Coffee Bean / Roaster Review Sites/Apps?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#1: Post by JHCCoffee »

In the wine world, there are multiple wine review sites and apps, such as WineSearcher (which compiles reviews of the leading wine experts) and also the review sites of the expert reviewers themselves, such as Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson. If your tastes align with a particular reviewer, then subscribing to and using their tasting notes search engine makes selecting wines much easier (less hit and miss). And then there are those stellar wines that you just cannot go wrong with, especially in great year's.

Are there any parallels (apps, sites) in coffee, which would lead me to select a specific coffee at a specific roaster? If so, which review apps or sites do you recommend and why. Links will be appreciated.

FYI, I must drink decaf, which makes finding great roasted beans even more challenging. Also, I am located in Canada and would prefer to buy in Canada if possible. However I will not pass on a great US coffee, as long as I can drink or freeze it within say 3 weeks of roasting.

Thanks for your constructive suggestions.

Team HB

#2: Post by ira »

It's a much harder problem with coffee than wine. As I understand it's typical for a batch of wine put into a large number of bottles will be assumed to taste the same. The same coffee from the same roaster purchased a month apart will not necessarily taste the same, and the same coffee tasted one day post roast will not the the same as if it was tasted 10 days post roast. I wish you luck with your quest, but I would not hold a lot of hope. I'd also guess that a good wine reviewing site can generate a serious income, I'd guess coffee probably not so much.

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

I feel Ira hit the most important point.
Wine gets better with age- roasted coffee pretty much the opposite. And once you find a coffee roaster and their coffee that ticks all the right boxes, the crop the next year will very possibly be different.

You are in a big enough city that you should begin by visiting local shops. Drink their coffee and ask questions. Do they roast for themselves? Where do they get their coffee? How often do you order? You may gain some educational tidbits or find out you need to look further. Go during the 'off hours' when they are not busy. Many baristas who are dedicated to their jobs love to talk coffee.. The rest work at Starbucks.. :lol:
* 22nd Anniversary 2000-2022 *

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#4: Post by yakster »

I'll sometimes check the Sprudge site and their city guides if I'm traveling, not so much for ratings but just to see what shops I may want to visit.

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#5: Post by kinda-niche »

I have not found any, but also have over the years come to accept why such a forum may not make too much sense* (in absolute terms) just based on my personal experience**. Others have mentioned some of those reasons. THAT SAID, you cannot underestimate the wealth of information that you can find here. On! For a large number of roasters (primarily in North America), you can find some opinion piece or the other. You have to filter it through your own lens, but at least it can give you some base line expectations. At times it is about specific coffee beans. At other times, it is just about the general reputation or approach these roasters may have. So before ordering anything particularly new, I typically use the search function under this Coffees forum to look up a roaster or their specific coffee product to see what others have said about it. It is particularly useful when the search instances are from the recent few months. Just based on interesting discussion threads here, I now have a super long list of roasters/coffees that I want to try out. Far more than I can possibly try in the next year.

*But it could just be a failure of my imagination.

**I have had coffees/roasters that have been my go-to's and top recommendations for others, fall to such low levels that I have not dared order those again after having tasted a really really bad batch. And all this can happen within a span of 12-24 months. This seems to be a not-so-uncommon issue in the industry, and for a plethora of reasons -- from crop quality variance and demand-supply logistics all the way to change of personnel (usually head rosters leaving and such).

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#6: Post by Jeff »

I found that the best I could do is maintain a list of roasters not to buy from. Just finding roasters that generally don't have significant roast and/or greens defects is challenging.

With aging time for the light roasts that I buy running 3-6 weeks or more, by the time I can form an opinion about the product, it is usually long gone from availability.

With any site, you need to understand the preferences of the members. If you're looking for comfort espresso, I wouldn't go with recommendations from sites where you often find comments with a perspective of, "dark [roast], like Tim Wendelboe dark".

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#7: Post by PIXIllate »

You're in Ontario. The answer is Hatch. Best Canadian roaster. They have a great decaf right now in the Paraiso.