History of coffee and tea
January 10, 2016 6:45 PM   Subscribe

I have been a tea-favorer for many years. I have recently discovered that coffee is pretty good. I'm interested in reading some good histories on both plants/beverages. I am not averse to dry texts, so don't feel restricted to pop-ish books! Who has written the best history/histories on coffee and tea?
posted by curious nu to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Previously, at least on the tea side.
posted by janell at 7:04 PM on January 10, 2016

TEA: A History of Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire was enjoyable when I read it years ago.
posted by MoTLD at 7:36 PM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ralph Hattox's book Coffee and Coffeehouses is a very readable scholarly history of the role of coffee in Islam. Lots of fun stuff about sultans' attempts to regulate coffee, arguments about whether it is an intoxicant, etc.
posted by yarntheory at 8:26 PM on January 10, 2016

Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast is pretty good, but I found it to focus a lot more on the history of advertising in America as opposed to coffee. Still has lots of good info about the history of coffee though.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:51 PM on January 10, 2016

I really liked The True History of Tea by Victor H. Mair and Erling Hoh, it's very comprehensive and wide-ranging.
posted by Small Dollar at 9:04 PM on January 10, 2016

There's an In Our Time on tea...
posted by HoraceH at 9:35 PM on January 10, 2016

I haven't read Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World but read a review of it in London Review of Books that made me want to (note there is another book around with a similar title - this one only came out in 2015).

For coffee, I have read and recommend God in a Cup: The Obsessive Search for the Perfect Coffee. Not exactly history, but a very good coffee read.
posted by AnnaRat at 11:22 PM on January 10, 2016

The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo is a classic on the philosophy, culture, and history of tea in Asia. It's short, but it changed my thinking on tea, art, and possibly life in general.
posted by Atrahasis at 7:46 AM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Your search ends here.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2016

For tea, try The New Tea Companion, by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson. They also wrote A Social History of Tea.
posted by gudrun at 7:08 PM on January 11, 2016

« Older Black costume Spider-Man pajama pants   |   Seeking a comprehensive list of internet forum... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.