How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston

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How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston

Category: Cookery
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A serious look at the science behind getting your shot of caffiene - it's interesting and informative, particularly if you're still looking for your ultimate coffee-making equipment.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Ivy Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1782402015

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Have you ever caught the aroma of coffee brewing but when it came to that first sip the taste has been, well, distinctly underwhelming - and you might actually have preferred a glass of water? Well, Lani Kingston has written How to Make Coffee which takes you from plant to cup, tells you how to make the perfect drink and explains the science behind it. It's a comprehensive book which gives you an overview of the history of coffee, the areas in which it originated and how it spread before moving on to an explanation of the chemistry behind what is probably the world's favourite drink.

So far as science is concerned I'm an ignoramus. I wasn't able to completely follow all of Kingston's explanations, but nothing left me feeling ridiculously adrift from the text. It was this chapter which confirmed my impression that this is a serious text rather than a frothy look at the subject. I was fascinated by the reasoning behind why caffeine has such a hold on us - it's down to dependency rather than addiction - and how the amount of caffeine varies in different beans. Kingston is particularly good - throughout the book - at providing diagrams which I found very helpful as a non-scientist.

For me the book really came into its own when it discussed roasting and grinding: it filled a lot of gaps in my knowledge and showed me just why some coffees fail so spectacularly. In fact there are so many factors which need to be correct with a relatively small margin of error that I was even more grateful than I had been for those special cups of coffee which stick in the memory. There are a few paragraphs on spotting what causes the errors and these are gold dust to anyone who is serious about their coffee.

If you've invested in a bean-to-cup coffee machine (guilty as charged, I'm afraid) then you might find the book to be more of academic interest as there's not really all that much scope for adjusting what the machine does. On the other hand if you're not yet fixed on how you're going to make your coffee then the chapters on brewing, extraction and balance, coffee and technology and how to make coffee will be very useful, allowing you to make informed choices without wasting money.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of this beautiful book to the Bookbag.

For a wider look at all kinds of beverages we can recommend How to Drink by Victoria Moore. If the science behind store cupboard essentials interest you then you might also enjoy The Bluffer's Guide to Chocolate (Bluffer's Guides) by Neil Davey. And before you say anything - chocolate and coffee are essentials.

Buy How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Make Coffee: The Science Behind the Bean by Lani Kingston at Amazon.com.


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