Several weeks ago an e-mail came through this site from a publishers asking for my address so they could send me a book. I was surprised, a little skeptical but gave it to them and this morning a book arrived. For free. I’ll be getting guest list for CoE next….
Anyway – I’ve had a chance to read through the book so I thought I’d write a little review (which I presume to be the reason they sent it to me…..)
The book is by Susan Zimmer whose biog is here. On the surface this books seems similar to “Coffee Cafe” by Sherri Johns that came out last year. The first part of the book being a bit about coffee and brewing in general and the bulk of the book then given over to coffee based recipes.
This book seems to be pitched at baristas, and many competing baristas are constantly on the hunt for new ideas for signature drinks so may look to books like this for inspiration. Of the two Sherri John’s is probably better as it has drinks contributed by previous champions and less of the drinks contain alcohol. However there are two drinks in here from Sammy Piccolo of Artigiano/49th Parallel Roasters (I am not entirely sure which, do please correct me if you know). Sammy also did the latte art throughout the book, and its nice to see pictures of espresso with a healthy crema – all to rare in most coffee literature!
The book has something of an old school feel to it – espressos are 45ml, you can make milk foam using your French Press as a kind of butter churn (not one I had heard before, or one I think I’d recommend!) and coffee from origin countries talked about in sweeping terms. However the photography is pretty good, and a few of the drinks are of interest – though quite a few of the recipes come from syrup suppliers so you need a well stocked cabinet of flavoured sweetness to try them all and I confess I am unlikely to lay my hands on Thai flavoured syrup very soon.
All in all an odd mix of the older style tempered by some good information likely supplied by a few wise contributors. A shame they didn’t have a little more influence. One for the completists but for most of the people reading this blog it is worth looking through the recipes to see if there is something you like and probably not for the first part.
Perhaps also worth noting that the author is donating a portion of her proceeds to CoffeeKids which is only a good thing.