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The Various Flavours Of Coffee

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,352 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews
It was a cup of coffee that changed Robert Wallis’s life --- and a cup of very bad coffee at that. The impoverished poet is sitting in a London coffeehouse contemplating an uncertain future when he meets Samuel Pinker. The owner of Castle Coffee offers Wallace the very last thing a struggling young artiste in fin de siècle England could possibly want: a job.

But the job Wal
710 pages
Published 2010 by McArthur & Co. (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,835)
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Richard Derus
Rating: 3.875* of five

The Publisher Says: From the internationally bestselling author of The Wedding Officer comes a novel whose stunning blend of exotic adventure and erotic passion will intoxicate every reader who tastes of its remarkable delights.

When a woman gives a man coffee, it is a way of showing her desire.
—Abyssinian proverb

It was a cup of coffee that changed Robert Wallis’s life—and a cup of very bad coffee at that. The impoverished poet is sitting in a London coffeehouse contemplatin
Sep 04, 2008 Carey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A well made cup of coffee is the proper beginning to an idle day. Its aroma is beguiling, its taste is sweet; yet it leaves behind only bitterness and regret. In that it resembles, surely, the pleasures of love.....Although in this case, it seems to taste of nothing much except mud. With, perhaps, a faint aftertaste of rotten apricots."

With these words Robert Wallis seals his fate. Not that it didn't need to be sealed. After having been expelled from Oxford (too much partying, no studying) and
Dec 20, 2008 Gayle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book - a mix of love story, adventure, women's history and coffee growing text book. The first 100 pages are dry and I found myself wondering why this book had been so highly recommended at the library. Once the main character is sent on his African safari style adventure it picks up and becomes quite interesting. There are some graphic scenes in the section that covers one of the characters involvment with the militant women's rights movement (a step by step discription ...more
Allison Floyd
Mar 14, 2009 Allison Floyd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hating-is-fun
Oh, man.

At this tale's beginning, our hero, surveying himself from a distance of some years, warns us of his past self, "I doubt that you will like him very much: that is of no consequence, I do not like him very much myself. He is--well, you will see what he is."

What he is is an insufferable (rabidly heterosexual) Oscar Wilde wannabe. These opening lines lead me to believe that our hero's character will probably follow an arc, and after experiencing Life, Love, and Distant Lands, he will acquir
Jan 21, 2013 Uci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Anggap mereka seperti pasukan tentara...Setiap resimen punya tempat asal, watak, tetapi setiap resimen terdiri atas individu-individu, pejuang-pejuang yang sudah melepas identitas pribadi mereka untuk menjadi satu kesatuan...Dan persis seperti pasukan tentara mengaktifkan kavaleri tergantung tugasnya, maka campuran bisa menyelamatkan kopi Brasil yang lembut dengan sejumput kopi Sumatra, atau menutupi kekurangan dari satu kelompok dengan sifat-sifat terbaik kelompok lain."

Seperti halnya rempah-r
Rio Johan
I have never ever in my life tasted any single drop of coffee, thus I was completely trapped in a certain state of confusion when the book said a coffee could taste like "mud," "apricot," or even "sex," and "lovemaking"—sounds more like pussy to me, but I bet most girls will prefer their pussy tastes like roses or jasmines or anything else instead of coffee. Fortunately, there is more about this book than just coffee—there are surely a lot of other things on this book, actually, and of course th ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating fictional account about creating the language to describe coffee. The passages describing how coffee tastes, how each type of coffee tastes and feels, those passages are lovely to read.

The story itself isn't so fabulous for the first 3/4 of the book. The protagonist is a self-centered shallow twit and about the hundredth time we've been treated to the same sort of description of just what a self-centered shallow twit he is, I had to re-read the reviews to see if I wanted to keep r
Sep 30, 2013 indri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Aku bukan penggemar kopi. Bukan karena tidak suka, tapi lebih ke masalah kesehatan. Minum kopi bisa membuat perutku mual dan berkeringat dingin. Mungkin karena kandungan kafein di dalamnya yang memacu detak jantung lebih cepat dan juga memacu asam lambung untuk berproduksi sehingga hanya kembung yang kurasakan ketika memaksakan diri menenggak segelas kopi yang berbau harum untuk memaksa mata tetap melotot ketika lelah.

Sialnya, aku mencintai aroma kopi.

