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Coffee Basics: A Quick and Easy Guide Paperback – January 1, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Coffee industry insiders present a succinct, straightforward guide which explains just as much as readers need to know to make sense of the specialty coffee trend and increase their drinking enjoyment, buying confidence, and brewing performance. Includes mail-order sources for great coffees, recipes, and a coffee taster's glossary.

From the Back Cover

Put your local coffee bar to the test with Coffee Basics!

With thousands of coffee bars and restaurants serving an endless variety of blends, roasts, and brews, ordering a specialty coffee drink has become as daunting a task as selecting a fine wine. How can you distinguish between great coffee and great hype? Read Coffee Basics.

Kevin Knox and Julie Sheldon Huffaker have filled this handy reference with hundreds of industry truths and trade secrets. You'll learn the fundamentals of coffee buying, brewing, and tasting; and develop an aficionado's ability to see beyond the expensive trappings of today's coffee explosion. You'll discover:

  • The basic coffee facts: its origin, history, and many varieties
  • Step-by-step methods for selecting, roasting, blending, and flavoring coffee "to taste"
  • A coffee taster's glossary
  • Simple charts showing grind progression, relative grinding times, and regional characteristics
  • The scoop on decaffeinated, organic, and espresso beans
  • Specialty coffee recipes
  • Lists of the best sources for beans and professional equipment

Whether you make coffee at home or at a fine restaurant, Coffee Basics offers a bottomless cup of brewing knowledge and drinking pleasure.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471136174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471136170
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Consing on October 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read a number of books on coffee, but Knox and Huffaker's book is simply the all-around reference on coffee. While other book publishers include snazzy photo plates and recipes to sell their expensive books, this book gives tons of useful information on what goes into a wonderful cup of coffee. The experience and the passion that the authors (who are industry experts) have for the bean shows throughout. Because of this book, I was able to significantly enhance my family and friends' coffee drinking experience. Whether you're a novice coffee drinker or a seasoned espresso barista, this is one book that should be in your reference shelf.
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By A Customer on May 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book gives a good basic understanding of what coffee is all about. I especially like the specificity of information about coffees from different areas in the Regional Character chapter. For example, discussing Costa Rica's two best growing areas and how the coffees differ. I also found the opinions of which coffees are worthy of their price helpful. I read the Perfect Cup first and am glad I did because it was a good coffee overview for me. Coffee Basics was a great second book for me because I was looking for more specific information about coffees of each area. If I hadn't read Perfect Cup first I think the break down of info. on each type of coffee/regional character would have been information overload for me. If you are new or relatively new to the coffee world and are excited about learning more and more about the subtlties and nuiances present in that cup, I highly recommend you read this book.
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Format: Paperback
This is not exactly a great book, but then again, not exactly a bad book. It covers much about the industry of coffee and goes over the different regions that produce coffee. It describes what is and how to brew a perfect cup of coffee.
But I get a feeling of being rushed from one tidbit of information to the next. Just while I am almost within grasp of a certain concept or am about to form a picture of what it is trying to say it ends there without further detail. But it does repeat key information more than once throughout the book so you do walk away with greater knowledge than before.
If learning about coffee was compared to eating out, this book is best suited as either an appetizer or a desert. Appetizer to whet and get your brain ready to learn more about coffee, or as a desert, to catch up on and review over learned knowledge.
I guess that's why it is called "Coffee Basics" after all.
"A Perfect Cup" is a better selection in that it contains more information and better elaboration although that book is slightly dated being published in 1994. But coffee has been around way before 1994 so does it really matter?
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By A Customer on July 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Great introduction to coffee - how to brew a great cup, a little bit about the industry, the different growing regions, how to buy good coffee, how to taste coffee, information about how coffee is processed. Not too complicated, easy and interesting reading. I definitely recommend this one if you're looking to learn the basics.
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By Betty on October 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book that explains in simple language about coffee basics. The history, origins and how beans are grown, picked and processed before roasting. Includes the different methods of making coffee and the expected results. It offers comprehensive and excellent information about espresso; an expensive investment. There are no illusions or heavy product endorsing in this book. I paid over $14 for it, and discovered I had many misconceptions about storing and brewing. With less than $100 in equipment, I am now enjoying a fabulous cup of java in the morning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good general coffee book, a bit too general in my mind. No enough on history and too quickly goes through terms. It is from 1997, so the post 2000 coffee shop reality is absent. Good book, as it says, its Coffee Basics from 1997.
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Format: Paperback
One of the better all-around books on coffee. If you are looking for a great, general introduction into the world of coffee this is a great place to start. Yes it was published awhile ago and I am sure some of the information has changed but as I said this is a great place to start.

The book covers a lot of topics which I like. A lot of coffee books cover history but not brewing methods or they talk about different brewing methods but not much on how the different regions may taste. This book talks about it all, very general overviews but enough to springboard your research to books that cover your desired topic more in-depth. There is an appendix with a great glossary of tasting terms that will help you describe what you are tasting; especially helpful if you like to keep tasting notes.

As the title says this is the basics. If you don't go into this book thinking you will get the be all, end all on the world of coffee you will not be disappointed. If you're like me and just starting to make the jump from the world of Folgers this provides just enough information to make you dangerous :)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book advertised as new, but obviously this book has been used for quite some time. The condition was good at best. The only redeeming value is that it was dirt cheap, but I would have paid another more for one I have better condition.
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