Scott Rao's book, the The Professional Barista's Handbook

This is a mini review of one of the best books out there on making espresso.  It is Scott Rao’s book “The Professional Barista's Handbook: An Expert Guide to Preparing Espresso, Coffee, and Tea”

The book is excellent for many reasons.  It is directed at the professional barista, but it translates very well back to home baristas, too.  It is more about making great espresso than about making money making espresso.

I think the title is a little misleading in that Coffee and tea (as opposed to espresso) get short shrift, but I am biased towards espresso myself so that is not a problem for me.  If it is a problem for the reader, Rao solved the problem by coming out with a sequel

“Everything But Espresso: Professional Coffee Brewing Techniques”

I, however, cannot review that book since I have not read it.  I expect it is good, but that is simply based on the quality of the first book.

Rao does a great job of being thorough and yet concise.  This is no difficult to read tome of minutia.  An excellent balance is struck.

It also as I mentioned is very attentive to needs of home baristas.  It includes things that are great at home but would never be used in a busy café such as the WDT.

By the way if anyone is looking for a cheap copy of this book mine is avaialable at a discount.  I got it as a gift a few years ago when my first child was starting potty training and just as I was finishing it up I went off to work and came home to the announcement that the book had been involved in a little incident (although not the worst kind imaginable in that context).  In all seriousness, though, in spite of this I will not part with my copy – I suppose that tells you how good the book is.

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