Lalu kusadari, masalahku dengan kopi ini han
Apr 24, 2016 Elana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for historical fiction, and this novel hits all the right notes. Set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it focuses on a young Englishman, Robert Wallis. When we first meet Wallis, he's a shallow fashion plate and wannabe writer, living well beyond his means. Thanks to his way with words, Wallis is hired by a London-based coffee company to pinpoint the inherent flavors of various coffees. (Think of it as the British forerunner of Starbucks.) Along the way, he puts together a ...more
Eva Laginha
Jan 15, 2016 Eva Laginha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta foi uma leitura deveras interessante de um livro que, surpreendida, li com entusiasmo e vício.
Atrever-me-ei, até, a dizer que poderá suscitar os mesmos sentimentos a muitos potenciais leitores, pois a narrativa gira à volta de uma bebida apreciada por muitos portugueses!
Passo a explicar.
“Os vários sabores da vida” é, sobretudo, a história de uma viagem pelo mundo dos aromas do café, desde as plantações até à indústria e à comercialização em grande escala, com os novos rumos da publicidade.
Isaura Pereira
Aug 30, 2015 Isaura Pereira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leituras-2015
Decidi ler este livro pois precisava de um leitura leve para sair da reading slump em que me encontrava. E acertei.

Esta história tem como cenário Londres, em 1896. O autor, Anthony Capella conta-nos a história de Robert Wallis, um boémio e aspirante a poeta, que aceita a proposta de um comerciante de café para compor "vocabulário de cafés" que capte os mais variados sabores. Robert apaixona-se pela filha do mercador, Emily. No entanto, contra a sua vontade, Robert é enviado para África em busca
George Straatman
Apr 19, 2010 George Straatman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel that would not normally find its way onto my rather narrow reading list of is proof that an interesting cover...a unique title and a fascinating teaser can be effective in drawing readers...This is a book that has many distinct facets and though unrequited love might be the primary underlying theme of the is by no means the only one. Set in turn of the century Victorian England, it explores the relationship between aspiring poet Robert Wallis and two very dif ...more
Pertama kali melihat buku ini di toku buku, saya langsung tertarik dan ingin memilikinya. Saya jadi impulsif gara-gara ada kata kopi pada judulnya. Sebagai penikmat kopi (meskipun lebih sering minum kopi instan), saya merasa wajib membaca novel yang satu ini. Dan ketika saya membuka halaman pertama, saya tahu membaca buku ini seperti menikmati secangkir kopi. Sesapi rasanya perlahan-lahan, rasakan kepahitan, manis, legit, dan aroma kopi memenuhi pikiranmu. Dan ketika halaman terakhir ditutup, ad ...more
Historical Fiction

London, 1895

Robert Wallis leaves Oxford under less than honorable circumstances. He fancies himself a poet or writer, but isn't actually talented or motivated. To support himself, he finds employment with a coffee merchant -- tasting various coffees and finding the precise words to systematically categorize the various blends.

Robert is sent on a five year journey to the coffee producing areas of the world (Africa, the Middle East) to establish plantations. This part of the book
Dec 26, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read another book by Capella, The Food of Love, and I loved that book, which was why I bought this one. I had high hopes for this, considering it has the word "coffee" in its title :). And it wasn't disappointing, but it definitely was a lot different from The Food of Love. It had an overall darker tone to the plot and the main character, Robert, fell victim to a series of unfortunate events. So, in that respect, it was a much sadder book, but it was also very interesting. Robert lived in ...more
Deana Weibel-Swanson
One of the most enjoyable books I've read, but that may be because so many issues and topics in this amazing turn-of-the-20th-century novel are totally in alignment with my personal interests: coffee, colonialism, feminism....
Mar 01, 2013 Abiyasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a fan of Anthony Capella's The Wedding Officer and when I found this book in bookstore, I grabbed it right away. The synopsis seemed so exciting. Not a coffee lover myself, I thought this book would turn me into a coffee lover.

I still don't like coffee after reading this book.

I don't know why, I feel like he was trying to tell a lot in just some hundreds pages. I found some unimportant scenes that has no relation at all with the whole idea of the book. I forced myself to finish this book a
Feb 02, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is an entertaining book; it is a quick read despite its length. The main character is not immediately sympathetic, but as he learns about himself and those around him, we watch him grow. Much of this book takes place toward the end of the Victorian era in London, and the book -- descriptions, quotes, and lore -- are steeped in coffee. The book is shot through with politics: of gender, of commerce, or economics, and theology. The author has a healthy appreciation of what it means to engage a ...more
Renee Mihulka
Oct 03, 2013 Renee Mihulka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
If I could have given this book 3 and a half stars I would have. Not sure it deserved four but I feel generous. It was beautifully written and interesting. I didn't like the main character, but I think that was the point, he was supposed to be flawed. I enjoyed the suffergette information and particularly the economy of the coffee trade. Actually, I suppose based on that it did deserve 4 stars, despite the weak African adventure and convenient love match at the end. I am glad I read it as I woul ...more
Dec 13, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
Wow. Diese Mischung aus Dandy-Roman, Abenteuergeschichte, Sufragettenhistorie, Wirtschaftskrimi mit erotischen und humorvollen Elementen ist genau das, was ich mir unter einer richtig gut erzählten richtig guten Geschichte vorstelle. Immer wieder überrascht der Autor mit interessanten Wendungen, stets begleitet von sinnlichen Kaffee-Beschreibungen und serviert uns somit mit diesem Roman einen ganz besonderen "Blend".
Review from Elizabeth Editorializes, my book review blog

In the spring of 2012, I read Anthony Capella‘s debut novel, The Food of Love. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and have been meaning to read more of his work since then. My last trip to the library included The Various Flavors of Coffee, which promised more of the heady, mouth-watering descriptions of smell and taste that I love, and which were abundant in The Food of Love. I finished it this morning.

