This recently published coffee treatise pairs the insights of science-focused researchers with craft-focused coffee roasters, growers, economists and traders is the inspired and ambitious undertaking of Nestlé Nespresso.
The Craft and Science of Coffee, edited by Dr. Britta Folmer, coffee science manager at the Nespresso Headquaters in Lausanne, Switzerland is available here.
Nespresso draws on the broad expertise of 61 coffee experts and academics, certifiers, senior managers of non-government organizations (NGOs), and marketers representing 20 affiliations.
The editorial board includes Rainforest Alliance founder Chris Wille; Professor Adriana Farah at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Specialty Coffee Association of America director Peter Giuliano; sustainability expert Dean Sanders with Goodbrand, UK; and Imre Blank, PhD, a Nestlé Fellow at the Nestlé Research Center.
The resulting “expert discourse” of scientists and practitioners provides readers “a deeper appreciation of coffee’s complexity” at every stage of the value chain that will help readers “to form their own educated opinions on the ever-changing situation, including potential solutions to further shape the coffee future in a responsible manner.”
This is an “in-depth, rigorous, yet comprehensible expert book on coffee” writes Folmer. “By combining the research and insights of the scientific community and the expertise of the crafts people, this unique book brings readers into a sustained and inclusive conversation, one where academic and industrial thought leaders, coffee farmers, and baristas voice their view, each informing and enriching the other,” says Folmer.
The book is organized into 20 chapters that travel the length of the value-chain beginning with the coffee’s origins in East Africa. Farming in the Anthropocene explores the agility required of farmers seeking environmental sustainability in a rapidly changing climate. Economics suggest alternatives to ease volatility in pricing. Coffee transformation is described in great detail with molecular scientists and crafts people such as baristas and micro-roasters discussing the aroma and the mechanics of scent and the chemistry of roasting. An entire chapter is devoted to grinding and the physics of particles. There are chapters on cupping and grading, protecting flavors, and on the various methods of decaffeination. The book also explores sensory evaluation from the vantage of retail customers, the history of rituals and routines through the different coffee waves, and the social impact of coffee on human health and well-being.
Folmer observes that researchers are often deep experts on every specific topic. “The book will help to broaden their view beyond their own research field. Knowing expertise, challenges, and opportunities beyond their own research will help us to do better research,” she writes.
The book which is published by Elsevier is dedicated “to the millions of coffee farmers around the world without whom there would be no coffee” with royalties directed to a special fund supporting Nespresso’s AAA Farmer Future program. The program, initiated in collaboration with the Colombian Ministry of Labor, is the first retirement savings fund for farmers in Colombia. The program encourages the generational transfer of farms from parents to children “motivating young people to carry on coffee production.”