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Coffee - Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate Paperback – 18 Feb 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (18 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444337122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444337129
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.1 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,079,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

This is not going to be an impulse buy or something to necessarily give to that special coffee–lover in your life, but if you take the time to examine the book with an open, curious mind it might be something that can keep you company with, of course, a good cup of something during a long journey.   (Yum.fi, 2012)

"A delightful book for philosophically minded coffee drinkers ... Philosophically minded coffee drinkers will find the contents of their cup enhanced by the contents of the book." (Network Review, 1 June 2011)

"And so, the book devotes itself to coffee and philosophy from varied perspectives, some seemingly frivolous, and others deeply analytical . . . I suspect that the book will appeal most to coffee devotees who enjoy lively conversation and see the world, as well as that black liquid in their cups, from a dialectical point of view." (Metapsychology, 9 August 2011)

"Grounds for Debate is a fantastic read–providing insights into the coffee culture that even a tea drinker can appreciate. The collection encourages readers to consider their relationship to larger social practices that have resounding effects on daily life." (Anthropology in Practice, 30 June 2011)

"This may possibly be the most unusual coffee book you will read. Instead of just the usual history of
it, this is the latest in a long series of titles written by philosophicalheavyweights, discussing subjects
from Christmas to cycling." (Boughton′s Coffee House magazine, 1 March 2011)

"In interesting, educational, and often funny selections, we learn facts both surprising (most coffee farmers and people living in coffee–growing regions have no idea why anyone would want to drink the stuff) and rudimentary. . . this is more sociology than philosophy, but a smattering of deep (enough) thoughts from the likes of Hume, Bourdieu, Kant, and others will keep true addicts––of both coffee and philosophy––stimulated". (Publishers Weekly, 18 April 2011)

"The book – a part of the Philosophy for Everyone series – takes on all sides of the debate, historical and contemporary, over coffee′s meritstates." (Jezebel, ,14 April 2011)

"The book will also stimulate those seeking to understand the aesthetics and ethics of coffee." (The Guardian, 14 April 2011)

"A varied compilation of musings on the beverage that has hooked countless people since its discovery in the 15th century by Ethiopian Sufi monks. The authors ... take on the history, taste and ethics of coffee in 18 essays likely to elicit much dialogue and debate. The book also includes engaging discussions of caffeine′s classification as a drug, the emergence of green coffee and the evolution of the coffehouse into a public forum. A blend of humor and thought–provoking content guaranteed to stimulate readers′ intellect." (Kirkus Reviews, March 2011)

"In this addition to an accessible and substantive series, 18 new essays, with coffee and coffee culture as their shared theme, relay the relationship between the coffee–related contemporary and everyday and the ideas and ideals on which the history of formal philosophy has been built. Recommended for coffee and philosophy aficionados. This entry in the series may well also be of interest for book discussion groups." (Library Journal, March 2011)

From the Back Cover

With more than 400 billion cups consumed worldwide every year, there is much to discuss philosophically about one of the world′s most popular drinks. Essays by journalists, philosophers, coffee insiders, and coffee aficionados offer a penetrating analysis of coffee and its surrounding culture. Featured writers include Mark Pendergrast, coffee expert Kenneth Davids, and the Coffee Bean Guys James Kirkland and Dan Levy. Plus an interview with Matt Lounsbury of Stumptown Coffee.

Enjoy the philosophical aroma as the book offers fascinating discussions on topics such as:

  • The ethics involved in coffee growth
  • Caffeine as performance–enhancing drug
  • The centrality of the coffeehouse to the public sphere
  • Just how good can a cup of coffee be?

Coffee – Philosophy for Everyone kick–starts the day with an entertaining but critical discussion of the ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and culture of the world of coffee.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As someone else pointed out this has a heavy American slant, but to be fair, so does the majority of high streets in the UK! I like my Starbucks, my Costas and (occasionally) my Neros, so this book held a lot of interest for me. Do you remember before the Coffee Culture hit us in the late 90s? A coffee was something you did while you were shopping. You popped into the Light Bite or the nearest greasy spoon for a quick instant before heading back out to hit the stores again. Life is different now, sometimes we go out especially for a Starbucks or a Costas!

