explores roasting and the techniques that help alter the final flavor of the coffee beans.
He describes the espresso brewing process and looks further into specialty coffee by examining the brew methods for lattes, cappuccinos, and similar coffee recipes. He even discusses flavored syrups and the pouring techniques for latte art.
He doesn’t stop at espresso as he also delves into various other brewing techniques and there are a number of coffee recipes included for brewing various coffee-based beverages and cocktails.
Nothing beats a good book and a cup of coffee, especially if that book is all about the wonderful drink. Reading a book is a relaxing and enjoyable way to learn more about your favorite subject and you’ll be surprised at what you find out along the way. Now it’s time to sit back, relax and get comfortable with your favorite coffee book and a fresh mug of java. You’ve earned it!