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ipodrulz's avatar

A Great Coffee Book?

Asked by ipodrulz (76 points ) January 24th, 2009

I’ve always loved the taste of coffee. I’d pop into my local Starbucks and order the first thing I see on the menu… but lately I’ve grown really fascinated with coffee, enough that I actually want to know the difference between a latte, or mocha. Or what the difference is between an espresso, cappacino, or brewed coffee!

Does anyone have a good book in mind (preferably Starbucks centred) that can teach me everything and anything I want to know about coffee!?

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11 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

A respectable book on the history and culture of coffee will wind up steering you away from Starbucks.

Check out Imbibe magazine – a great magazine about all kinds of drinkables.

eponymoushipster's avatar

it’s not about coffee per se, as much as a history of coffee and the industry. It’s called “Starbucked”. It’s not the “Fast Food Nation” of coffee books, but it’s not a love fest either.
I thought it was interesting.

As for a recipe type book, that i’m not too certain of. Seems to me that Starbucks itself used to have a little booklet they’d give you, explaining all the drinks and so on. You could ask at the local SBUX for one, if they still have it.

Also, if you go into a local starbucks where the baristas already know you a bit, they’ll drop an egg of knowledge on you if you ask nicely and they aren’t busy. odds are, they’ll give you a sample or two to boot.

Tantigirl's avatar

These are not Starbucks centered, and I still think you’ll find them very helpful and interesting.

Coffee Basics: A quick and easy guide – Kevin Knox

Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying – Kenneth Davids

I highly recommend the Kenneth Davids book, although both are worth reading.

Mamradpivo's avatar

“Starbucked” by Taylor Clark is a great look at the rise of consumerist coffee culture.

And ” The Coffee Trader” by David Liss is a fun historical fiction book about early coffee traders in Amsterdam in the 17th century.

I recommend both as thy address the business and the romance of coffee.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Uncommon Grounds is a history of coffee and coffee drinking.

mij's avatar

Any big book on serious Australian Aboriginal Art, especially from the Western Desert.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Starbucks is one type of roasting method. There is much, much better coffee out there.

Starbucks is to coffee as McDonald’s is to hamburger.

ipodrulz's avatar

Thank you guys for all your suggestions! I should’ve put this in the original question, but I’m hoping to apply for a Starbucks job (I know they put you through an extensive training program) and I don’t want to go there with no knowledge at all!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

One of the things that Starbucks talks a lot about is “third place space.” This is an urban sociology term (Ray Oldenburg) referring to places that are not home (first place) and not work (second place) where people gather for social interactions. While it’s questionable whether they deliver this consistently across all markets, what they do deliver well is consistency for business travelers, and that’s a large segment of their business. If you are on the road, Starbucks is, if nothing else, a consistent environment, from service to amenities. The predictability is welcome to business travelers. And they’ve carved out a large following in the middle class suburban strata, where brand following is important, and independently owned coffee shops may not exist, or thrive. Somewhere I saw research about coffee and branding. If you’re predisposed to shop and purchase clothing for brand name, then you will patronize Starbucks for the same reason. They have also executed a tactic of market saturation, where they go in and blanket areas of a certain socioeconomic profile.

Delivering product consistency across all markets, and retail makes Starbucks a fascinating case study. I tend to not patronize Starbucks unless I’m in an airport, because I find certain aspects of the branding ridiculous (like the naming of size of the drinks) but I do find their corporate methodology and their training program to be fascinating. I live in an area where I have numerous interesting independent coffee shops around me that have walkable access. I have to drive to a strip mall to go to Starbucks.

90s_kid's avatar

Your local library has a lot——believe me. I always refer to the idiot’s guides because I am an idiot, but the one for coffee is this. I also do the dummies series, but nothing came up for that.

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