The Portland Coffee Book

For the last few months, the frequency of posts on Caffeinated PDX has been kind of slow, because I have been putting my energies into writing a book (working title: Are You Serious? It’s Just Coffee…Right?  Why Portland’s Third Wave Coffee Scene is Way More than ‘Just Coffee’). I am happy to report that I finished the manuscript in the middle of August, and am now working with Indigo Editing and Publications to get it ready for publishing. It is exciting to have someone to collaborate with on the project, and I am looking forward to releasing the book early next year.

Originally, the plan was to publish it just before Christmas, but in the book industry, the two main seasons for book releases are spring and fall. To have the book ready for November would compromise quality, so I decided to wait instead of rushing out a poor-quality book.Today's post fueled by shots of espresso at Albina Press Hawthorne

Despite the wait, I am excited to share the book with you. Part guidebook, part history of Portland coffee, and part personal memoir, Are You Serious? includes many profiles of the people and companies that make Portland’s coffee special. Inside, I give a brief history of coffee, then delve into the Portland coffee story, putting it in context with what has happened in the specialty coffee industry over the last decade and a half. Mixed in are several personal stories of how I became a coffee nerd. Some the stories included are edited versions of past blog posts, but most of the information is new. Over the last year, I interviewed a wide variety of coffee roasters, café owners, baristas, and other coffee people around the area, to hear their stories and discover why Portland coffee is so highly regarded around the country.

The specialty coffee industry is exploding, with new roasters and cafés popping up every day in cities all over the U.S. The entire coffee industry has undergone some big changes over the last fifteen years, and while every city is unique, we can better understand these changes by taking a look at what has happened in Portland. I especially recommend Are You Serious? for anyone who wants to understand specialty coffee and for people who want to know Portland better. If you like Portland or its coffee, the book should be a treat to read.

Why did I decide to write a book? I’ve asked myself that question more than once. Overall, though, the writing experience has been a good one. Once I learned a little bit about coffee—peeked behind the curtain, so to speak—I found it interesting enough to keep learning a little more, which led to more discoveries, and so on. Soon, coffee was nearly an obsession. (I say ‘nearly’ because I’m still mostly on the sidelines of the industry—the people who actually work in coffee are the ones obsessed with coffee. I just tried to capture their passion and help others understand it.) In addition, writing a book fits my personality. I enjoy delving deeply into things and focusing on them. The subject of coffee provides many avenues to do that. Finally, I admit that part of the reason I’m publishing the book is for the sense of accomplishment that comes with it.

Over the next few months I will keep you up to date on the book’s progress. When it’s ready to go, I’ll be sure to let you know that too. If you are interested in helping spread the word about the book, drop me a line and we’ll talk more about how you can do that.

Also, you will soon see some changes to the Caffeinated PDX website, to make it more reader-friendly and better organized. I may broaden the scope of topics a bit too, while keeping coffee as the primary subject. Since the bulk of work on the book is finished, I plan to post here more frequently—generally twice a week, as long as I can find interesting things to write about. (I am always looking for article ideas, so feel free to send them in.) September’s articles will include a post about a cupping Guatemalan coffees at Water Avenue, as well as the story of Nossa Familia extending the ‘familia’ into countries besides Brazil.

To get those stories out, I must get back to writing. Happy Monday.