Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup by Jeff Koehler

Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup

Coffee is one of the largest and most valuable commodities in the world. This is the story of its origins, its history, and the threat to its future, by the IACP Award–winning author of Darjeeling.Located between the Great Rift Valley and the Nile, the cloud forests in southwestern Ethiopia are the original home of Arabica, the most prevalent and superior of the two main s...

Title:Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup
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Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup Reviews

  • Nostalgia Reader

    Those of us who rely on coffee for our caffeine boosts probably take the plant for granted, especially in the coffee-driven culture of the US. It's easy to pop into the corner coffee store for a refill or pick up any variety of bagged coffee at the grocery store. And while many of us probably like our flavored coffees--caramel or hazelnut or any of the many seasonal flavors--we never really think about the flavor of the coffee 

    .

    While I find straight black coffee simply too bitter for my ta

    Those of us who rely on coffee for our caffeine boosts probably take the plant for granted, especially in the coffee-driven culture of the US. It's easy to pop into the corner coffee store for a refill or pick up any variety of bagged coffee at the grocery store. And while many of us probably like our flavored coffees--caramel or hazelnut or any of the many seasonal flavors--we never really think about the flavor of the coffee 

    .

    While I find straight black coffee simply too bitter for my tastes (at bare minimum, I require sugar), reading this book made me want to power through the bitterness and try and taste the flavor of the actual, pure coffee.

    This book starts out in Ethiopia, where, as the title says, the wild coffee grows. As far as scientists can tell, this is where coffee originated and where it still thrives (although in much smaller areas) today. Koehler provides an extensive history of the importance of the native coffee plants to the local population. Not only has coffee been a staple in Ethiopia's trade since medieval times, but it has affected every aspect of their culture as well. The lengthy coffee preparation is just as important as actually drinking the final brewed cup, and coffee being brewed is a sort of aromatic welcome mat, encouraging people to stop in for a cup.

    Koehler also dives into just how nuanced coffee flavors can be. Everything in the process, from the altitude and climate of the coffee tree, to how the beans are picked and processed, to how they're ground and what water is used to brew them can affect the final flavor of a cup of joe. This finickiness of the flavor, however, can cause problems when coffee beans are mass produced for consumption, where brands want their flavors to always stay the same. As climate makes for more limited growing opportunities, and leaf rust continues to be an issue in the 

    species, it can start to be more and more difficult to produce the same coffee beans in the same environment and get that same flavor.

    This isn't to say that coffee can't adapt. In fact, it seems to be quite hardy in the right overall environment, especially 

    (the oft-shunned species of coffee, typically used for instant coffees). However, as the coffee would adapt, so would the beans, their caffeine content, and their end flavor. While beans of many flavors can be mixed to create a blend, if even one of those beans' flavors changes, the overall flavor could also change.

    I quite enjoyed learning about the origins of coffee and how it spread across the world, evolving into what it is today. However, there was just something about it all that just didn't 

    me. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is much more attuned with coffee consumption and culture than I am.

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy to review!

    (Cross posted on

    .)

  • Dale Dewitt

    A true love letter to the birthplace of coffee and our love affair with the drink. I loved this book, i learned so much about ethiopia as the birthplace of coffee and the people who bring it to market. I also learned about the way coffee has spread around the world and how the world loves and consumes such a ubiquitous beverage.

  • Cristina

    As Colombian-American, coffee is quite literally my lifeblood. I felt like I owed it to my multi-cup-a-day habit to learn a bit more about this precious beverage, and I found the history of mankind's relationship with this bean to be fascinating. The first few chapters were a bit long-winded and overly detailed while excavating the history of Ethiopian politics, tangential to the story at hand. But once the text returned to the global impact of coffee and threats to its future, the book was hard

    As Colombian-American, coffee is quite literally my lifeblood. I felt like I owed it to my multi-cup-a-day habit to learn a bit more about this precious beverage, and I found the history of mankind's relationship with this bean to be fascinating. The first few chapters were a bit long-winded and overly detailed while excavating the history of Ethiopian politics, tangential to the story at hand. But once the text returned to the global impact of coffee and threats to its future, the book was hard to put down. The perspectives compiled for this work will appeal to coffee snobs and scientists alike, though honestly anyone with a taste for the black gold will enjoy reading up on its past, present and future.

    // I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Cat

    I'm not much of a coffee drinker myself, but have folks who are both among family and friends. For those diehards- they will love this book! loaded with coffee facts and history. For the rest of us, interesting read!

  • Lauri Rottmayer

    As a self-proclaimed coffee achiever, I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading the history and culture of coffee. I found the book to be a little slow moving at times but, still, very interesting and worth the read. An ode to my favorite beverage. Well done!

  • Sammm
  • Rhonda Lomazow

    For all of us who love coffee fascinating read from Ethiopia and around the world an ode to coffee,Thanks to NetGalley & Bloomsbury for advance readers copy,

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