Book review – “Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production: A Guidebook for Growers, Processors, Traders, and Researchers” – Editor Jean Nicolas Wintgens

Since quite a while I was looking more and more to something different outside the traditional investments. I played with derivatives based on shares, forex, indices. Yet, recently another area attracted my attention.

Yes, the periodically forgotten and rediscovered treasures of the commodities. They tend to be in fashion and then exit, then enter again into people’s favours. I decided that persistence is the key to success, therefore I started to look more into commodities.

In order to trade them properly, you need to look at your favorite ones and know them well. Since I like coffee, I started with it. Thus my curiosity on this book… which has been handsomely rewarded.

“Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production: A Guidebook for Growers, Processors, Traders, and Researchers” is not a book about the coffee – is a mammoth of almost 1,000 pages. And this with good reasons – after wheat and sugar, coffee is the most traded commodity on Earth. No wonder that a lot of research has been dedicated to it.

“Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production: A Guidebook for Growers, Processors, Traders, and Researchers” is not a collection of articles, as one would look at it in the beginning. It is rather a coffee encyclopedia – full of concepts and illustrations.

What I liked the most was the logical usage of the presentation style. The book startes from cultivating coffee and goes through all the steps require to put the magic liquid into your mug:

Part I: Growing
The Coffee Plant
Botany, Genetics and Genomics of Coffee
Coffee Selection and Breeding
Coffee Propagation
Biotechnologies Applied to Coffee
Environmental Factors Suitable for Coffee Cultivation
Establishing a Coffee Plantation
Crop Maintenance
Vermicomposting in Coffee Cultivation
Organic Coffee
Frost in Coffee Crops: Frost Characteristics, Damaging Effects on Coffee and Alleviation Options
Importance of Organic Matter and Biological Fertility in Coffee Soils
Sustainable Coffee Production
Shade Management and its Effect on Coffee Growth and Quality
Part II: Pests & Diseases
Coffee Pests in Africa
Major Pests of Coffee in the Asia-Pacific Region
Nematodes in Coffee
Coffee Diseases
Viral Diseases in Coffee
Resistance to Coffee Leaf Rust and Coffee Berry Disease
Spraying Equipment for Coffee
Quarantine for Coffee
Part III: Harvesting & Processing
Yield Estimation and Harvest Period
Harvesting and Green Coffee Processing
Ecological Processing of Coffee and Use of Byproducts
Part IV: Storage, Shipment, Quality
Green Coffee Storage
Shipment of Green Coffee
Green Coffee Defects
Factors Influencing the Quality of Green Coffee
Coffee Bean Quality Assessment
Part V: Economics
Economic Aspects of Coffee Production
Technology Transfer
Part VI: Data & Information
Units and Conversion Tables
Information Sources
Data on Coffee
Acronyms and Terms used in Coffee Production

Now, the book is quite exhaustive. I must admit I started with the purpose of reading the whole book. Well, this proved quite a time consuming task, so I rather focused on the economics of the coffee crops. And this is how I found lots of things about this commodity – areas of cultivation, seasonality, major producers, even the diseases affecting the coffee. If you think about it, it is good not to be so ignorant when a magazine talks about an outbreak of Wilt’s disease in Congo, especially when you are trading coffee.

These being said, I think that – “Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production: A Guidebook for Growers, Processors, Traders, and Researchers” is one of the most comprehensive books ever written on the topic – and pretty compulsory if you want to be considered an insider into this trade. Enjoy!

Book published by the Wiley Publishing House.

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