Coffee: The Epic of a Commodity by E.H. Jacob (1935), translated by Eden and Ceder Paul (1998) is an economic history of a popular product. Jacobs begins with a story about some Arab monks who observed the energized manner of goats, and from these goats discovered coffee and it’s regenerative effects. From this Islamic monastery, Jacobs traces the life of coffee as a commodity until 1931, when trade forces compelled the Brazilian government to burn vast quantities of coffee.
In the post script, Jacobs writes that, “Much that I had intended to include has slipped through the meshes of my net, because its inclusion would have confused the general impression, and because it was a refractory element. Not every interesting fact can be woven into a comprehensive survey like the present.” (pg 283).
Jacobs, E.H. Coffee: The Epic of a Commodity. 1935. Trans. Eden & Cedar Paul. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2015. Print.