Where the Wild Coffee Grows Summary and Reviews

Where the Wild Coffee Grows

The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup

by Jeff Koehler

Where the Wild Coffee Grows by Jeff Koehler X
Where the Wild Coffee Grows by Jeff Koehler

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Book Summary

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 cafés 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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Both an informative work for general readers and a page-turning seminar for would-be writers of narrative nonfiction." - Kirkus

"Koehler then explains how coffee could completely disappear off the face of the Earth because of the perfect storm of the incurable coffee leaf rust fungus, rampant deforestation of the Ethopia cloud forests, and climate change. This is a wonderfully informative book about a bean on which many people rely." - Publishers Weekly

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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

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