Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup

Author(s): Jeff Koehler


Coffee is one of the largest and most valuable commodities in the world. This is the story of its origins, its history and the threat to its future, by the IACP Award-winning author of Darjeeling. Located between the Great Rift Valley and the Nile, the cloud forests in southwestern Ethiopia are the original home of Arabica, the most prevalent and superior of the two main species of coffee being cultivated today. Virtually unknown to European explorers, the Kafa region was essentially off-limits to foreigners well into the twentieth century, which allowed the world's original coffee culture to develop in virtual isolation in the forests where the Kafa people continue to forage for wild coffee berries. Deftly blending in the long, fascinating history of our favorite drink, award-winning author Jeff Koehler takes readers from these forest beginnings along the spectacular journey of its spread around the globe. With cafes on virtually every corner of every town in the world, coffee has never been so popular--nor tasted so good. Yet diseases and climate change are battering production in Latin America, where 85 percent of Arabica grows. As the industry tries to safeguard the species' future, breeders are returning to the original coffee forests, which are under threat and swiftly shrinking. "The forests around Kafa are not important just because they are the origin of a drink that means so much to so many," writes Koehler. "They are important because deep in their shady understory lies a key to saving the faltering coffee industry. They hold not just the past but also the future of coffee."


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Coffee is one of the largest and most valuable commodities in the world. This is the story of its origins, its history and the threat to its future, by the IACP Award-winning author of Darjeeling.

Tracing the origin of Coffea arabica is anything but straightforward, but Koehler confidently leads readers along that winding path, taking relevant detours to reveal the bean's rich history, dedicated stewards, rise to fame, and precarious future . . . Koehler closes his flavorful history on a hopeful note, ultimately transforming this seemingly pedestrian bean into something much more magical. * Booklist * It is not just about Darjeeling, though; and not even just about tea. It is also about the history of colonial and post-colonial India . . . As for the rest, it is a book teeming with characters and interest. Koehler, described as `writer, photographer, traveller and cook,' has the polymath's curiosity for everything, as well as the writer's ability to listen to and retell a good story . . . A richly digressive book. * The Guardian on DARJEELING * This exhaustively researched and eminently readable book will delight foodies, history buffs and armchair travelers alike. * The Seattle Times on DARJEELING * There is no leaf unturned in Barcelona-based food journalist Koehler's exposition on the growing of Darjeeling tea. * Kirkus Reviews on DARJEELING * The author's friendly writing style and obvious passion for the subject makes the book an entertaining read. * Library Journal on DARJEELING * When he writes about the tea itself . . . how the pickers skillfully pluck the leaves and toss them into a basket, how the tea smells as it's being dried, the daily taste tests at each estate--his prose is both sensory and balletic. * Chicago Tribune on DARJEELING *

Jeff Koehler is the author of Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World's Greatest Tea, winner of an International Association of Culinary Professionals Award and a Gourmand Award; Spain: Recipes and Traditions; Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes; and La Paella: Deliciously Authentic Rice Dishes from Spain's Mediterranean Coast. His work has appeared in Saveur, Food & Wine, NPR, the Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, among others. He lives in Barcelona.

General Fields

  • : 9781632865090
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing USA
  • : November 2017
  • : 235mm X 156mm
  • : United States
  • : December 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : en
  • : 338.1/7373
  • : 288
  • : 1 x 16 page colour insert with B&W illustrations throughout
  • : Jeff Koehler