On Thursday, 25th January, something very special happened, both for the Coffee Spot and for me personally. That was the day that my book, The Philosophy of Coffee, which the British Library is publishing on next year. It has been a long time coming, almost exactly two years since Daniel of Cups of London Coffee had put my name forward to the British Library as a potential author.
So, what’s The Philosophy of Coffee all about? Well, to quote from the book itself, it’s a “short, entertaining and illuminating introduction to the history and culture of coffee, from the humble origins of the bean in northeast Africa over a millennium ago, to what it is today, a global phenomenon that is enjoyed around the world.”
It’s not a big book, just over 15,000 words, with 15 beautiful illustrations sourced from the British Library collection. It’s also, according to the blurb, “the perfect gift for coffee lovers”, so now that it’s out you should definitely buy a copy. Or two.
You can find out more about the book after the gallery.
If you want to know how I came to write The Philosophy of Coffee and why I took so long, I wrote a whole post about it before Christmas, so I won’t go over old ground. The book came out on Thursday, although there had been a few review copies out in the wild before then. Although it’s early days, the reception (so far, at least, has been very good). You don’t have to take my word for it either:
one two three plenty of reviews have been published already, and not just by fellow bloggers:
- Bean There At
- Scotland Coffee Lovers
- Cafe Spaces
- London Lamppost
- London’s Best Coffee
- Double Skinny Macchiato
- The Spectator
- Commodities Connoisseur
- Wine Alchemy
- Coffee Ken
- Brewing Coffee Manually
- On Yorkshire Magazine
- James’ Coffee Blog
If you prefer your reviews in video format, here’s some kind words from:
Finally, how’s this for a one-line review: “like a good espresso, short, sharp and with a great depth of flavour”? That’s from David Hughes over on Twitter.
I also wrote the following article about the culture of coffee, which draws heavily on the book and was published in the Sunday Herald:
The Philosophy of Coffee is available on-line from the British Library or you can pick up a copy from the British Library shop on the Euston Road (and while you’re there, you can pop into the on-site coffee shop run by Origin, or visit Origin’s branch on Euston Road, which is right outside the British Library, and read a chapter or two (other, excellent coffee shops are also nearby).
If you’re not in London your local bookshop or library (if they don’t have it, you can always ask them to get it in). For example, The Philosophy of Coffee is now available from Waterstones, both in-store and on-line. Alternatively, if you don’t want a physical copy, The Philosophy of Coffee is now available as an eBook..
For my friends in Australia, the good news is that Booktopia is now stocking The Philosophy of Coffee. If you are a non-UK stockist and you want a mention, just let me know.
The final option is to order a copy directly from me, which, as an added incentive, I will happily sign (unless you ask me not to). However, be aware that while I always dispatch orders as soon as I can, I am often away on long trips for work (although thanks to COVID-19, I’m not likely to be going anywhere any time soon) so there will sometimes be very long delays before I can dispatch orders.
Finally, I’m very happy to sign copies if you track me down in person, regardless of where you bought it from, so feel free to track me down at some point during the year (but don’t forget to bring the book with you!).
That’s it for now. Many thanks to Rob Reeves, Bean There At, Double Skinny Macchiato, Dr Jennifer Ferreira and London Lamppost for use of their pictures in this post.
February 2018: The Philosophy of Coffee is now available across the UK in Waterstones and is also available as an eBook.
August 2018: Exciting news! After just seven months, The Philosophy of Coffee has done so well that the British Library is reprinting it!
September 2018: Excellent news! The Philosophy of Coffee is launched in America, where it’s being distributed by Trafalgar Square Publishing. It is available on Amazon and through all good bookshops.
October 2018: For any of my new Japanese followers/readers, The Philosophy of Coffee is available in Japan on Amazon.
June 2022: The Philosophy of Coffee has a new cover. The design is the same, but instead of the pale blue colour scheme, it now sports a rather striking deep green.
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I spotted a copy of The Philosophy of Coffee in Waterstone’s.
You could add Lincoln to your itinerary, combine with a visit to the coffee shops.
Lincoln Coffee Festival kicks off Wednesday 14 March at Coffee Aroma. Afternoon of conversation with Stephen Leighton, book signing of Coffeeography.
Pre-launch event AeroPress Competition Madame Waffle, evening Tuesday 27 February.
Theme of the Festival, follow the bean. Follow the bean from farm to cup.
The Philosophy of Coffee would appear to fit in with the theme of the Festival.
I dare say a venue can be found should you be interested.
Suggestion an afternoon of conversation, how the book came to be written, the research, what ypu look for in a coffee shop.
By train, from King’s Cross. No direct train change at Newark. Lincoln Central Station is in the centre of town.
Godalming will have a coffee festival in the summer. I know who, where, but do not know when, as not yet finalised.
Thanks for the heads-up. Unfortunately, I will be in Phoenix in March, otherwise I would have loved to have attended.
Lincon Coffee Festival is organised by Lincoln Coffee Collective.
It starts with conversation with Stephen Leighton.
An antidote to commercial coffee festival. Held over several days, hosted by indie coffee shops
If you wish, it may be possible to host you as a post-festival event.
Waterstone’s Lincoln wish to host book event.
It may be hosted in coffee shop or bookshop.
Do you have any contact details for them and I’ll drop them a line?
There are two Waterstone’s In Lincoln, one in the Cornhill, the other the High Street.
You require the one in the High Street.
I think this is correct contact details
tel 01522 540011
If not, explain you want the High Street branch.
Their events organiser is away for a week, therefore ask for the manager.
If visiting Lincoln, I can supply a list of coffee shops worth visiting.
The manager is away for a week, address to events organiser who should now be back.
If afternoon likely to be a coffee shop.
They will try, no promises, coffee that links to the book.
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Hi Brian. Just read your book. Loved it. Thanks for encapsulation of the coffee world. I am a Canadian living in Switzerland. If I ever make it over to jolly old England again, I’ll look you up. In the meantime, I’ll try to explore what the Swiss have to offer. Looking at your photos on the blog, you Brits sure love your foam designs in your cups of joe. Cheers! Andrew
That’s good to hear. Whereabouts in Switzerland are you? I hear that there is good coffee there if you know where to look!
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