An upcoming Coffee Book Book Club meeting at the Helmerich Library got me thinking about one of my favorite things.
I‘ve mentioned before how much I enjoy getting the upcoming month’s lengthy list of events at the Tulsa City-County Libraries. There’s always something unexpected on the list that makes me grin. For April, it was “Coffee Chat and Books,” an Adult Book Club at the Helmerich Library, meeting on April 25 at 12:15 p.m.
The event description is: “We will explore the world of coffee, in both fiction and nonfiction contemporary selections. Light snacks are provided. Sponsored by the Friends of the Helmerich Library.” As The Pigeon might say:
(Picture by Mo Willems, from “The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?”)
During my years as a barista, I fell in love with coffee and read several books about coffee, which morphed into reading books about chocolate and then food in general. “The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars” by Joel Glenn Brenner and “The Chocolate Connoisseur” by Chloe Doutre-Roussel are a couple of favorites if you’re more interested in chocolate. My husband and I roast our own coffee at home (which, after the initial investment in a decent roaster, can save a lot of money!!), so you can understand why I got so excited when I learned about an entire book club dedicated to reading about coffee.
Shameless plug: you can follow us on Instagram @sharetheroast!
I asked Darla L’Allier, the librarian facilitating this book club (and whose coffee shops of choice are Doubleshot and Nordaggios), for more information. She said the book club will be meeting in April and May (May 30, 12 p.m. at the Helmerich Library), then taking a break until fall. Books up for discussion at the April 25 event include “Coffee, A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage and the Industry,” “Coffee Love: 50 Ways to Drink Your Java,” “Coffee Talk: The Stimulating Story of the World’s Most Popular Brew,” “Dead Cold Brew,” “Dead to the Last Drop,” “Happy People Read & Drink Coffee,” “Coffee Trader,” “Let it Rain Coffee,” “The Coffee Lover’s Diet: Change Your Coffee, Change Your Life,” and “A Cup of Friendship.” L’Allier says that she is currently reading “Coffee Gives Me Superpowers,” which among other things has an interesting section on the effects of caffeine on honeybee productivity!
For you mystery lovers, “Dead Cold Brew” and “Dead to the Last Drop” are part of “The Coffeehouse Mysteries” series by Cleo Coyle and have good reviews on Amazon. The first sentence of the description of “Dead to the Last Drop” reads “When the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on a Rose Garden Wedding, she uncovers long-simmering secrets that threaten to boil over…” I can’t wait to get my coffee-mug-holding hands on this series!
As a professed Coffee Book Reader, I have to admit that I have not read ANY of these books…so. That’s embarassing. But if you’re interested, books I have read and enjoyed include “God in a Cup,” (although now that it’s a decade old, I feel like some of the information about specialty roasters may be a little out of date) “The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee” and the Kenneth Davids books on Coffee, Roasting and Espresso. The one fiction book I’ve read about a coffee shop (well, it’s more about a bakery…) is “Sunshine” by Robin McKinley, which is also about vampires. But it brings back memories of waking up at 5 a.m. (ok, more like 5:45 a.m.) to be at work by 6.
Incredibly, I’m not the only person in my family with an interest in coffee history. Thanks to my Nana, I now have an entire collection of books about coffee, tea and chocolate, from her years as a docent and lecturer on the subjects. Her primary interest is pottery and porcelain, and the study of teapots and tea service led her to also study the tea, coffee and chocolate trades, and I’d say she is certainly an expert! It’s a fun and unexpected thing to share with someone, especially when we arrived at our interests in such different ways!
I appreciate you letting me have this brief ramble about coffee and coffee books, and I will now share our go-to method of brewing coffee at home:
Perfect French Press
- French Press, 34 oz. (we use a good ol’ basic Bodum)
- Fresh-roasted Coffee, 50 g (After many years, our wonderful OXO scale, a gift from my father, wore out, so Daniel replaced it with this Dymo postage scale.)
- Coffee Grinder (OK, we kind of splurged and gave ourselves a Baratza Virtuoso grinder for Christmas. It grinds really fine, meaning we can use it for espresso, as well as very coarse and should last a long time.)
- Electric Kettle (we use a Breville Variable Temperature Kettle that is on the pricey side but lets you choose which temperature to heat the water to. We use the “Oolong” setting rather than the “French Press” setting, as we feel like the French Press setting is too hot.)
- Heat water to no more than 200 degrees F.
- Coarsely grind coffee and place in bottom of clean French press.
- Pour water over coffee and fill French press. Leave uncovered. Wait four minutes.
- After four minutes, push the plunger down to the bottom. (If there’s a lot of resistance, your coffee is probably ground too fine.)
Another great way to enjoy coffee during the summer is to make a batch of cold brew. This base of concentrated coffee can be used to make iced lattes, served over ice cream (I bought a cardamom-flavored ice cream at Reasor’s a couple summers ago, and that was Fantastic!), or mixed with water + ice. Find Minimalist Baker’s tutorial (plus a recipe for a Cold Brew Mocha Frappe) here.