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Coffee Encounters

You local cafe may proudly list the provenance of the beans they grind for your morning cup of coffee. Many do. Some feature a coffee of the day, or the week. Others honour a single origin bean. It's all good.

In recent years coffee drinkers have become more savvy, more discerning, keener to learn about the origins of the beans and are beginning to think more about what they are sipping.

Now, a stunningly beautiful and deeply interesting book has been published that will take you to another level. Several of Australia's leading roasters have gone into print sharing their hard-won knowledge of the places and people behind the brews. The authors, Jonette George & Tyson Hunter, have spared nothing is scouring the world's coffee belt for interesting facts, figures and, most importantly, the faces of today's coffee industry.

So you will meet Australian coffee farmer, Dennis Howe, from Mareeba in far north Queensland whose family have grown everything from peanuts to bananas, tobacco and - of course - coffee on their property. In Brazil, you can listen to why Bruno Krohling and his family to pay their pickers a higher than average wage. In Panama, Jose Raul has risen from farm hand to manager; in Peru, where coffee arrived in the 1700s, there are now over 110,000 small farms.

And as if anyone would need further incentive to buy this book, here's one anyway. Smudge Piublishing, a boutique publishing house, has set up a charity called Picking up the Pieces, inspired by two small Guatemalan children, met during the preparation of Coffee Encounters. Their adoptive mother is a coffee picker on one of the farms and each day walks an hour to and from her very humble home to work, with the children, to earn an income. The fund has already raised $50,000 to go into the family's education, with further funds to assist with infrastructure at the family's home and community. 

It would be impossible to share more than a fraction of the inspirational tales in this fascinating book. Meet the growers, the roasters, and read about some of Australia's best cafes. It's almost certain that your next cup of coffee will never have tasted better. 

Coffee Encounters - adventures to origin, Jonette George & Tyson Hunter, Smudge Publishing, 2013. Hardcover, lavishly illustrated, rrp $69.99. ISBN 978 0987371232.


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