Black Gold: A Dark History of Coffee By Antony Wild Harper Perennial $144 Chances are that your morning wake-up coffee is nothing of the sort. It will most likely contain trimethyloxpurin, or caffeine, but it's not coffee, according to Antony Wild. A former coffee trader, Wild says that coffee, not taken as a drink until China's 15th-century treasure fleets showed the people of Yemen how to steep vegetable matter in hot water, can take only so much abuse. The spread of Robusta, which pales in quality to Arabica, has cheapened global taste and driven prices below what it costs farmers to grow it. If people want to drink good coffee, rather than liquid caffeine (a natural and toxic insecticide that attacks the nervous system), they need to pay more attention to what is in their cup. Islam and Christianity struggled long and hard over whether to allow coffee, and ultimately came to fear its tendency to foment revolution. Wild says coffee deserves more respect, as do the farmers who depend on the labour-intensive crop. A good start is to drink only 'Fair Trade' coffee. And throw that instant stuff in the bin. It's not coffee.