Espresso : Ultimate Coffee by Kenneth Davids is the almost-ultimate coffee book for anybody who wants to know all about espresso. From the ground up, Davids explains the history, mythology, and technology of that glorious little shot of heaven: espresso.
I found Davids' writing style engaging and easy. I felt like I was reading a story instead of being educated. He shares his experience as well as his knowledge, and tosses in a dash of the lyrical now and then just to keep you interested. But it's not the kind of book you can sit down and plow through. I've had to take it in small chunks, using it as more of a reference book. And what a great reference book it is!
Not all the information in this book was new to me. But my explorations online have been jagged, uneven. This book smooths out all the rough edges in my knowledge and gives me the whole wallapalooza in 180 pages. All my questions about how different espresso machines work are answered here. I may actually be able to make a purchase now without fearing that I'm wasting my money. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good information online, but I found I had to wade through a lot of garbage to find the gold, and I was getting confused. This book was most helpful in clearing up those confused areas.
I would say it's the ultimate, but for one small complaint. If you've read any of my other book reviews you'll guess right away what it is.
No color pictures. NO COLOR PICTURES! And in a second edition, too. There are photos, but they're all in antique-style sepia tones. Cheaper to print no doubt, but very hard to get excited about. I wonder if Davids' understands the need to see gorgeous full color shots of ... heh ... shots. I can only hope that these books make enough in sales to warrant a third edition that will include at least a few full color make-you-drool photographs.