Beans and Books: Coffee and Book Pairing Recommendations

After the rousing success of Nicole’s article on book and tea pairings, it was suggested that we also pair up some books with coffee. Never one to shy away from anything that deals with coffee and/or books, I jumped at the chance.

French Roast, Black – Zone One by Colson Whitehead

French Roast Zone One Colson Whitehead

French Roast coffee is dark, bitter, and highly effective. Colson Whitehead’s Zone One skillfully blends zombie fiction with literary fiction into a dark, bitter tale of survival. It’s also a not-so-veiled indictment of our society and the first world problems which we “endure.” When reading a book nearly devoid of hope but still great, there’s nothing like an unadulterated dark roast.

Shade-Grown, Fair-Trade, Carbon-Free, Organic Peruvian – Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Hipster Coffee Super Sad True Love Story Gary Schteyngart

Shteyngart’s ironically named Super Sad True Love Story is filled to the brim with hipsters: people who live on the bleeding edge and are constantly trying to stay ahead of whatever is “cool.” Nothing says hipster in coffee like a shade-grown, fair-trade bean grown in Peru without pesticides, fertilized by monkey manure, and shipped to the civilized world in electric cars.

Caramel Machiato – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Caramel Macchiato Fangirl Rainbow Rowell

Some people like their romance novels savory. Some like them peppermint-mocha sweet. For those that like a well-balanced romance, there’s Rainbow Rowell. Her romance novels certainly have the sweetness, but are grounded in realistic relationships with all the proper speed bumps. The caramel machiatto is a sweet drink, but it always retains notes of bitterness from the coffee and the burnt sugar. Fangirl and caramel machiattos are perfect for those with a subtle sweet tooth.

Pumpkin Spice Latte – Anything by James Patterson

Pumpkin Spice Latte James Patterson

Every year, fans of the pumpkin spice latte line up at their local coffee shop to imbibe these treats full of coffee and science. At the same time, critics of the faux-pumpkin drink post nutritional information and ingredient lists in order to dissuade the pumpkin-adoring public. The pumpkin spice latte has many things in common with any given James Patterson novel:

  • They are guaranteed to come out on a regular schedule.
  • People love them and hate them in equal measure.
  • They will make more money than the GDP of some small countries.

However, to my knowledge, there are no self-destructing pumpkin spice lattes.

Cafe Americano – God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Cafe Americano God Help the Child Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is one of the greatest living American authors. She is prolific and writes novels that take on hard-hitting issues with every outing. Cafe Americano is espresso and water, made for Americans during World War II that couldn’t handle the strength of European espresso. Morrison’s upcoming novel, God Help the Child is brilliant, but many Rioters here feel like she’s pulled her punches compared to previous novels. Like Cafe Americano, it’s brilliant, if watered down.

Triple Espresso – The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Triple Espresso The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown

Sometimes, you just need a jolt. Something fun and fast. Something to kickstart you without a need to savor every sip or ponder the particular bouquet. Triple espresso is just the drink for these emergency mornings. It’s also the drink of choice for people that really need caffeine, but don’t really care for coffee. Similarly, The Da Vinci Code is a quick, fun read. Brown doesn’t exactly threaten to win Pulitzer Prizes, but he spins a dazzling yarn and draws in people who wouldn’t consider themselves bookish.

At the end (or beginning or middle or whatever) of the day, books are great. Coffee is great. It’s hard to go wrong putting the two together. What other splendid java and pages pairings can you imagine?

Thor Like Coffee




The Read Harder Mug: perfect for coffee, tea, or stuff you want to pretend is coffee or tea.

read harder mug