4 Books Every Aspiring Coffee Nerd Should Read

Photo: The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffman, published by Firefly Books 2014.

Measuring coffee's golden ratio, getting proper extraction, choosing a favorite brewing method, even using the right water; the coffee world is rich with information and technique. And if you are a budding coffee nerd these books are must-reads.

1. The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing by James Hoffman

James Hoffman's comprehensive coffee primer is as gorgeous as it is informative. There's plenty on brewing, but the book is worth owning if only for its tour of the world's great coffee-growing regions.

2. Everything But Espresso by Scott Rao

In the microcosmic world of pro baristas, Scott Rao is famous for authoring some of the field's great manuals. This is a next-level text, with detailed brewing instructions and scientific justifications for why Rao's methods are valid.

3. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman and Tara Duggan

Blue Bottle founder James Freeman got his coffee education in Japan, so his perspective diverges from the current coffee orthodoxy in some fascinating ways. For instance, he says some of the best cups of his life were made with dark-roasted coffee and low-temperature hot water (heretic ideas on today's light-roast-obsessed scene). Blue Bottle co-founder Caitlin Freeman contributes some seriously excellent recipes for pastries and other foods that pair well with coffee.

4. God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee by Michaele Weissman

Journalist Michaele Weissman takes a narrative trip down the coffee rabbit hole. Though it was published in 2008, Weissman's book features figures still considered luminaries today, like Geoff Watts (of Intelligentsia) and Peter Giuliano (the longtime head of Counter Culture who now works with the Specialty Coffee Association of America).

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