Like coffee? Spend more time in a coffee shop than the average Seattle-ite? Got a thing for tatted-out baristas? Buy Tall Skinny Bitter.
What? You need more that just my say-so to go out and pay for a book? Fine. I’ll give you a bit of an overview of the caffeine-fueled radness of Dani Cone and Chris Munson’s book. Grab yourself a venti triple skinny half-caf no whip mocha latte and follow me into the “Center of Coffee Culture.”
In Tall Skinny Bitter: Notes from the Center of Coffee Culture, Cone and Munson profile the folks behind the counter at 45 different independent coffee shops in Seattle and Portland. Every one of these shops has a quirky vibe that the authors showcase with tons of photos and art, and each unique shop has an equally independent crew of baristas. About half the book is devoted to interviews with the smiling folks behind your macchiatos. Most of the interview questions are repeated from shop to shop, but the answers – holding court on music, making a good cup of coffee, latte art, overheard conversations, art and nightmare customers – are all fun and interesting to read.
The other half of the book is a mix of different columns about coffee drinks and coffee shops, covering topics from Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee to How Do I Pick Up a Barista? The authors are both baristas (one former, one current), and have as much to say about the bean as the interview subjects. Everything has a light tone (one list is titled 5 Things Customers Say That Make Baristas Want to Punch Them In The Face), but the authors aren’t afraid to include serious topics like geographic differences between coffee blends and the importance of these small shops.
At a slim 112 pages, Cone and Munson cut all the fat and ended up with a book that is as addicting as that daily shot of espresso. Whether you want to read through the book in one big gulp or a few smaller sips, it deserves a place on every coffee addict’s shelf – or, more appropriately, their coffee table.