Worth a trial.
Over the years many many CSírs have asked two questions.
1. Where do I get a good coffee in [insert town here]
2. Is there a cafe review / rating somewhere.
I have always avoided the cafe reviews and ratings as many other sites have tried to do this and end-up with either fighting and bickering or just false (useless) information.
With the growth of CS we are getting many more "where do I" questions and at least some of them are by sneaky people scrounging free advertising for their own coffee shop.
After discussing the possibilities and some of the gotchas with our CS site moderators we have decided to TRIAL a new area on the forum for cafe banter. *This new forum category is called Good Coffee Where?
It has been broken into state regions and one for outside Oz. *
(post in the correct one please)
No other area of the forum should have posts about coffee shops. *
(keeping them all central makes sense)
Site sponsors that serve coffee to the public will have their listing sticky at the top.
(because we support our sponsors!)
It is not for advertising a cafe but to help other CSírs find one in an area.
(if it smells like an ad we will delete it without asking)
You need to have posted 50+ posts on the forums before you can post a message in Good Coffee Where but anyone can read the postings there.
(which should go someway toward stopping self promotion plugs of bad cafes)
We will see how this new area goes over the coming months. *If it is too hard to manage or becomes too feral then we might remove it and have a rethink but Iím hopeful it will become another useful corner of CS.
Worth a trial.
Love the idea. I think that the threads should be categorised by suburbs as well, otherwise itll be pretty hard to "search".
I think its a good idea and the risk is not that great after all, I think. Even if some sneaky individual tricks us into his cafe...
the first CS visiting it and realizing that its not up to the praise may tell the truth and it would be worse than not attracting attention to it here in the first place.
if its good, though, then its worth knowing, me thinks
one question is - how do we keep this all nice play?
its going to be too easy (too tempting) to bag a cafe that isnt knocking out THE BEST short blacks in town.
theres gonna be some offending done ere me thinks
Mods will keep an eye on things to make sure everyone plays fair....;)Originally Posted by roknee link=1218367835/0#5 date=1218456617
...which is exactly why we have avoided the "cafe rating" section till now. It has the potential of being a loaded gun!
I hope that CSrs being far more freindly n helpful than some other internet forums users. We can play nice!
...and we have the bonus of "banning" cafe talk in other areas of the forum which should go some way to stopping the flood subtle cafe plugs.
where does canberra fall under?
Seriously?Originally Posted by tanghy link=1218367835/0#8 date=1218458026
I think someone will prob post a thread under the NSW section titled "Canberra Coffee" or similar.
Lets face it, most of NSW is further away from Sydney than Canberra is.
Haha, I think that has already began in the VIC section. Everyone is always bound to have their favourites and itll become even harder when they are the employees of the various cafes.Originally Posted by roknee link=1218367835/0#5 date=1218456617
Its going to become a whose *bleep* is bigger than whose *bleep*
Well I was browsing and saw on the crema website that they do Cafe reviews...
Yes,we are talking about coffee here, can I suggest then in the the spirit non judgment- that we have a criteria list for the COFFEE rating? So a form to fill up when putting up the rating?
Also its hard since theres different Barista pulling the shots....
Truly its a nice idea..... handy guide for the CSers!
My feedback on the Where list...
Im glad its on the bottom of the front page and not the top :-)
...and if you click on the icon at the top of the section you can collapse the section so it becomes a much smaller area.
Indeed it does.... :-)
I learn something new evry day.
Originally Posted by E-Gene link=1218367835/0#10 date=1218462943
Not at all, ive always recommended other cafes/roasters if they do it well, and if anything I wont feel right mentioning one of the cafes Atomica supplies because it may show bias.
I made many suggestions for the upcoming coffee guide, most of which are using other roasters.
Its great to see an attempt being made to do something like this. There are certainly a lot of pitfalls to be avoided, but this could also potentially be a very useful resource. I propose the following; please feel free to shoot this down and propose alternatives - hopefully this thread will produce some useful guidelines for the new section.
(1) Posts should be entitled "Suburb - Cafe"
This way all of the feedback for a particular place is grouped together and it is easy to find places in a particular suburb. I dont know if an alphabetical sort is possible, but if the threads have titles like this, an alphabetical sort would group the threads by suburb. Listing each cafe individually also means that the most recent reviews will be at the top and the older ones will fall to the bottom, which is important to both searchers and cafe owners.
