THE BOOK OF COFFEE & TEA: A Guide to the Appreciation of Fine Coffees, Teas and Herbal Beverages by Joel; David & Karl Schapira

THE BOOK OF COFFEE & TEA: A Guide to the Appreciation of Fine Coffees, Teas and Herbal Beverages

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

You might have mistakenly assumed that ambrosia was the drink of the gods. The Schapira Brothers incline towards coffee and their exuberance can only partly be attributed to the family's proprietorship of a Greenwich Village shop where fresh beans from Yemen and Colombia and Haiti are roasted daily. From the coffee houses of Constantinople and Damascus, the pungent aromatic beverage swept Europe in the 16th century despite papal imprecations and the resistance of wine-makers. The Schapiras suggest that wherever coffee spread its appearance ""was linked with an atmosphere of heightened spiritual and mental awareness""--the sort of thing that made King Charles II damn the coffee houses of Restoration London as subversive. The Schapiras lovingly explain the cultivation, harvesting and ""roasting technology"" with some pointers to connoisseurs on coffee pots whether drip or vacuum or electric percolator--the worst method and suitable only for the flat brown liquid consumed by the Maxwell Housewife. They also review the dissemination of tea to the West through the heroic commercial zeal of the British East India Company and there's a strong suggestion that Queen Victoria's Empire wouldn't have amounted to a hill of beans without it. In both instances there's an emphasis on ""the complexity, beauty of implements and decorum"" which ought to accompany the imbibing of Yerba Mate, Darjeeling, Formosa Oolong or Jamaican Blue Mountain, Mocha and Java--which may cost three or four dollars a pound but will certainly identify you as one of the chosen few.

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 1975
Publisher: St. Martin's