Java Jive

The Coffee Trader: A Novel

By David Liss

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Who knew coffee was such a cutthroat business? Good reading for a rainy afternoon, cuppa joe in hand:

"Amsterdam, 1659: On the world’s first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city’s close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city’s most envied merchants, Miguel has suddenly lost everything. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living in his younger brother’s canal-flooded basement, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation. Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutchwoman who offers him one last chance at success—a daring plot to corner the market of an astonishing new commodity called 'coffee.' To succeed, Miguel must risk everything he values and face a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to see him ruined. Miguel will learn that among Amsterdam’s ruthless businessmen, betrayal lurks everywhere, and even friends hide secret agendas."

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The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee

By Stewart Lee Allen

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"Coffee as history's primary instrument and instigator. What is this elixir that fuels our destiny? Stewart Lee Allen's insatiable, unquenchable thirst for the answer carries him across forbidden borders and several continents as he pursues the precious and little-known catalytic effect of the ambrosial brew upon world empires and mankind. He also documents the unconscionable attempts to suppress coffee. With Paris one 'vast caf,' for instance, Napoleon banned coffee, but then was summarily overthrown and exiled. His last request: a cup of St. Helena's best. Likewise, Germany's long anti-coffee campaigns kept java from offering its solace to the lower classes. In 1930 German workers voted Adolf Hitler into power. In America the military tried for fifty years to produce an easily brewed cup for battlefield use, and did. The perfection of instant coffee triggered a 3,000 percent jump in consumption during World War I and stimulated the rise of the United States to world-class power."

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Uncommon Grounds: A Novel

By Sandra Balzo

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Patricia Harper is dead, killed by a hot-wired espresso machine, in Uncommon Grounds, her very own gourmet coffee store! Maggy Thorsen wants to know who killed one of her partners. Maggy needs the store to succeed. Starting over after her divorce, she's quit her PR job to open the coffee store. And if things aren't already tough enough, she begins to suspect one of her friends is responsible for Patricia's murder.

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

By Mark Pendergrast

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From its discovery in ancient Ethiopia to its role as a millennial elixir in the Age of Starbucks, coffee has dominated and molded the economies, politics, and social structures of entire countries. The second most valuable exported legal commodity on earth, it has sparked revolutions, romances, business deals, and friendships. Uncommon Grounds traces the journey of coffee from its origins on tropical mountainsides cultivated by poor laborers to the coffee bars of the United States, Europe, and Japan, where cosmopolitan consumers pay half a day's Third World wages for one good cup.

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