An excellent overview of many aspects of coffee. It covers some history; discusses coffees of various origins, growing, processing, roasting and brewing. The book is informative and lightly sprinkled with wit.
Negative Product Points
This fifth edition is from 2001 and some of the info on espresso machines is dated. Also, I disagree with some of his recommendations for espresso brewing and milk steaming.
Kenneth Davids is very knowledgeable about coffee and proves it with Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing , and Enjoying. He takes the reader on a ride with him through the history of coffee and culture. He begins by discussing the difference between specialty and commercial coffees. In the process he gives a brief overview of how coffee is grown and processed. The history of coffee is pretty well covered. He begins with the apocryphal story of Kaldi's goats and leads into the history of coffee's spread throughout the world. In the process he discusses some of the social ramifications of coffee consumption. The third chapter talks about buying coffee. This seems like it would be a great introduction for the uninitiated. He talks about the various origins, grading methods and market names. He also talks a bit about roast levels. This chapter alone probably makes the book worth reading but the fun doesn't stop there. The next two chapters talk about cupping and the flavor components of different origins. Then he addresses "cause coffees". He talks about organically grown, shade grown, bird friendly and fair trade coffees. He manages to make the reader aware of the issues without being preachy. The rest of the book talks about roasting, grinding, brewing, espresso making, serving, growing and celebrating coffee. He even has a chapter on the medical issues. The book also contains a glossary, a contact list and a good index. If you already know everything about coffee then this book is not for you. Otherwise, I heartily recommend it. The coverage is not deep but it's broad enought that every coffee lover can learn something from it.