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The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from the Crop to the Last Drop (Bazaar Book) Paperback – May, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Most stimulating."
The Baltimore Sun

"Informed and argumentative. . . . Drawing on sources ranging from Molière and beatnik cartoonists to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the authors describe the beverage’s long and colorful rise to ubiquity."
The Economist

"Packed with an interesting punch . . . a fun little item."
—Associated Press

"Good to the last sentence."
Las Cruces(NM)
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Author

An enthusiastic summary of the delicious treats you'll find: If you're thirsting to learn the untold story behind everyone's favorite beverage and one of the nation's hottest commodities, this is the book for you. How did an unremarkable plant that grows in the shaded understory of Ethiopia's highland forests go on to become a multi-billion dollar international commodity that can make or break entire national economies? How do coffee beans make it from the farm to our cups? What are the labor issues and environmental impacts of this crop? How did coffee transform from a breakfast beverage to a lifestyle?

You'll find that our book is chock full of information about coffee's history, international trade, consumption trends, growth of the specialty coffee industry, and the blossoming of the organic and fair trade coffee movements--and it's filled with fun illustrations, photos, maps, graphs, and a few cartoons to boot. We think you'll find it really gratifying to learn about the products you use, and to learn about them in such an accessible and fun book. We also think that this book, together with a nice pound of delicious coffee beans, would make a darling gift for all those coffee fans out there (doesn't everyone in the world know a coffee fanatic?)

Since we're madly in love with coffee, we had a great time doing the research and know that you'll have a great time drinking it up!

Our favorite coffee? We like maximum flavor and minimum impact--so we dig fairly traded organic coffees.

Cheers,
Nina Luttinger and Gregory Dicum

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Product Details

  • Series: Bazaar Book
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: New Press (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565845080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565845084
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,038,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was a fascinating book. A very good overview of coffee from it's beginnings to the present, and a real eye-opener on it's effect on world economy and politics over the centuries. I was especially interested in the sections on ecology and marketing, and found it to be very well researched and complete, yet written in a very catchy way. The illustrations and sidebar notes included fit in nicely.
Perfect to accompany "un tinto", as they say in Colombia.
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I agree with most of the comments in the other reviews. One thing I will add is that this is a more concise book than "UNCOMMON GROUNDS", but has much of the same information, from a different viewpoint of course. It is also around 6 years more up to date. For instance in "UNCOMMON GROUNDS" Vietnam was just starting to make a mark in the coffee industry, now it's one of the top producers of Robusta beans. Also the Fair Trade / Bird Friendly etc. coffee is more common now. Information will be found on the various aspects of coffee, such as Starbucks, instant, caffeine-decaf, specialty coffee, which turned the industry around (if not on its head). There are sidebars of some of the major players such as Kraft, P & G, etc.

The authors also dealt with coffee advertising which was a significant part of coffee history during the 20th century. Whatever one thinks of the commercials or the coffee, Mrs.Olsen & Juan Valdez became stars. One interesting quote they reported had to do with why the ad-industry put out certain of the ads they did during the 50-60's such as some from CHOCK-FULL-OF-NUTS & CHASE AND SANBORN. The people behind those ads said that they did it on purpose - they figured that the women went through the same thing in real life. Imagine the ad agencies trying to get away with some of those ads today.

So, if you are interested in the history of coffee but don't have the time for the 400+ pages found in "UNCOMMON GROUNDS" (also reviewed), this is the book to read.
Of course it would be hard to beat the cover.
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Format: Paperback
Mr.Dicum and Ms.Luttinger have writtne a phenomenal book. From their obsure historical facts to their pinpointing the origin of coffee, 6th century Ethiopia, you will be riveted to your seat as if you were reading a fictional novel.
They put coffee, the coffee industry, and global coffee politics under a microscope and often times it fails to hold up to the scrutiny. No matter what your political affiliation is you can't help but be immediately shocked and awed and the incredible amount of sociopolitical machinations that go on for you to have that morning sip of java.
For 11 years I have been a futures investor, broker, and author. One of the preferred futures contracts that I trade is coffee. This book has provided me with an indepth background and perspective on coffee that I never had before. This is now one of my reference books. For those that are interested in investing in coffee either actual grounds or in futures this book is for you and for those that can go a day without the original "liquid gold" you have got to read it. At the end of the day you will appreciate that Starbuck's "venti mocha grande" just a little bit more.
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Format: Paperback
I never knew the extent of coffee on the economy until I read this book. Not only did it include statistics and graphs, it also included little pictures and quotations that were insightful. I learned about the process of coffee harvesting, roasting, blending and the marketing of it in the U.S. Also there were quirky and cool little facts on coffee's impact on our history. I mean, who knew that the Green Dragon coffeehouse in Boston and Merchant's coffeehouse in New York became meeting houses for the angry American colonists who planned and protested against imported British goods in the midst of the Boston Tea Party?? Overall a good and enjoyable book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Informative, although the author seems to have an ideological problem with big business. You can almost hear the disgust every time that she talks about "international corporations." Nevertheless, provided the general information that I was looking for about the product and the industry.
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Format: Paperback
This is a must read for anyone who works with or loves drinking coffee. If you're looking for a crash course in the history, economics behind or current politics of the coffee industry, look no further!
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Very informative on the history and business of coffee. Certainly the author has prejudices (decaf is "vile"), but other assertions (ie grocery store coffee is swill) are backed up with info about how comodification and technification (ruination) of the product causes its decline, and some direction on finding a better product, both in taste and social conscious. I'm no coffee snob, but I do recognize a lousy cuppa joe when I meet it, so it is helpful to at least know what/how to avoid, and what to look for to hedge your bets to something more satisfying without paying designer prices.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at the library, thinking it was about kinds of coffee and how to brew it. I was mildly disappointed to find out that it was about the coffee industry, but I read every word. If you want to know how to minimize ecological damage in choosing your coffee, here's where to find out. The history was also fascinating. A great read!
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