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Site Seer: Coffee lovers get wired on the Web

dancing.bean.anim May 9, 1997
Web posted at: 12:09 p.m. EDT (1609 GMT)

In this story:

From CNN Interactive Writer Wayne Drash

(CNN) -- Nothing is better than a fresh cup of java, and the Web brews up a nice blend of coffee-related sites where users can learn proper tasting techniques, visit coffee-growing regions and order some tasty beans.

It's as if the Web is a giant coffee maker passing information along, drip by hearty drip. Fill my browser to the rim, please.

And there seems to be quite an audience for these sites. The Coffee Review, citing recent Internet studies, predicts that by the year 2000, 100 million coffee drinkers will be surfing the Web.

So grab your mug of joe. Bean juice. Java. The morning wake-up call.

Let's get wired.

Understanding the lingo

The amateur coffee drinker should first visit a site like Caffeinds Glossary of Terms, where users can brush up on the most basic java lingo such as espresso, chai and iced coffee. The fledgling coffee connoisseur also learns that when it comes to tasting java, acidity is "usually the pleasant tartness or brightness that you feel on the tip and edges of your tongue."

For the more serious java junky, there are more serious sites.

Two sites in particular, the Coffee Review and Coffee Talk, come across as serious, extensive sites that strive to inform users about coffee. Each site provides information for the basic coffee drinker as well as in-depth industry information.

Coffee Review

The Coffee Review is a great place to check the latest coffee news. It's updated monthly, and you can easily navigate around the site, jumping from industry information to links to coffee estates to in-depth feature stories. Users can also register for monthly newsletters.

In one article this month, writer Ken Davids explores "whether the specialty/commercial line has become so mushy that a coffee lover might do about as well in a supermarket as at the specialty store down the street." In coffee land, such a topic is blasphemous. But Davids offers an intriguing argument, eventually concluding you'd be better off at the specialty store. However, he did speak highly of the grocery store's Millstone Breakfast Blend; the big names -- Folgers, Maxwell House and the like -- were duly spanked.

The coffee estate links are helpful too. History of the estates, as well as the estates' phone numbers and addresses, are provided.

Unfortunately, the site doesn't take full advantage of the Web. There are no chat rooms, and little interactivity is present.

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk is a well-rounded informational site that bills itself as "an international trade publication serving the specialty coffee industry." The site is updated monthly, with users able to explore inside industry information or check out the latest hot products.

The feature stories are its main attraction, at least for those of us outside the industry. Jeffrey Parrish, a scientist who has studied coffee through research with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, writes in this month's edition about how countries are growing rich from coffee exports, while the coffee farmer often lives in poverty.

But aside from the features, the site seems cluttered and mildly difficult to navigate -- basically PR on the Web. Also it offers little interactivity for the home user.

Coffee A GoGo


The most fun coffee site is Coffee A GoGo, a wildly entertaining site that features a chat room called The Buzz, a bizarre dancing coffee bean, and the URL Percolator where "the coffee genie" sends users "to a random coffee site." It also has a Top 10 List for reasons to drink coffee.

Unfortunately, The Buzz discussions are as satisfying as an old cup of Sanka. One message from March 26, 1997, reads: "Coooffffeeee rulz. I love koffee. Im koo koo for coffee. Tee Hee." Added another on March 31, "I L...O...V...E... coffer (sic)!!!! If drinking coffee would die, I'll die for it. Would you?"

Information on the site is more circumspect than the other sites as well. The site's history of coffee details how an Arabian goat herder discovered coffee after his usually calm goats ran away and were found munching on berries that made them dance and prance. A monk passerby then took the berries to his monastery, ground them, and boiled the resulting powder. The rest is history.

Or so the site claims...

More java

Another interesting site is Coffees of the World, which lists coffee-growing regions and each regions' coffee characteristics and varieties. The down side is that some of the information has been left out, and the site's host, CyberCafe, is no longer in existence. A message says CyberCafe has changed its name to Javabyte, but the provided URL,, does not seem to work.

For other coffee-related sites, visit Specialty Coffee of America's links page.

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