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Uncommon Grounds, first impressions

November 02, 2011


/files/u13866/UncommonGrounds_000.jpg" style="padding-right: 10px" height="500" width="329" align="left" border="10" />On my recent trip I pick up the book, "Uncommon Grounds" by Mark Pendergrast. It offers a complete history of coffee from the beginning and while only a little over a hundred pages in I wanted to share a little bit about what he has already talked about and encourage others to read it as well. Here is the intro on Roaste, click.



Just some general notes about the book, it does read quite like a history book. What I mean by is, it isn't a story where you follow one point of view, but rather specific events in relation to coffee and if you are not totally interested in the bean, you might find it a little dry. However, with that said if you are like me and have fallen into the rabbit hole of coffee this book will be a very enjoyable read.



Since I am only a hundred or so pages in, I have just covered some of the beginnings of coffee and the development of mass roasted coffee in the American Guilded Age.



Two things have stuck me that I never really thought about were the prevelance of coffee being a major export crop for colonies and the fact people figured out how to brew coffee properly for 100s of years.



I had never really thought of coffee as a major crop for colonies and I guess a large part of that has to do with the limited history I was taught about colonies, which is mainly the British colonies. However, coffee was mass produced in Brazil by slaves in a similar fashion as the old American South, the only notable exception I can think of is the slave population of the South was self-sustaining, i.e. they didn't need new slaves from Africa after a while. Which shows how bad it was to be a coffee slave as they died after a few years. This coffee produce by slaves made for coffee to become the popular drink by the western world that it is today because everyone could afford it.



The second aspect is that it was written that people knew how to brew coffee. I believe in the book it states that it was said coffee should be freshly roasted, ground and hot water just off a boil should be used to brew coffee. Perhaps I am naive, but those things seem to be lost on a lot of people today when brewing their coffee at home. I guess we are just rediscovering this part.



The book is such a wealth of knowledge that I can't wait to continue to learn more about it. It really makes you look at coffee a different way.






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