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

Uncommon Grounds The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in Abyssinia to its role in intrigue in the American colonies to its rise as a national consumer product in the twentieth centur

  • Title: Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
  • Author: Mark Pendergrast
  • ISBN: 9780465054671
  • Page: 290
  • Format: Paperback
  • Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in Abyssinia to its role in intrigue in the American colonies to its rise as a national consumer product in the twentieth century and its rediscovery with the advent of Starbucks at the end of the century A panoramic epic, Uncommon Grounds uses coffee production, trade, and consumption as a window thrUncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in Abyssinia to its role in intrigue in the American colonies to its rise as a national consumer product in the twentieth century and its rediscovery with the advent of Starbucks at the end of the century A panoramic epic, Uncommon Grounds uses coffee production, trade, and consumption as a window through which to view broad historical themes the clash and blending of cultures, the rise of marketing and the national brand, assembly line mass production, and urbanization Coffeehouses have provided places to plan revolutions, write poetry, do business, and meet friends The coffee industry has dominated and molded the economy, politics, and social structure of entire countries.Mark Pendergrast introduces the reader to an eccentric cast of characters, all of them with a passion for the golden bean Uncommon Grounds is nothing less than a coffee flavored history of the world.

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      Published :2019-08-07T22:50:20+00:00

    About "Mark Pendergrast"

    1. Mark Pendergrast

      Mark Pendergrast was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the fourth of seven children in a family that valued civil rights, the environment, sailing, reading, and games of chase and charades He earned a B.A in English literature from Harvard, taught high school and elementary school, then went back to Simmons College for a masters in library science and worked as an academic librarian all the while writing freelance articles for newspapers and magazines In 1991, he began writing books full time, which allows him to follow his rather eclectic interests.Pendergrast s books have been published in 15 languages For God, Country Coca Cola was named a notable book of the year by the New York Times, and Discover Magazine chose Mirror Mirror as one of the top science books of the year Pendergrast has given speeches to professional groups, business associations, and college audiences in the United States, Canada, the U.K and Germany He has appeared on dozens of television shows, including the Today Show, CBS This Morning, and CNN, and has been interviewed on over 100 radio programs, including All Things Considered, Marketplace, Morning Edition, and many other public radio shows He lives in Colchester, Vermont.

    642 thoughts on “Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World”

    1. THE GOOD: Detailed accounts of the competitive marketing tactics used by coffee companies in America throughout the past hundred plus years, as well as the history of the bean as it influenced coffee producing countries and their export relationships with the United StatesE BAD: Writing with a journalistic and not objective historical tone which means the text is replete with the authors anachronistic judgments on everything from what advertisements were sexist to what coffee blends and methods [...]


    2. Years ago, I'd read a book called The Devil's Cup by Stewart Lee Allen, which functioned as a combination travelogue/history of coffee throughout the world, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The author traveled throughout Africa and the Middle East meeting unsavory characters and having memorable misadventures (at one point finding himself an art smuggler) while retracing the path coffee took from Eastern Africa through Yemen and the Ottoman Empire through Europe and into the New World.I'd worried when [...]


    3. I have to give the author credit; it can't have been easy to make coffee soporific. But that's just what Mark Pendergrast has done with Uncommon Grounds!"Coffee provides one fascinating thread, stitching together the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, medicine, and business, and offering a way to follow the interactions that have formed a global economy," he states in the concluding chapter. I totally agree; I think that that would have been a fascinating book. But that [...]


    4. I'm giving this book only 2 stars due to poor writing and even worse editing. It seems as if after the first 175 pages the editors (feeling the same as I did) got bored reading the manuscript and just sent it to the printers out of exhaustion. This is most evident when you get to the last 50 pages, when we finally learn the most basic facts about the thing we had been reading about for such a painfully long time: coffee's chemical composition, and the scientific facts about caffeine's affect on [...]



    5. Uncommon Grounds is exactly what I was looking for. I had finished a similar commodity book (Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky) and was blown away. I was hoping for the same experience and am happy to say that I found something similar. The author goes into quite a lot of detail about the origin, trade, branding and questionable medicinal qualities of coffee in a relatively entertaining fashion. It gets a little bogged down at times but overall, Pendergrast succinctly digests coffee's hist [...]


    6. If you want an in depth, detailed look at the history of coffee, this is a great book to pick up. From its discovery in Africa, to how it became the second largest export in the world (with oil being the first); from plantation to cup, and everything in between, this book covers it all. It even describes the evolution of brewing techniques and instant coffees, weaving the history of coffee in with the history of world. I work in the coffee industry as mostly a barista. I picked up this book in t [...]


    7. More accurate title of this book could be USA Imperialistic Arrogance Told Over a Cup of Coffee. The "world" according to Pendergrast, stops where the US borders ends. This is a serious flaw for a book with such a pretentious title. More than 2/3 of the planet is blatantly ignored, and even giant countries such as Canada and Russia (or SSSR) are referenced in two sentiences each respectfully. The author gives a good overview of the aggressive and in most cases, highly morally doubtful US busines [...]


    8. This book deserves 3.5 stars- just can't rate it that way. After being in the airport in Addis Abba Ethiopia and seeing a woman sell the best tasting cup of coffee ever drank, and knowing that coffee began in the area, this book recommended by NPR became a MUST read. It's got the beginnings, the spread of coffee around the world, the change in the US from bulk selling to packaged sales. One finds out about how the various companies grew from entrepreneurs to coffee barons and then morphed into t [...]


