Liquid Education: Coffee, From Bean to The Perfect Brew by Jason Scheltus and Daniella Germain
Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: gift, food history
Coffee holds pride of place as a must-have pantry staple in Australia. Gradually replacing tea as the morning jolt of choice, coffee has kept generations awake through last minute disasters, and sane through emotional turmoils. We love our cup of Joe, and given the rise of artisan coffee, we like to make each cup a little bit special.
But though we drink rivers of coffee each week in this country, how many of us know how our morning brew came to be? Beyond a quick blurb on a Starbucks™ sign, how many of us know where our coffee has come from?
It’s the time of year to start contemplating gifts for the people in our lives, and if you’ve got a coffee fiend in the mix this year, you might want to look at ‘Liquid Education: Coffee, From Bean to the Perfect Brew.’
For such a simple drink, coffee has a long ranging history, rife with intrigue and conflict. It can be difficult to read between the lines of advertising to know what’s what, especially if you want to source ethically grown, sustainable products. ‘Coffee’ is a quick primer to the must-know information that can help coffee lovers, and those only just dipping their toe into the waters of coffee-love, to be more aware about their dose of sanity saver.
This isn’t a cook book, not really. Though there are some hints at the end for preparing the ideal cuppa, for the most part, this is a how-to guide for choosing the best coffee, and the best method to prepare it.
Daniella Germain provides illustrations with watercolour shading that adds a touch of whimsy to the otherwise wholly educational fare. ‘Coffee’ is a rather beautifully rendered companion to our morning cup, and a great way to learn more about a drink we often take for granted.
This sort of book has a rather niche audience, but it would make an ideal gift, perhaps, for someone moving into a new place, or setting up a home office and contemplating the best sustenance giving options. But those happy with a simple Nescafe™ hit might not get as much out of it as you’d hope (though perhaps this could be enough to convert even the most die-hard instant coffee lover to a different style of coffee making). But despite the niche marketing, it’s an interesting, engaging exploration of the drink we love to brew.
‘Coffee’ is published through Smith Street Books/ Simon and Schuster, and is available through the publisher’s websites, and through leading retailers.