24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Prism of History,
This review is from: Uncommon Grounds : The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World (Hardcover)
Uncommon Grounds is the best history of coffee and the coffee trade to be published in English in over three-quarters of a century.
Mark Pendergrast has provided both to the casual reader and the coffee professional a perspective on the history of coffee and the coffee trade that has the ring of truth.
Pendergrast has not bothered the reader with myths of goatherds and mullahs, but focuses on the documented true story with the adventure and lure of fortune to be found in the brown gold that is coffee. We can sense the anguish and torment of peon and slave, and feel the silk-shirted personalities of the 19th Century robber barrons who created the great coffee fortunes. We cry with the Central American farmers, and cheer on the fledgling specialty coffee roaster/pioneers of the 1970's who created the new coffee business which heralded the myriad of consumer coffee choices of today.
The reader is swept along with the flow of history, as it is paralleled in the telling of coffee's fortunes and the fortunes of the men and businesses who have pursued it's financial promise. By the last chapter Mark Pendergrast has our cup running over with knowledge and understanding. Uncommon Grounds' text, authoritativly annotated and footnoted, brings coffee into sharp focus, warts and all. The picture is clear, well textured and on balance, an appealing and fascinating one. Uncommon Grounds, by Mark Pendergrast is sure to be enjoyed by the coffee lover on your gift list.
The reviewer, a professional roaster/cupper is Gourmet Specialties Editor @ Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, founded in 1902, the oldest and most esteemed trade organ serving the international coffee community.