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Uncommon Grounds

The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World

Mark Pendergrast


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/9/2019)


The definitive history of the world's most popular drug.

Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia to the advent of Starbucks. Mark Pendergrast reviews the dramatic changes in coffee culture over the past decade, from the disastrous "Coffee Crisis" that caused global prices to plummet to the rise of the Fair Trade movement and the "third-wave" of quality-obsessed coffee connoisseurs. As the scope of coffee culture continues to expand, Uncommon Grounds remains more than ever a brilliantly entertaining guide to the currents of one of the world's favorite beverages.

Praise For Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World

"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

"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 café cultures, bringing to light amusing treasures along the way."—Mother Jones

"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

"Pendergrast...has produced a splendid tale, setting out all one could hope to know about coffee."—Scientific American

"Pendergrast's broad vision, meticulous research, and colloquial delivery combine aromatically."—Publishers Weekly

"Uncommon Grounds is not only a good read but a vital one."—Washington Monthly

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 sprightly, yet thoroughly scholarly, history of America's favorite hot beverage packs the pleasurable punch of a double espresso."—Booklist

Basic Books, 9780465018369, 480pp.

Publication Date: September 28, 2010

About the Author

Mark Pendergrast is an independent scholar who brews a fantastic cup of coffee. He is the author of many books, including For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Mirror Mirror, Inside the Outbreaks, and other books. He lives in Colchester, Vermont.