    9. I rarely rated a book less than three stars but I made an exception for this book. The title, 'Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed our World', is totally misleading, not to say deceiving. It is better phrased as 'A History of Cheap Brands of Coffee in the United States of America'. I read this book with the expectation that coffee, as a healthily addictive drink, can unite people of different nationalities with its unique culture. What Mark Pendergrast wrote instead wa [...]


    10. I confess that I tried; I tried to sit ddown and read the history of coffee, and it was just too much. Too much history, and too much information to absorb. It's a wonderful book, but overwhelming.


    11. From the start of coffee up through the turn of the millennium, this book covers coffee broadly, mainly from an American (North, Central and South) perspective.It goes into a lot of the economic history of coffee, how people in the US drank and prepared coffee (mostly terribly, until recently) and the economic impact on Central and South America. Overall, a great book but a smidge dry here and there. There's a lot to learn in here, and a lot of fun bits of trivia. I read an older edition loaned [...]


    12. This is actually a really good book for the genre- I'm never sure if the stars are supposed to correlate to my internal satisfaction level entirely, or if some space is to be made for differences in genre. In any case, this book is a history of the advertising and economics of coffee and goes a long way to explaining the relative poverty of South America's coffee producing countries. It's also a fairly snobby history of how a cuppa joe's been brewed in this country since its inception- snobby in [...]


    13. Baca sebab nak buat artikel. Banyak maklumat baru, info tentang pemerdagangan komoditi dan lain-lain info yang dilupakan sejurus selepas menutup buku. Yang menarik tentang buku ni ialah sejarah asal dan penyebaran kopi ke seluruh dunia, dan yang lagi menarik betapa biji kopi ni dah banyak menghasilkan catatan-catatan yang hebat dalam sejarah. Secara langsung atau tidak.


    14. Very interesting history of coffee with a good awareness of the social inequality of the coffee economy. I wasn't very impressed with the short "how to brew the perfect cup of coffee" section at the end, and the wasn't much info on brewing in general. But as a history book it was a great read.


    15. Buen libro sobre la historia del cafe, lo unico criticable es que habla mucho sobre el tema de la publicidad y de los comercializadores del cafe en EEUU



    16. An excellent and exhaustive commodity history, with a sharp focus on the business aspect of everyone's favorite drink, especially from the nineteenth century forward.


    17. An interesting and very thorough history of coffee. For those who are looking for a very detailed account of the history of coffee this book is definitely for you. After reading this book is certainly feels like I know everything that has happened that affects the price of coffee. I am a little undecided as to if this is something I actually set out to know. However, that is what this book is, a history of coffee and to that regard it does not disappoint. What this is not, is a book about coffee [...]


    18. I chose this as the text for my first several semesters of teaching about coffee. I eventually decided that it included more information than I could fully cover in the courses as I was presenting them, but I continue to recommend this book as an important source for coffee research. Pendergrast is meticulous in his scholarship -- correcting one common coffee myth in the second edition -- and provides rich detail of many of the places, people, and companies that have been involved in coffee over [...]


    19. While certainly interesting—and someone who loves coffee and history, combining the two was at times fascinating—the writing was certainly not a strength. Well-researched, I would not say it was well-written, and it was largely for that reason that it took me nearly a year to finish in stops and starts. (And then nearly that long again to get around to this reviewoy. Of course, there are plenty of other reviews I'm just as delinquent in posting)


    20. Good background material for a fun and informative study group called "Coffee and Scones" (need I say more?). There was a lot more than I ever cared to know about the history of coffee in this book, but it was an interesting and well-informed group.


    21. I heard this reviewed on the radio a bunch of years back and decided to read it. The book was a lot thicker than I expected, but a page-turner, actually. I won't spoil the story, but I saw potential for a couple movies in what went on during coffee's history.


    22. Too US-centered. Too focused on coffee advertisement and M&A activity. Does not flow well. Took quite some willpower to finish it.




    23. Man this book was more interesting than I anticipated! The history of coffee as a commodity wasn't particularly gripping but I found the social and cultural aspects of coffee crazy interesting. Also it is difficult to get your head around the wild and often bloody ride that a pound of beans takes to get to your pantry. In no particular order here are some interesting tidbits:* Switching people's after-work drinks from a depressant (pubs) to a stimulant (coffeehouses) caused people to stop singin [...]


    24. An interesting book, but not at all what I was expecting. A better title might be The History of Coffee in America: a Case Study in Capitalism. Where I was looking for something like Salt: A World History, which looks at the big picture and really connects how a simple commodity both influences and is influenced by major events, Pendergrast delivers what is essentially a fine-grain description of the nuts and bolts of coffee importing, roasting, and advertising in the USA from 1850-2000. About h [...]


    25. I found this book interesting and informative. As a coffee shop owner, I thought I should get some information about coffee in history. Many questions arose when I started reading this book such as how coffee has become so important in our everyday lives, and what direction coffee may be going towards in the future. Pendergrast does a great job in discussing all these topics and more.I knew that there were a few global companies involved with coffee production worldwide but I was astonished by t [...]


    26. This was the first book I read in regards to the craft that I am taking up. It was good. I enjoyed a lot of it. I also flipped through a lot of it. The information was very thorough and I believe it to be well researched. I will say that some of the information presented carries a tone of guilt for the privileged. I will admit that it is difficult not to pull this information up without getting sucked into the pity of the third world. I loved all of the information about the coffee houses and cu [...]


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