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The whole world of coffee by James Hoffmann focuses exclusively on the high-quality side of the "brown gold". That's why the book can confidently begin with the sentence "Coffee has never been as good as it is today". That's true if you look purely at the coffee beans and the coffee powder, which has not been forced into capsules or pods. And James Hoffmannn should know, he is a barista world champion and coffee roaster himself.

The table of contents of the coffee atlas*
As with wine, the same applies to coffee: the true quality and goodness is decided during cultivation and harvesting by the perfect degree of ripeness and a careful harvest. Every step thereafter serves only to preserve the goodness, not to improve it. The entire second half of the Coffee Atlas is therefore devoted to the countries of origin. In each case, there is an introduction to the coffee culture, tradition and consumption in their own country. All the important coffee-growing regions are described with their characteristics, altitude, time of harvest and varieties. At least one large-format photo, the taste profile of the local coffee, a story or two and information on traceability round off the country descriptions perfectly.
Again, parallels with wine: the best coffee comes from hills, high altitudes or steep slopes in mountainous regions. But the quality criteria are manifold in order to be able to enjoy a top coffee in the cup. The book explains all the positive and negative influences from sowing to roasting and also gives plenty of tips on buying, storing and preparing coffee. Surprising to many will be that it is not the machine that is the key to taste, but the coffee grinder.

A Kenyan coffee plantation*
You will further learn in this book:
  • how and where coffee grows
  • which Caffea arbica varieties are available
  • how complex coffee production is
  • Interesting facts about the coffee trade
  • about the importance of the grind and what else you can influence yourself to drink good coffee at home
  • everything about espresso and the Italian coffee varieties and how to froth milk for it
  • how to roast coffee yourself
  • which coffee defects there are
  • why you should pay attention to the roasting date
  • what the ideal water should be for brewing coffee
  • how to taste and describe coffee
  • and much more

Excerpt from the chapter "Brewing Espresso "*
It really is amazing what all is behind coffee. The Coffee Atlas is a reading book but also a reference book with an index and glossary, just as a good book should be. It is not only multi-faceted and well-structured, but also easy to understand and very informative. This is certainly also due to the good translation by Reinhardt Ferstl (of the original "The World Atlas of coffee. From Beans to Brewing" from 2014). All picture content is described with subtitles.
A book, in the double sense weighty with its almost 1000 grams and its comprehensive content. After reading it, there is really no question left unanswered, except for how best to dispose of your pad or capsule machines.
Especially valuable for me are the descriptions of the coffee-producing countries with their most important coffee plantations with the main taste profile of the coffee. This will be a great help to me in the future when buying coffee, as will the tips on grinding coffee beans.

Example of a country introduction from the coffee atlas*
This book is a revelation for anyone who loves coffee and doesn't just sip it hidden behind a newspaper as a pick-me-up, but appreciates it through conscious drinking and enjoyment. Wonderful pictures accompany the text judiciously and there is a caption for each picture. So you know exactly what you're looking at there. The structure of The Coffee Atlas is very clear and describes all stages of coffee production, from the fruit to roasting and optimizing your own coffee preparation.
The Coffee Atlas
Author: James Hoffmann
Translator: Reinhard Ferstl
Hallwag Publishing House
ISBN: 9783833845321
256 pages, hardcover
Format: 259 x 200 x 23 mm
Weight: 985 g
Price: 29,99 €
More information and purchase of the book on the publisher's page here!
*All photos copyright © Gräfe und Unzer Verlag GmbH, with kind permission.
Review by Katrin Walter

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