The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
£8.34
  • RRP: £9.99
  • You Save: £1.65 (17%)
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History Paperback – 18 Jun 2001


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.34
£4.69 £0.01

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History + Black Gold: The Dark History of Coffee + God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
Price For All Three: £35.21

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (18 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841951439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841951430
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

this is lively, interesting stuff, laced with dry wit and canny observations. (Scotland on Sunday)

Stewart Lee Allen certainly delivers ... he cuts a caffeine-fuelled arc that runs from coffee's Ethiopian origins, through its Arabian distillation, across its European domestication, before terminating in a cross-country search for the worst cup of American coffee ... a funny book that takes some funny routes. (The Independent)

Two parts travelogue and history to one part caffeine-fuelled theory ... From the genteel cafes of Vienna to wired, late night email conversations on the internet, the book celebrates coffee's ability to sharpen the mind and give society a jolt. Not just mocha do about nothing. (The Face)

I loved this informal bio of the humble cup of joe... Allen's funky history provides the answer and sets the standard. (Sunday Herald)

From the Back Cover

'Two parts travelogue and history to one part caffeine-fuelled theory ... From the genteel cafes of Vienna to wired, late night email conversations on the internet, the book celebrates coffee's ability to sharpen the mind and give society a jolt. Not just mocha do about nothing.' The Face

Coffeepot give us peace / coffeepot let children grow / let our wealth swell / please protect us from evils / give us rain and grass Ethiopian Prayer

Magic cup / carry me above the traffic jam. Keep me civil in the subway / And forgive my employer, as you forgive me. Amen A Western Prayer

Stewart Lee Allen makes the very convincing argument that civilisation is largely based on coffee drinking (or chewing). Until the art of coffee guzzling arrived in the great cities, the only way to quench a thirst was to drink ale, which is hardly the best method for keeping rational, and beery philosophy is rarely watertight in the sober light of day, whereas caffeinated, over analytical thought, makes serious progress.

Allen traces the development of world wide coffee consumption by travelling to all the places of historical significance, for this particular subject. Starting in Ethiopia, continuing through Northern Africa, over to Asia, becoming involved in art smuggling and illegal passport wrangling, and off to Europe. There he covers revolutions and enlightenment. And then finally to America, in search for the most soulful coffee he can find.

Repeatedly likened to a caffeing fuelled Gonzo, this story is both incredibly funny as well as thoroughly educational.

Stewart Lee Allen was born in California, and has lived in Kathmandu, Sydney, Brooklyn and Calcutta. A widely published journalist he is also the author of an acclaimed collection of stories, The Art of Rape.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Cunningham on 24 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
This books falls badly between two stools. As a history of coffee's spread through the world and its effects on society it offers little more than a few potted histories. As a road trip memoir it also offers little beyond the author's clumsy attempts to smuggle forged art out of India and his wanderings round East Africa.

The final section, where the author and his companion attempt a road trip across America is the final insult to the reader. We learn little from this except not to mix ephedrine and caffeine. Finally, the book's conclusion is abrupt and feels as though the author had simply run out of ideas.

If you want to learn about the history of coffee you will learn more from Wikipedia. If you want a road trip memoir then Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is still to be bettered.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Oct 2000
Format: Hardcover
Take 500 years of history, thousands of miles worth of precarious travelling, a bundle of religious fanatics, a gaggle of politics, a spoonful of war and some cake, mix it all up with some strange berries and an obsessive american in an enormous cup-shaped er...big cup and what you get is: The Devil's Cup by Stewart Lee Allen.
It's a bit of a novel, a bit of a travel book and a bit of a history book. Wrapped in a beautifully simple dust jacket, protecting a cunningly simple embossed hard cover. It's a pungent read and will even look good on your...er...whatsit table.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "ruthmaxey" on 14 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
A great read, particularly in its sections on Africa (the place about which Stewart Lee Allen is most respectful and passionate) and its pivotal role in the history of coffee. Allen is entertaining, adventurous, fun-loving, and never takes himself too seriously. Although I disagree with his claim that a certain global coffee chain serves good coffee and although some sections work better than others - Allen seems to be running out of steam towards the end, as though his mission has exhausted even him - and although the editing of the text could be better at times... these are essentially small niggles in what is a five-star read. I learned a lot from this book, which made me want to drink even more coffee than I do already, and I would entirely agree with the chef and writer Anthony Bourdain that reading it is a "riveting" experience. Would make a lovely present for anyone who loves coffee.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Mar 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mr Lee Allen's "The Devil's Cup" is as satisfying as the brew it celebrates. At once both intoxicating with heady drama and hi-jinx in pursuit of the holy grail of the 'mugga joe' and stimulating with a fascinating account of coffee's journey from Ethiopia to Adrien, Texas. Lee Allen's crusade (and I mean this in the religious sense) is testament to coffee's significance across cultures, time zones and history. From its use as a stimulant of spiritual fervour to its role in enlightening modern thought and philosophy , Lee Allen ensures that the next espresso to infiltrate my blood-brain barrier will be infused the meaning of its significance since time god knows when.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Milena T. Zlatarova on 31 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
If you love coffee, then you will be interested in reading this funny, informative,entertaining book.
Stewart Lee Allen considers coffee to have played an essential part in human civilisation and progress.He calls it "Driving force" for human history.It may seem exagerated but he doesn`t merely stays by words. He takes a world journey to show how coffee has appeared in various societies and what was its impact on people. He will take you from Ethiopia through India,Turkey,England, France and finally, back to his home in Oklahoma, US.
The book is full with interesting information about coffee, its roasting and making, about rituals for drinking it, and at the same time it will amuse you with a lot of travel stories, misunderstandings and gaffs, unevitable in communication between different cultures.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
I had never heard of this book before and as I was looking for something to read, my girlfriend suggested to read this "coffee book", which she had received as a present at some point. From just glancing at it, it did not seem very interesting - history of coffee?! Does not seem like a very exciting topic. But I decided to take the risk of wasting a few hours. After the first chapter, I was hooked! The author has an amazing skill of jumping from story to story smoothly and throwing in interesting historical to boot. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something interesting and different to read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Feedback