Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Various Flavours Of Coffee” as Want to Read:
The Various Flavours Of Coffee
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Various Flavours Of Coffee

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  1,557 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
1895. Robert Wallis, would-be poet, bohemian & dandy, accepts a commission from coffee merchant Samuel Pinker to categorise the different tastes of coffee & encounters Pinker's free-thinking daughters, Philomenia, Ada & Emily. As romance blossoms with Emily, Robert realises that the muse & marriage may not be incompatible after all.
Paperback, 468 pages
Published October 30th 2008 by Sphere (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Various Flavours Of Coffee, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Various Flavours Of Coffee

Chocolat by Joanne HarrisGarden Spells by Sarah Addison AllenLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelThe School of Essential Ingredients by Erica BauermeisterThe Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Foodie Novels
184 books — 141 voters
Chocolat by Joanne HarrisLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Food-Related Fiction
496 books — 547 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Oct 31, 2008 Gayle rated it it was ok
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
Sep 04, 2008 Carey rated it it was amazing
"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
Nov 13, 2012 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
Allison Floyd
Sep 12, 2008 Allison Floyd rated it did not like it
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
Karina Vargas
The Various Flavors of Coffee : 2,5 estrellas.

Robert Wallis es un joven inglés aspirante a escritor, arrogante y sin escrúpulos. Un día, mientras toma una versión muy mala de café, conoce a Samuel Pinker, un importante empresario y dueño de una de las cadenas de café más grandes. Ellos mantienen una breve conversación, a partir de la que el hombre decide ofrecerle un trabajo. A pesar de que Robert no tenía intención alguna en dedicarse a otra cosa que no sea su vocación, admite que el dinero le
Nina Draganova
Nov 03, 2016 Nina Draganova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Не очаквах такъв край на тази история.
Прекалено е разводнена книгата.
Някак не можа да прикове вниманието ми и да бъде прочетена на един дъх , както много други. Може би чак в последните страници, където рязко стана много сериозна.
Вероятно съм станала много нетърпелива и не отдавам нужното внимание на подробностите.
Не харесвам по принцип прекалените описания, а те изобилстват в неговите книги.
Но пък какъв език има този човек, изумителен.
Дори си нямам представа какво богато въображение може да
Indri Juwono
Jan 18, 2013 Indri Juwono 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 01, 2009 Eva rated it really liked it
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Jan 07, 2015 BAM The Bibliomaniac rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, library
This book's plot was a pleasant surprise. I expected a romance, but not politics. I really cannot fathom that absolute disrespect and utter violence that occurred during the British suffrage movement. why was it so inconceivable to give women the vote??? The hunger strikes, the prison terms, the beatings-all to have political voice.
Also the way the flavor of my coffee hits my tongue will never be the same. I drink it differently now. I roll it around, check for notes just like a wine.
Rio Johan
Jun 03, 2013 Rio Johan rated it liked it
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
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
Sep 14, 2008 Jenny rated it it was ok
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...
A 3.75.
This book is a perfect example of "judging a book by its cover" or the first 1/3 of the book.

The book "appears " to be a historical romance. But it includes a muddle of subject matter. It is starts in the late 1800's in London. It is told be the protagonist , as he remembers his youth. He is a dandy who thinks he is the next great poet. But he has a lot to learn about love, the coffee business , politics, traveling and starting a coffee plantation!

The author seems bent on providing ever
Dec 17, 2015 Eva 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.
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
George Straatman
Mar 29, 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
Isaura Pereira
May 07, 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
Dec 07, 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
Dec 25, 2008 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
Sep 22, 2013 Renee Mihulka rated it really liked it
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
Sep 06, 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".
L.C. Lavado
May 02, 2010 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.
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....
Sep 05, 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.
Sergiu Pobereznic
Sep 19, 2014 Sergiu Pobereznic rated it liked it
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
Evi Rezeki
Novel ini karya Anthony Capella pertama yang saya baca. Novel yang unsurnya sangat lengkap dari segi budaya, ekonomi, geografi, bahkan sampai ilmu pasti seperti fisika. Novel yang sangat bagus dalam menggambarkan sejarah kopi, budaya kopi, dan bagaimana manusia memaknai kopi itu sendiri.

Novel ini menjadi salah satu novel favorit saya. Mengingatkan saya pada novel Gone with the Wind mengingat begitu banyak pesan, unsur, dan kepadatan dalam bukunya. Saya pikir, semua pencinta kopi mesti membaca no
May 18, 2017 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victorian London, love it, even the mud and the ladies of the evening! Robert Wallis, a young poet sent down from Oxford for non-interest, begins a reluctant career writing vivid descriptions of various flavors of coffee, as well as a romance with his boss's daughter. The creation and business of coffee was really interesting, as is the transformation of this young fop into a fairly decent man. From the dense jungles of Africa to the halls of Parliament, to the streets of London with the militan ...more
Elizabeth Lee
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
Ella Tamtomo
Dec 12, 2016 Ella Tamtomo rated it it was ok
I started reading this book first because it's about coffee (I'm a coffee lover) and second, because this book is thick. it gives me alot of knowledge about coffee history and many flavours of coffee that can be described with words. but that's all.

I found that this book is not as interesting as I thought. the story is slow. the main character is lame.

i'm still forcing myself to finish this book, but I need to get good mood.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Various Flavors of Coffee; 5 Stars 3 16 Oct 31, 2016 02:19AM  
  • La Cucina
  • Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries
  • Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Love, Lust & Forbidden Fruit
  • Fields of Gold
  • Stand the Storm
  • The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food
  • The Sound of Butterflies
  • Last Bite
  • The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love
  • Sombras da Noite Branca (A Saga das Pedras Mágicas, #8)
  • The Round Tower
  • A Woman of Cairo
  • Inverso
  • Francesca's Kitchen
  • Guardian of the Dawn (The Sephardic Cycle, #3)
  • The Restaurant of Love Regained
  • Blue Romance
  • Clementine in the Kitchen
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...

Share This Book

“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.” 25 likes
More quotes…