It's not just a coffee now; there's Cappucinos, Lattes, Flat Whites, Moccas....and this book will help you understand how the coffee gets from the (poor) farmers into your white cup with a green logo on the side.

Interesting stuff.
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By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a slightly odd collection of introductory philosophical essays, probably pitched more or less at the A-level crowd, themed around drinking coffee. The writing is uniformly professional across the sixteen contributing authors, which speaks for the quality of the editing. The topics range from the existence of God to the superiority of one brand over another. All this is written from a philosophical rather than practical perspective. There are some decent end-notes at the end of each chapter, and, if it does nothing else, it will alert an enquiring reader (at least obliquely) to some of the main trends and writings in philosophy.

Although the book bills itself as a 'penetrating analysis of coffee and its surrounding culture', it really is nothing of the kind. Rather, it's a series of slightly laconic attempts to draw the reader into thinking about philosophy from the perspective of starting with coffee. Some of the essays stick to their starting point, others go everywhere else.

Perhaps it sounds like I didn't like this book. Actually, I did. It was fun and entertaining, and the authorial voices are enticing and compelling. But, like many undergraduate conversations, these essays seem to proceed in the absence of facts and research about their actual subject. You won't learn a great deal about coffee, its effects or methods of preparation by reading this, and many of the questions posited in these musings could be actually answered by a bit of primary research, or, failing that, a trawl through the internet.

Given that others in this series are
...Read more ›
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By Autamme_dot_com TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Put two or more people around a table with a cup of coffee (or something similar) in their hands and a debate can ensue, it can range from daily events to deep philosophical matters. But how often is coffee itself the subject of a deeper discussion?

Through this book coffee is the central theme from start to finish, presented through a series of thought-provoking essays and opinions that cover the entire gamut of coffee-related matters. The first essay is the curiously-named "Coffee: Black Puddle Water or Panacea?" and that sets the tone as one goes forward.

This is not an uncritical "rah! rah!" book for coffee. That would be too simple. Criticism and scrutiny looks at issues such as coffee trade ethics, the role of the coffee house in society, the aesthetics of coffee and the place of chains such as Starbucks. One may say, truthfully with a smile on the face, that to read this book you will need a strong cup of coffee or three. It is quite hard-going and written in a thought-provoking, analytical manner and it should not be confused with a general "world of coffee culture"-style book as that will lead to disappointment.

Like many books of this genre you will either "get it" or not. But maybe that is the point also as you have to listen to a possible counter-argument and even if you concede some points and accept some viewpoints your overall position might remain constant. Or not. It is not necessary to read from cover-to-cover as each essay is an entity in its own right. This is not going to be an impulse buy or something to necessarily give to that special coffee-lover in your life, but if you take the time to examine the book with an open, curious mind it might be something that can keep you company with, of course, a good cup of something during a long journey.

You might even find a few more points for discussion.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll say from the outset that I'm not a big coffee drinker. I do, however, appreciate the importance of the brew - culturally as well as physically/mentally - for many people, which is why I thought it would be interesting to read this collection of philosophical essays dealing with the history and culture surrounding the beverage.

The book is divided into 4 main sections and has a diverse group of authors mulling over the meaning and experience of coffee culture ranging from its history, why we choose to drink it in the manner we do, its role in everyday life and fair trade issues.

I made the mistake at first to start at the beginning and then just plough through which to be frank wasn't a great experience, but when I instead made a cup of coffee (with milk, so I'm a cheater...) and browsed through until I found interesting observations or debate points, it all started to make sense. There are a few recurring themes in the book - such as the coffee being a drink associated with work, hurry and loneliness (whereas tea is seen as more social and for time off). It didn't always use to be like this; coffee houses used to be social places whereas now people mainly go there to be alone to work, read a book, wait for somebody or otherwise and it is interesting why and how the culture around the brew has changed over the years and there are many good points made on this.

Well written and at times very interesting and entertaining, however, it does require some concentration and dedication to get into, but once you do, I'm sure you will reap the rewards

3.5 stars
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