First published in 1999, Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia to the advent of Starbucks and the coffee crisis of the 21st century. Mark Pendergrast uses coffee production, trade, and consumption as a window through which to view broad historical themes: the clash and blending of cultures, slavery, the rise of brand marketing, global inequities, fair trade, revolutions, health scares, environmental issues, and the rediscovery of quality. As the scope of coffee culture continues to expand,Uncommon Grounds remains more than ever a brilliantly entertaining guide to one of the world's favorite drinks.
An exhaustive, admirably ambitious examination of coffee's global impact, from its roots in 15th-century Ethiopia to its critical role in shaping the nations of Central and Latin America....Should be read by anyone curious about what goes into their daily cup of Java --Kirkus Pendergrast's broad vision, meticulous research, and colloquial delivery combine aromatically. --Publishers Weekly Pendergrast's sprightly, yet thoroughly scholarly, history of America's favorite hot beverage packs the pleasurable punch of a double espresso. --Booklist Uncommon Grounds is not only a good read but a vital one. --Washington Monthly Pendergrast...has produced a splendid tale, setting out all one could hope to know about coffee. --Scientific American A focused and juicy history of our last legal and socially acceptable drug. --Wall Street Journal Pendergrast's account satisfies because of its thoroughness....Pendergrast unearths coffee-based trade wars, health reports, and cafe cultures, bringing to light amusing treasures along the way. --Mother Jones With wit and humor, Pendergrast has served up a rich blend of anecdote, character study, market analysis, and social history....Everything you ought to know about coffee is here, even how to make it. --New York Times Ask anyone in the coffee world and they will cite this book as a favorite...[I]t gives a comprehensive understanding to the history and complexities of your favorite drink. --The Kitchn