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Coffee Books (all) - Ben Alpers's Review
Posted: February 19, 2002, 3:18pm
review rating: 7.0
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Coffee Books (all)
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Arrow Seattle Coffee Gear
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Arrow The Coffee Books (all) has 22 Reviews
Arrow The Coffee Books (all) has been rated 8.56 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Coffee Books (all) reviews have been viewed 117,498 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Carl S Lau 9.20
Carl S Lau 9.00
James Schulman 9.00
Carl S Lau 8.50
John Roche 8.40

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Product Reviewed: Home Coffee Roasting
Manufacturer: Ken Davids Quality: 9
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $15.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Borders Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 year Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: If you roast your own coffee, think you might want to, or even think you don't but are willing to have your mind changed, buy this book!
Positive Product Points

THE book (heck, the only book) devoted to home roasting coffee. Luckily, it's very good. Davids knows his stuff and it shows!

Negative Product Points

Although the book is only a few years old, it is already out of date, especially when it comes to the equipment that Davids does (and doesn't) describe.

Detailed Commentary

HOME COFFEE ROASTING: ROMANCE AND REVIVAL is the virtual bible of home coffee roasting.  It is an excellent and informative book. Ken Davids, a veteran of the Bay Area coffee scene and the author of a number of important coffee books, packs an enormous amount of knowledge into a small space.  In addition to careful descriptions of the home roasting process, Davids describes in detail differences between different roasts, coffee from different growing regions, the history of coffee roasting, and how to keep a coffee roasting log (among many other topics).  He even provides one of the best short guides to cupping coffee.  Davids is also a very good writer; the book is a pleasure to read throughout.

There are really only two problems with HOME COFFEE ROASTING.  First, Davids happened to write the most recent edition of this book (the 2nd edition) in 1996, just before the current generation of home roasting machines began to hit the market.  At the time, there were no home roasting machines available in the US and the Alpenroast was the only machine available in Europe.  The book is thus a generally excellent guide to roasting in a hot air popper, in the oven, or in a stove-top popcorn popper.  But it has become a poor guide to the available purpose-made home roasters.  It would be wonderful if Davids took the time to produce a third edition that would cover the now readily available roasting machines (though I suppose that that would soon be out of date as well).  The second problem involves Davids enthusiastic endorsement of dousing roasts with water from an atomizer to cool them.  This can be an excellent technique, but it's quite tricky and, if mishandled, can really ruin a batch of beans by soaking them in water.  I don't know anyone (other than Davids) who suggests that most folks do this.

Buying Experience

Borders is a big, faceless chain bookstore.  Buying books there is easy.  Thinking about what such places have done to the small, independent bookstore is the hard part (tho' as I live in Norman, OK, where there were no good bookstores before the arrival of Borders and B&N, I rest a bit easier).

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review rating: 7.0
Posted: February 19, 2002, 3:18pm
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