GROUNDED by Gregory  Alford


The Fundamentals of Brewing a Delicious Cup of Coffee
by illustrated by
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A debut book advises readers on how to make the best cup of coffee in their own homes.

Alford, the head trainer of baristas at Houndstooth Coffee in Austin, Texas, tells readers he tasted perfect coffee in 2011 and subsequently set out to learn how to make it. This book is his endeavor to teach home brewers how to make small batches of cafe-quality coffee. He states his thesis in the foreword: “Coffee is best served when it is understood to be changing.” This work by Alford and co-author Eggert explains the different factors in the development of taste in the coffee-brewing process simply and in accessible terms. In the list of tools and ingredients needed, the authors helpfully prioritize which ones are the most important, mindful of readers who may not be able to afford all of the finest parts at once; the quality of the brewing device and the water used are the highest priorities. The authors cover immersion and pour-over brewers, so this is truly a level above the standard coffeepot most people have at home. There are myriad kinds of brewing and grinding devices, and the authors discuss the pros and cons of each. And they supply many precise recipes with the timing of steps crucially mapped out. The last section of the manual offers a crash course in some advanced topics such as “extraction theory,” which is “a trajectory of aroma development in coffee as it is being roasted.” The authors’ passion for coffee is infectious and immediately evident, with their work opening with a quote about the serving of coffee as an intimate act. This attitude will surely serve to inspire readers that their efforts to make better coffee are worthwhile. The book is neatly laid out with tasteful, straightforward illustrations by Eggert, which should aid readers who need to refer back to the manual as they are practicing.

A clear, detailed, and elegant guide for serious coffee enthusiasts who want to step up their brewing games.

ISBN: 978-0-692-82914-1
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018


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