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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Cool coffee fiction

Drinking a glorious cup of coffee, a Flat White, a Macchiato, a Verlängerter, a Cappuccino, an Espresso, a Café crème .... where did the coffee craze start? We have selected a couple of historical novels that just capture the essence of the bean, with a bit of chutzpah and some great writing.

Amsterdam in the 1600s. Lienzo, a Portugese Jew, stumbles across a new commodity - coffee - which, if he plays his cards right, will make him the richest man in Holland. But others stand in his way - rival traders who do all in their power to confuse the exchange and scupper his plans, his brother who is jealous of his financial wizardry and even his brother's beautiful wife who both tempts and spurns him in equal measure.

Ethiopia, 1895. Robert Wallis, would-be poet, bohemian and impoverished dandy, accepts a commission from coffee merchant Samuel Pinker to categorise the different tastes of coffee - and encounters Pinker's free-thinking daughters, Philomenia, Ada and Emily. As romance blossoms with Emily, Robert realises that the Muse and marriage may not be incompatible after all. Sent to Abyssinia to make his fortune in the coffee trade, he becomes obsessed with a negro slave girl, Fikre. He decides to use the money he has saved to buy her from her owner - a decision that will change not only his own life, but the lives of the three Pinker sisters .

Please do suggest any other coffee themed novels that you know of. We would love to be able to build up a collection of books with coffee at their heart - just let us know via the Comments Box.

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