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The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes Hardcover – October 9, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Review

“Once you’ve tried Blue Bottle coffee there is no going back—and thanks to this book, you can now understand exactly why. This be-all book on today’s coffee culture is a how-to and why manual that will thrill coffee geeks, amateurs, and professionals alike. And for those whose experience is that food is an afterthought at a coffee bar, you can now have Blue Bottle’s sumptuous recipes that are like the crema in the cup.”
-Danny Meyer, restaurateur and author of Setting the Table
 
“Knowing James is like knowing a prophet; my friendship with him opened my eyes to a whole new planet of coffee possibilities. What he’s taught me about coffee changed my world, and this beautiful brew of useful tips, surprising information, and tasty inspiration will change yours, too.  I’m still buzzing.”
-Mourad Lahlou, chef-owner of Aziza, San Francisco, and author of Mourad: New Moroccan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; F First Edition edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607741180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607741183
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To be honest, I had never actually had Blue Bottle coffee before pre-ordering this book. I just couldn't stop hearing about how good it is during my galavants around San Francisco and Berkeley.

This book is packed with great information and tells you how Blue Bottle makes its coffee, pastries, and other fun recipes step by step. There is also a ton of information on coffee growing and roasting, as well as coffee's history. James covers different brewing methods thoroughly, making it a truly enjoyable read for any coffee fan. You will also get information on coffee equipment, which I found particularly useful because I myself am trying to make the best coffee I can.

Oh, and I finally got around to trying Blue Bottle Coffee this past weekend in Hayes Valley. I ordered an espresso which was definitely one of the best I've ever had. The 81 year old English man next to me was in agreement.

For those inclined to know everything they could have ever possibly wanted to know about coffee, this book is a great place to start...and finish.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third book I've read on the topic of Coffee, recently. It's also the one which has given me the most insight into the people who grow, roast, and serve this wonderful beverage. I feel a bit transformed, actually.

I thought the coffee revolution of the late '60's helped me to appreciate coffee more. I started buying Peet's, ground my own, and experimented with pour over, French Press, and home espresso methods. I was very happy with my morning cup. Then, a new generation of coffee aficionados came along to upset my apple cart. I'm simply blown away by the available information on the global coffee experience; who knew?

James Freeman is an artist with an active and clever mind. He can't seem to contain his fascination with producing the most amazing coffee experience on the planet. Kudos, James! Within his book he shares his informed insights thus helping us to better understand coffee growers, roasters, and baristas. In just over a decade (during a severe economic recession, no less...) he also managed to somehow create a world class business with a unique spin on the most traditional of consumer commodities. Color me impressed! Thanks for sharing!

Recently, I started roasting my own coffee. I thought this would be the sole improvement required to update my coffee game. Now, however, I'm aware that there's so much more to explore and understand. Who knew the Japanese had it all going on in terms of pouring coffee? Ever heard of the Nel Drip? Siphon coffee? Swan-necked pouring kettles? Not me, for sure. But I'm totally open to these new coffee experiences. Clearly, the Internet has allowed us to think more globally; even if you don't travel you can expand your awareness.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was super excited about reading this book on my Kindle.

If you buy it, you should know that the formatting is a total mess. Random pages pop up in the wrong section of the book, images that are meant to be associated with certain blocks of text are missing or on the wrong page, and other issues abound.

It's so disappointing to see such a sloppy unreadable job for what should have been a great book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for the Kindle and read the whole book shortly after receiving it (minus the recipes, I'm sure they're swell but I don't much enjoy baking). The section on roasting is very good and the section on espresso is particularly brutal and to-the-point. In so many words, the former seems like it should be difficult while the latter seems like it should be easier, but reality is the other way round. That said, you can't have good coffee from bad tasting beans, so knowing how beans ought to be roasted, rested, and ground is quite useful.

You can find these things elsewhere, of course, but the reason I plowed through the entire thing in the first day is that the Freemans can write, really well, in an engaging and concise style. This is not a huge book, but it is crammed with a great deal of very specific advice and information that I found most helpful. (For example, the advice to either go to a good cafe with a skilled barista, or be prepared to pay a lot of money for a heavy, balky Italian machine and then spend many hours learning to use it, is delivered unvarnished; the undeterred will then find very specific advice on grinding, tamping, pulling, and judging espressi, along with notes from the Blue Bottle locations regarding their strategy for blends of beans and single-origin coffees).

Considering that I was looking at another book that cost $45 until I flipped through the preview (and immediately bought the Kindle edition), it strikes me as a very good value. Look through the preview and see if you don't agree. Worst case, you lost a few minutes of your day, but if you are interested in what makes for a good cup of coffee (and what makes for an obsessive coffee purveyor!), I suspect you won't stop at that.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Why I Read It

I’ve tried all the mainstream methods of making coffee at home: drip, instant, french press, even going so far as trying to make my own lattes in a cheap espresso machine. I’ve most recently been a K-Cup devotee since buying my used Keurig on Ebay two years ago.

My problem, is I am very spoiled by coffee shop drinks. One of my greatest weaknesses in life is that I frequent Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee or our local coffee truck at least twice a week. (I justify that it’s a cheap pick-me-up.) I’m also quite guilty of dousing my home-brewed coffee with half-and-half and brown sugar.

Enough is enough. I needed to learn how to make great-tasting coffee at home. Online bogs and forums had so much contradictory information, that I decided I needed to consult an expert. I checked Amazon for best-rated books about making coffee and found The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. The interesting name and the gorgeous photography on the cover had me sold.

About

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is an informational book about the craft of making artisan coffee. The author, James Freeman is an innovator who plays a role in bringing third-wave coffee mainstream. The complex process of coffee-making is thoroughly covered, from growing methods to detailed instructions on how to manually brew the perfect cup. The author tells the story of how he went from being musician, to small-time bay-area roaster, to owner of one of the most famous cafes in the world. At the end, there are recipes for recommended pairings with your daily coffee.

What I Loved

The author is a coffee purist and self-admitted perfectionist. His extreme dedication to the details and complexities of making coffee won my trust as a reader right off.
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