Coffee is the best known beverage in the world, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that the plant s native soil is Ethiopia and that from there it crossed Africa and reached Arabia. It spread to Europe in the seventeenth century and was then shipped to the Americas and the Far East. From the nineteenth century coffee became a global beverage and its success has shown no signs of diminishing since then. Elisabetta Illy has written a book combining a travel journal, describing areas where coffee is cultivated (Ethiopia, India, Brazil and Colombia), with the stories, rituals, and traditions associated with coffee preparation. The coffee bean is the undisputed star of the book and in order to provide a picture that is as rounded as possible, the author also discusses its social impact, its relationship with our physical and psychological health and the tasting techniques that bring out the infinite array of subtle flavours of an espresso and other kinds of coffee. The book also provides tips on how to make a perfect coffee in the home and how to identify a properly made espresso in a café. From moka and filter coffee to Turkish coffee and coffees made with the Napolitana percolator and with the melior system, the author also examines the customs in various countries that make coffee drinking a veritable rite. A rite which can be repeated in the kitchen too, to make Gianfranco Vissani s exclusive creations, which turn the coffee bean into an important ingredient in amazing recipes both sweet and savoury.