From its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia to the advent of Starbucks, Mark Pendergrast reviews the dramatic changes in coffee culture over the past decade, from the disastrous "Coffee Crisis" that caused global prices to plummet to the rise of the Fair Trade movement and the "third-wave" of quality-obsessed coffee connoisseurs. Reprint edition.
... not until I read all 520 pages of Mark Pendergrast's encyclopedic coffee epic did I realize how powerful the coffee image has been even beyond its caffeine component ... With wit and humor, Pendergrast has served up a rich blend of anecdote, character study, market analysis and social history. And while the reader sometimes needs a caffeine jolt when too much raw data and too little structuring clog the brew, still everything you ought to know about coffee is here: even how to make it.
... informative and satisfying ... intensive research combined with light-hearted and enthusiastic writing ... The book has an extensive bibliography and pointed illustrations (several images clearly illustrate the racism inherent in early American advertising), and is a fine road map of the history of coffee and its development into one of the most traded commodities in the world.
Pendergrast forsakes soothsaying and makes no attempt at philosophy, but he dutifully grinds through the old myths and stories ... It is a book both rich and thick. It's almost Turkish ... Yet for all its exotic locations and excursions, for all the press-potted histories of Guatemala and Costa Rica, Pendergrast's coffee all ends up in the United States. It is really an American story that he's telling ... Ultimately, of course, and at length and of interest, it's a book about Starbucks ... What Pendergrast doesn't point out is that Starbucks is the apotheosis of modern consumer society and its management of the pleasure principle.