I’ve been thinking about writing a coffee based book for some time now.
The problem is that I don’t really feel in a position to write something prescriptive, as I feel that would be a little arrogant given the short time I have spent in coffee.
That said, it doesn’t seem to stop most writers. I have a worrying amount of the identikit coffee books. You know the ones, you probably own them.
They start with some vague ramblings about Ethiopia, being careful not to be too specific as that would require proper research. This is usually as good a time as any to start feeding the dull and repetitive coffee myth mill. Usually they go for Kaldi. How enlightening.
Next a little bit about London coffee houses (and Lloyds, Stock exchange etc) and then a little more myth mongering with Kolschitsky. Here we credit him with anything from inventing the cappuccino to having wonderful imagined conversations about trying to find some grapes and instead being given coffee – the spark of a true revolution.
If you’ve spent a bit more on your coffee book the next section is often an enlightening guide to origin. The best way to describe a coffee from a certain origin is to pick three categories (sweetness, body and one other that seems entirely based on whimsy) and then rate them each 1 to 5.
Now you know all about your coffee it is time to learn to brew it. Here the books designers really go to town on the photography, greedily hunting out as many tired and pale espressos with a vague whisp of crema and then, not satisfied with encouraging low consumer expecation, we must have several pictures of (or perhaps a pictorial guide to) the ultimate marshmallow cappuccino.
Then some torte recipes, and maybe a crazy one involving a coffee crust for some barbeque. Money well spent every time.
Anyway – I’ve worked out what I want to do. It will require a tonne of research but I think I can produce something that every coffee lover will want to own.
It is a secret for now, and I’ve probably just dreamt it up as some sort of diversion to the immense amount of work due for Bern)
Someone is going to put me in touch with a publishers and we shall go from there. Huzzah.