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The Coffee Book: 10/06/19
The Coffee Book by Gregory Dicum is a history of the drink, from its earliest days through industrialization and modern day consumption. At just over two hundred pages, it's a relative short history but some of that shortness is due to the small typeface and crowded layouts.
Looking at the text, it's relatively interesting. It begins with how coffee was first used and the race to cultivate it outside it's carefully controlled markets. There is a long section on the coffee plantations of old — vs the new giant ones. There are discussions of the two major types of coffee plant and the numerous ways of roasting coffee to give the different blends we find at our local coffee shops. The final section is about modern day coffee production and the big agro vs. the smaller sustainable farms and what both mean to the environment and world economy.
But it's the layout and book design where the reading experience falls apart. There is very little in the way of white space. There is a central column of text with a small type face. Each margin is cluttered with photographs and lengthy captions in an even smaller type face. If these side bars were given proper space in the body of the text, the book would probably be twice its length. Bring the type face up to a more comfortable reading size and the entire book would be more like six hundred pages.