Can you handle mornings without a brew? No? Multiply that. Imagine an entire population under a cloud of lethargy, unable to kick start their days. Now introduce coffee. Bingo. The brain moves into over-drive and it’s time for empire building.
So goes Stewart Lee Allen’s crazy theory. Only thing is, after retracing coffee’s journey to world domination - by train, rickshaw, cargo freighter and donkey - he has plenty of evidence to back it up.
Stewart Lee Allen has filtered out the richest beans from coffee’s hot and frothy history … serving up a steamy, high-energy brew that will stimulate you more than a triple-strength espresso.
“this is lively, interesting stuff, laced with dry wit and canny observations.”
scotland On Sunday
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“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.”
“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.”
“I loved this informal bio of the humble cup of joe… Allen’s funky history provides the answer and sets the standard.”
Currently living in Brooklyn, Stewart Lee Allen has also called California, Kathmandu, Sydney, San Cristobel, Calcutta and San Francisco home. When not lounging about a café in a far-flung corner of the globe, he has worked as a grape-picker, theatrical director, bathroom attendant, grave-digger, punk musician, smuggler and, of course, a writer. He is the author of the award-winning fiction collection The Art of Rape as well as his acclaimed history of coffee, The Devil’s Cup.