What We’re Reading: Where the Wild Coffee Grows

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

Author: Jeff Koehler

Genre: Nonfiction

A coffee cup image on a burlap bag texture.

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

This book was read by Courtney Bippley – a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library.

Why did you choose to read this book?

I love coffee. My appreciation for it has grown over the last few years as I’ve learned about it more. This book is a part of my personal quest to understand the things I love more in a global context.

What did you like about it?

It was really well researched. There were a ton of citations at the end of the book along with helpful footnotes providing context throughout. I learned a lot about how coffee spread around the world and what cultural movements it provoked and inspired. Since the history of coffee and the history of Ethiopia are closely intertwined I ended up learning much more about Ethiopia than I expected when I picked the book up.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

I read a similar book a few years ago, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi. Both books talk about the lack of genetic diversity in commercially grown coffee, coffee rust, and what is predicted to happen to coffee farms in the future. (Spoiler: Outlook isn’t great.)

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

It satisfies the Book about Cooking or Food category for the Durham Tech Library 2018 Read Great Things Challenge.

What feeling did the book leave you with?

Inspired to learn more. I’ve signed up for a coffee education workshop at my local coffee roaster where I’ll get to try some of the rare varieties of coffee mentioned in the book.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who likes food related nonfiction, or who is a coffee lover and wants to know more about the past, present, and future of this amazing drink. Also, anyone who wants to learn about Ethiopian history.

What would you pair this book with?

A cup of coffee! Freshly ground, single-origin, Ethiopian coffee with a light roast to let the flavor of the bean shine. No added sugar or cream makes the coffee flavor notes ring true, but don’t ever let anyone shame you if you want to add some. If you’re feeling adventurous you can add butter like they do in Ethiopia.

Instructions for how to make pour over coffee.

Image from Starbucks.

About Courtney Bippley

Courtney is a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library. Her favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. She loves dogs, coffee, and dancing.