Spill the Beans: Global Coffee Culture, gestalten, 2022


Coffee is the world’s cup. Over 2.25 billion are brewed, sipped, and savored daily. A loyal companion and energetic facilitator of every day, coffee has sprouted an entire cafe culture and a booming industry. While the caffeine fix is hard to ignore, this beloved hot drink holds a rich and diverse history that sinks deeper than the bottom of the cup.

Spill the Beans takes the reader on a journey through Ethiopia, Guatemala, Vietnam, and many other countries in between, exploring the myriad ways in which coffee is produced, traded, and enjoyed. Hipster baristas may be dreaming up the next seasonal latte at this very moment, but the story of how the humble bean became a global icon is ingrained in history. An essential title for armchair travelers, curious foodies, and cafe-hoppers alike, this java journey demonstrates that there’s a vast world of coffee beyond the ubiquitous flat white.

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Coffee and Chocolate Consulting.

Having helped set up and run the European factory, store, cafe and wholesale operations of Brooklyn craft chocolate makers, Mast Brothers Chocolate; built out London’s first bean-to-bar intensive, professional level education program; set up a chocolate factory in Singapore for the founder of TWG Tea; wrote a book about the science of coffee, now translated into 6 languages and 9 editions; consulted for international green coffee traders – I have experience and knowledge across the breadth of these two very specialist industries.

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Congratulations! You have taken the first step to producing a cookbook! For a restaurant, Chef, or restaurant group, this is one of the best marketing opportunities you can invest in.

While it’s certainly a lot of work to produce a book, as a two-time published author of my own books and experienced project manager, my role is to make this as easy as possible. I handle all the difficult publishing arrangements and the logistics of the project, while working with you closely on concept and content.

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My Director-level experience in the food industry spanning operations, business development, brand identity, sales, combined with a media and marketing background positions me perfectly to develop and implement targeted marketing strategies for all types of food brands.

I hold broad-spanning industry knowledge that allows me to develop a multi-pronged approach to marketing your food business. Having worked as a Chef, restaurant manager, published food writer and in marketing for high profile international food brands, I can manage and create your brand content, develop full strategy, write for print publications, handle your social media management, website, advertising plan – you name it.

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British Airways, The Club’s Guide to Global Coffee Rituals, 2017

“While a morning caffeine fix is a common practice almost everywhere, the cultural significance of drinking a cup of coffee – and its preparation – can vary wildly from country to country. Coffee expert and author Lani Kingston spills the beans on the etiquette of coffee consumption around the world, from espresso-mad Italy to the leisurely ceremonies of Ethiopia.”

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Long boating deep into the heart of Borneo.

Long boating deep into the heart of Borneo.

All I had known of Borneo before my trip was what I’d learned on Google many years before.

‘Borneo, a giant, rugged island in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago, is shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan and the tiny nation of Brunei. It’s known for its beaches and ancient, biodiverse rainforest, home to wildlife including orangutans and clouded leopards.’

So when I had the opportunity to stopover in Brunei, so I thought I would go and spend some time in that tiny little country where alcohol is banned, book a spot on a long boat, hire a guide, and get as deep into this rugged jungle as possible.

Driving out of Brunei, there were many boats and cars and methods of transport to get to the edge of the rainforest. We set out early, and then stopped in for breakfast of roti telur (roti filled with egg with a side of chicken curry) at a roadside stall.

Back on the road, we drove further and further until we reached the river. We were to take a power long boat deep into the jungle, to places unreachable by car.

The only way in or out was on this petrol driven long boat that careened through and over rocky shoals and by alligators with great finesse. Our guide was the ‘spotter’, every so often she would yell if the boat needed to move further left or right to miss jagged rocks (that were almost impossibly close to the surface.)

We arrived at the entrance to one of the national parks, and took a long, wobbly rope bridge over into the heart of the jungle.

There’s a spot in Borneo where they have built a tall rig-like structure where you can climb up and see over the treetops. There are monkeys and birds and all sorts of animals – but to get to the top you have to climb a somewhat terrifying staircase on a structure made of metal poles and rope.

The view, once you reach the top however, is worth the risk.

Back down, we head back towards the river and followed our guide by foot.

She told us that most of the people who lived in the forest had never bought food from a store, because they’ve been catching all sorts of fish in these rivers since they were born. Borneo is known as one of the wildest places on earth, and the people who live within it’s borders certainly live an isolated (but beautiful) life.

Back into the boat, we head to the home of one of our guides. Like something out of the Swiss Family Robinson, the houses were open air and multi layered, built along the river.

Lunch was cooked for me and served – spicy fish, rice, fresh fruit. Afterwards, I was handed a river tube and sent off into the river with instructions to ‘relax’. Yes, Chef.

Of tuk-tuks and temples.

A short stopover in Bangkok, on my way back to London. The thrill of walking the busy, life-filled streets, and then slipping away from the crowd into a silent temple.

Back out again, into the back of a tuk-tuk (life flashing before you), zooming down to the river where you are shoved aboard a rickety ferry definitely over its load maximum.

Holding onto the edge railing, with a small jerk certain to tip you into the water, the ferry trundles up and down, showing a side to Bangkok not visible from land. Commerce on the water.

When it’s your turn to get off, you are turfed back into a world of swerving motorbikes, bustling people, yelling street vendors.

But there’s always another temple to sneak off into, to sit in the garden with the temple cats, listen to the wind rustling through the fabric flags tied above you, drinking a coconut. Then out again and green curry by the river, the spice hotter than the air around you (something you didn’t think was possible mere seconds before).

A Swedish Midsummer.

A Swedish Midsummer.

After a weekend in Stockholm, Stina and I jumped in the car to drive out to the countryside. We were headed for Örebro, Stina’s university town, and the countryside surrounding it. We were to spend the week by Lake Hjälmaren, Sweden’s fourth largest lake, with her friends at their countryhouses and – yep – potato farms.

Our first stop: Sigtuna. Sweden’s oldest town, it was founded in 980. We stopped in for chokladtårta and coffee (oh boy, do they love coffee over there. Upwards of 5 cups a day seems fairly normal) at the self-proclaimed oldest house in town, from the 1600’s – Tant Brun.
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