(For the record, the cover of my copy has “Fla
Dec 16, 2008 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just cannot finish this book (have read about 125 pages). It is your classic bad--as in cheesy and affected--historical romance. Tries too hard to be shocking and sensual, and ends up being sadly comic. I could look past this if I wanted an easy fun read, but I don't even like the characters enough to continue at this point...
L.C. Lavado
Sep 12, 2015 L.C. Lavado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelfs
I've read this book during the summer 2009 and loved it!

A. Capella it's a master in writting about the five senses. We can really taste and smell the coffee while we are reading his words on white paper.

I recomend this book to every one.
Even if you don't like coffee, you surely will love A. Capella.
Sep 07, 2010 Marg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it more than I thought I would by the end, but I can't grade higher than 3.5/5 given how objectionable the main character was.
Jul 23, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reluctant to start this tome of a book (710 pages!!) and only wanted to skim a few pages to see what it was like. The first four pages sucked me in and kept me awake until I finally finished it.

Oh my gosh - this book has EVERYTHING - Adventure, romance, women's suffrage movement, history, racial rights, African superstitions and society, economics, a main character you love to hate who becomes a main character you want to scream at in rage who becomes an amazingly likeable character - but
Sergiu Pobereznic
THE VARIOUS FLAVOURS OF COFFEE by Anthony Capella reviewed by Sergiu Pobereznic (author)
"A well made cup of coffee is the proper beginning to an idle day. Its aroma is beguiling, its taste is sweet; yet it leaves behind only bitterness and regret. In that it resembles, surely, the pleasures of love... Although in this case, it seems to taste of nothing much except mud. With, perhaps, a faint after-taste of rotten apricots."

The above statement was the po
Chiara Allegranti
Apr 22, 2014 Chiara Allegranti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ho finito di leggere questo libro qualche giorno fa e anche adesso che sto scrivendo il mio pensiero non sono sicura di essere capace di raccontare la mia esperienza con questa storia.
Mi ha spiazzato, questo di sicuro, nel senso che ho inziato la lettura convinta e speranzosa che fosse il genere di romanzo d'amore storico, dal quale mi lascio coinvolgere e che mi fa sognare con gli occhi a cuoricino.
Non è stato affatto come mi aspettavo e ne sono contenta.
Mi è piaciuta la storia, la descrizione
Yudhi Herwibowo
Jun 04, 2013 Yudhi Herwibowo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tak Sekedar tentang Seorang (calon) Penyair dan Kopi yang Nikmat…

Berabad-abad yang lalu ada penyihir besar yang bisa berkomunikasi dengan para zar, roh-roh yang memerintah – atau sebenarnya, salah mengatur – dunia kita. Waktu penyihir ini mati, dewa langit sedih sekali, karena sekarang tak ada lagi yang cukup kuat untuk mengendalikan para roh. Air mata pahit Tuhan jatuh ke atas makam si penyihir, dan di mana air matanya jatuh, semak kopi pertama tumbuh. (halaman 616)

Sewaktu membaca blurbs di cov
Book Concierge
“Just as good coffee might smell of – perhaps – leather and tobacco and honeysuckle, all at once, so love is a mixture of any number of feelings: infatuation, idealism, tenderness, lust, the urge to protect or be protected, the desire to ravish, comradeship, friendship, aesthetic appreciation, and a thousand more besides. …
The laugh of a woman, the scent of a child, the making of a coffee – these are the various flavors of love.”

Robert Wallis is an aesthete who wishes to write poetry. Samuel Pin
An enjoyable book. I ended up liking the characters and the modern writing that I originally found at odds with the Victorian time period soon stopped bothering me. A lot happened in the book, courting and carousing in London, death and despair and desire in Africa, reuniting and rioting in London again. All over the place and interesting. Lots about coffee, obviously. Too much like winetasting for me, no, I can't pick out the subtle flavours of appleblossoms and turmeric O_o And my eyes complet ...more
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Anthony Capella was born in Uganda, Africa in 1962. He was educated at St Peter’s College, Oxford, where he graduated with a First in English Literature. The Food of Love, his first novel, was a Richard and Judy Summer Read in the UK. It has been translated into nineteen languages and has been optioned for the screen by Warner. His second novel, The Wedding Officer, was an international bestseller ...more
More about Anthony Capella...

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“For a well-made cup of coffee is the proper beginning to an idle day. Its aroma is beguiling, its taste is sweet; yet it leaves behind only bitterness and regret. In that, it resembles, surely, the pleasures of love.” 26 likes
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