Specialty Coffee Books for Beginners

So, you like coffee and want to know a little bit more about it.

Or maybe you have learnt to brew some delicious coffee at home, but don’t know what type of coffee beans to choose.

Here are 3 specialty coffee books that you can easily pick up and bolster your personal coffee vocab and knowledge immediately:

The Monk of Mokha

Why did this book made it into the list?

  • readers will get a quick introduction to coffee history.
  • it’s an enjoyable read of a young man’s journey in coffee.
  • you’ll also have a glimpse of how coffee is cultivated and harvested.
  • plus, a great book to spend a weekend with.

monk-of-mokha‘The Monk of Mokha’ is written by Dave Eggers and published in early 2018.

I would say it is more of a biography rather than a dry book on coffee.

And this makes it an ideal book for anyone who wants an introduction to the world of specialty coffee.

  • Easy Reading

It reads like a fiction book, making it easy to digest while bringing us on an adventure alongside its protagonist; Mokhtar Alkhanshali, the founder of Port of Mokha which brings Yemen coffee to the world:

You’ll flip through a young Yemeni American’s experiences as he tries to reconnect with skeptical Yemeni coffee farmers while holding his own against the racist skeptism back in the US.

  • Embedded Information About Coffee

At the same time, you’ll pick up key information about coffee’s history, specialty coffee terms and even get a bird eyes view of how the specialty coffee industry in Yemen functions.

On top of that, you’ll get a third hand experience of how coffee is cultivate, handpicked and processed.

You’ll probably be surprised at how much work is put into that very cup of coffee you hold in your hands too.

Most of the facts are accurate, although I would say that there is a small amount of bias since it is written from the point of view of a Yemeni.

Check out ‘The Monk of Mokha’ here with free shipping.


The World Atlas of Coffee

Why did this book made it into the list?

  • It provides a good introduction for coffee lovers who want to know more but don’t know where to start.
  • Also gives you a bird’s eye view of how coffee ends up on your table.
  • You’ll learn about interesting coffee characteristics that will help you make better coffee decisions the next time you go to a cafe.
  • Plus, you’ll learn the names of various coffee drinks so that you can order coffee like a pro.
  • There’s also a short introduction to coffee brewing so you can try your hand at brewing.



Written by James Hoffmann in 2014, the World Atlas of Coffee will give you a strong introduction and foundation to coffee.

  • Almost like a Masterclass on Coffee

It takes you through the entire coffee chain from:

  • Arabica vs Robusta: a little about the coffee plant that bring us these energy boosting cups of coffee
  • regions where coffee is usually farmed and their characteristics
  • coffee processing and how it affects the final taste
  • coffee roasting processes and what to look out for when you buy coffee
  • how to brew coffee
  • and more

Hoffmann has provided well crafted images that aids in helping us understand various concepts as well.

But you should note that there are more facts than stories in this book, so it can get a little dry.

If you are serious about understanding the fundamentals of specialty coffee, this book should be a part of your collection.

Check out ‘The World Atlas of Coffee’ here with free shipping.

  • A bit about the Author

James Hoffman writes at jimseven.com, runs Square Miles Coffee Roasters and was the World Barista Champion in 2007.

He is one of the forerunners in the specialty coffee scene and has also put together a recommended coffee reading list.

If you want to dive deeper into the world of specialty coffee, refer to James’ reading list for starters.

Here’s an interview with James Hoffman by Schmick Coffee TV Singapore:


The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

Why did this book made it into the list?

  • It’s like a toned down version of the World Atlas of Coffee, with an emphasis on coffee brewing.
  • Perfect for the coffee lover who wants to start brewing coffee at home
  • Has interesting elements like the story of Blue Bottle’s growth.



The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is another great book for coffee lovers like you who want to learn about the specialty coffee.

While the World Atlas of Coffee focuses on the coffee chain, the Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee focuses more on various specialty coffee brewing methods.

Also, it was probably written to build the Blue Bottle brand, so expect some stories about the company and how they grew over the years.

  • Recipes

The book also includes recipes at the end.

You’ll find food and pastry recipes that pair well with coffee as well as creative drink recipes involving espresso or coffee.

  • Coffee Brewing Methods

If you want to start brewing coffee at home, this book will be a good guide for you too.

Alternatively, you can find some useful videos on Blue Bottle’s website, or refer to our coffee brewing guides.

Check out ‘The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee’ here with free shipping.


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