Read This: Candace Rose Rardon on Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know…

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Apr 07, 2021 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

This spring, Quirk Books published a book on my very favorite thing, by my very favorite writer. So imagine my happiness when I read Candace Rose Rardon's new book, Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know. Whether you're a coffee aficionado, or new to the game, this book is quite useful. It's packed with knowledge, history, and coffee goodness of all kinds. The small but mighty guide includes sections on coffee basics, brewing methods, coffee traditions across the world, serving coffee, and resources. Highly, highly recommended!

You've seen stories here about Candace's work, from her behind the scenes interview on her previous book, Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know, to an excerpt from that guide, on Tea Tasting 101, to our artist spotlight on her gorgeous art. She's also a convert to our favorite roast (light roast FTW!), as you'll soon find out...see why we love her so? 

Read This: Candace Rose Rardon on Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know…

Without further ado, the backstory of this awesome book:

Read This: Candace Rose Rardon on Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know…

1. Please tell us about your new book, Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know…
I love thinking of my new book as small but mighty — it’s only just bigger than my iPhone, and yet we really tried to pack as much coffee how-to and history as possible onto its little pages! And just like with Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know, I especially loved writing about dozens of coffee traditions from across the world. 

I also really wrote this book for someone like myself. I love coffee and wouldn’t dream of starting my day without it, but there are also many ways I’ve now enjoyed elevating my coffee game — from expanding my knowledge of growing regions to grinding beans right before I brew. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Read This: Candace Rose Rardon on Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know…

2. What is *your* coffee story? I noticed your book dedication to yourfather, and growing up with coffee…
In a way, coffee has always been a part of my life, exactly for the reason you mentioned: my father Rob. When I was growing up, I loved watching him make coffee on weekend mornings, because it involved so many little rituals — filling the drip coffee maker with water, spooning coffee grounds into the filter, and then waiting for the coffee to brew. 

But even though I loved the aroma of my dad’s brewed coffee, it would be many years before I came to enjoy the taste of coffee myself! That really happened once I started traveling — especially thanks to the time I spent in New Zealand, and the delectable creamy mochas I savored and sipped in cafes across the country.

3. One of the things I loved most about this book was the history! What were the joys and challenges of doing all this amazing research?
Well I can tell you right away that the biggest challenge was simply deciding what research to include and what to leave out. Being pocket-sized means the book definitely has a cozy feel to it, but I also had to get a little creative in how to make it all fit. 

A great example of this is the fascinating history behind how coffee first arrived in the Americas and how it then spread across the continent. There was the story about how a French naval officer smuggled a coffee plant out of Louis XV’s royal gardens in Paris and carried it to Martinique; a legend about how a Brazilian officer allegedly seduced the wife of the governor of French Guiana, who then secretly gave him a few cuttings of a coffee plant to sneak back into Brazil; and the Jesuit missionaries in 16th-century Colombia, who began telling farmers to plant coffee trees as their penance, which helped the coffee trade take off there.

How could I not include all these captivating tales? Especially when there was so much secrecy and intrigue involved! I was determined to include as many stories as possible, so I made room everywhere I could — from the chapter on “Highlights from Coffee History” to my favorite section on coffee traditions from across the world. 

4. What might people be surprised to learn, about coffee?
I myself was really surprised to learn how dynamic coffee is, and how the ways we brew coffee are still evolving to this day — because this was pretty opposite to what I learned while writing Stuff Every Tea Lover Should Know. My journey as a tea lover was all about discovering ancient traditions. Whether you’re preparing tea in a gaiwan or clay teapot, the most esteemed brewing methods really haven’t changed for hundreds of years. 

Coffee couldn’t be more different. The first paper coffee filter was only invented at the turn of the 20th century by a German housewife named Melitta Bentz (and the global brand of Melitta coffee filters and pour-over brew cones still bear her name today). Other methods are even younger — for instance, the AeroPress was just created in 2005, but there’s already a world championship specifically devoted to the device.

5. What is your favorite roast, brewing method, and coffee beverage…and why?
I’ll start with favorite brewing method, since I just mentioned the AeroPress. I must confess I had never heard of it before I started working on the book, and now I couldn’t imagine making my coffee every morning without it. It’s really the only home brewing device that lets you play with the element of pressure (unless you invest in a costly espresso machine), and this makes it incredibly versatile. With an AeroPress, you can make everything from cold brew to an espresso-style shot of coffee.

In terms of favorite roast, I discovered a love for lighter roasts while working on the book, as they really let the flavor and aroma notes of each particular coffee shine, and my favorite coffee beverage would have to be the very drink that got me into coffee in the first place: mochas! What’s not to love about caffeinated hot chocolate? 

Read This: Candace Rose Rardon on Stuff Every Coffee Lover Should Know…

6. What’s up next for you?
Working on this book and my first book about tea both showed me how much I love researching and diving into new worlds. And so another project I’m excited to be writing right now is a new series of Sleep Stories for the popular meditation app Calm

Each story features a different maker from around the world, as well as the history and traditions of their craft — so I’m very happy there’s lots of research involved here, too. The first story in the series just launched last month. It’s called “The Glass Maker of Murano,” and was beautifully narrated by Italian-American actor Edoardo Ballerini.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’d only like to say thank you for having me, Jessie! And if any of your readers would like to connect further, I wanted to mention my newsletter on Substack, Here and Now, and I’m always sharing new stories and sketches on Instagram, as well.