(2) The first post in a thread should contain all the basic details
Yes, its usually pretty easy to google up the details, but sometimes its not. It would be nice if posters included name, address, location, opening hours, the types of food that are served, the coffee used and whether or not it is possible to buy whole bean coffee there. Im sure that some cafes will have uniquely important things to note, eg. difficult locations, parking, kid-friendliness, no soy, etc.
(3) Reviews should describe, not rate
I think that consumer cafe review web pages with ratings options usually provide suspect information. The vast majority of reviewers tend to just give out whatever the highest rating is, then you get a few reviews with the lowest rating. Ratings systems are not useful unless the reviewers are somehow calibrated. Ratings systems also give rise to the mines better than yours problem. To give you an example of how useless ratings can be, I remember that for ages, one cafe review web page had a top rating of a cafe that the reviewer had visited once ... for a hot chocolate!
It should be perfectly possible to work out whether or not you will like a cafe by reading a description of the coffee. Realistically, if you havent been to a cafe before, you probably only care about whether or not the coffee is good enough to justify the trip, not about exactly where it fits in the spectrum of things. The exception is if you are trying to make a pilgrimage to get the absolute best coffee that you can, in which case everyones opinions tend to differ anyway - as you can see from any of the "best coffee in X" threads. Avoiding putting up some arbitrary number also makes things a lot simpler for the reviewer, who then doesnt have to worry about whether or not they are being consistent with other reviewers, some of whom will invariably just give the highest mark anyway. People ought not feel anxious about describing coffee; honest opinions held by real people are a lot more useful than overly detailed and flowery language - I often feel that the more words, the more likely the writer has missed the point. (Which is why I hate proof reading my own work ;P) Personally, I think that some of the best espresso reviews around are on coffeecuppers.com.
Once you read a description, you should be able to work out whether or not that cafe is for you.
(4) Reviewers should state what their experience is based on
Consistently good cafes are gems, but even excellent cafes have bad days for whatever reason. It is important to know (ballpark) how many times a reviewer has been to a cafe to work out how reliable the review is. This might also aid in identifying shill postings, though hopefully the 50+ posts rule will cut those out.
Whilst I dont think that we would want to read an exhaustive list of each and every drink consumed at the cafe, it would be useful to know whether the reviewer had drunk espresso, milk drinks or both.
(5) Reviews should be discouraged, or prohibited, unless the reviewer has a reasonable amount of information
Reviews are not useful unless they are backed by actual experience. The coffee internet often degenerates into people parroting pearls of wisdom back and fort and it is not uncommon for them to turn out to be false.
We would need to work out what a reasonable amount of information is. My gut reaction would be something like three or four of the same type of drink on a few different occasions.
This policy would limit the overall number of posts, but would probably result in the quality being relatively high.
(6) Posters should declare any interests that they have in posting
Pretty self-explanatory and probably doesnt apply to most posters. I think that leaving it up to the reviewer to decide whether or not to ignore a post that isnt from an impartial person probably strikes the right balance, particularly in a country with so few people in the industry - know one and you know almost know em all ;P
(7) Threads should not be created to bag a place
The section talks about "good coffee," not bad coffee. I dont think that anyone really wants to read random criticisms. However, people should still feel that they can respond to positive reviews with their negative experiences, provided that their post complies with the above guidelines, otherwise the new forum could well become inaccurate.
Good move on giving this a shot, Andy. Reviewing coffee isnt rocket science, but, still, this could be great or totally crap.
That is a great post Luca
A number of your points ring true for me - well ALL ring true - a number REALLY ring true. First and formost it does not pay not to play nice (or even a little tongue in cheek I think) because at the end of the day it has right from the start been flagged as only a trial and if anything goes down the wrong path it may be canned and then we all miss out on something that could be of great benefit to a lot of people, both seasoned drinkers and newbies wanting to try out there coffee tastebuds for different types of good coffee.
I agree that this should be for the good cafes rather than it ending up being dont go here or there, because at the end of the day if I am going out on a day trip somewhere in Sydney, or am on holidays somewhere, I would rather know where to go rather where not to go as I accept if I am out of my comfort zone I may end up with somthing not to write home about if I cant make it to one of the recommended places.
To go along with the above, I personnally still feel that coffee and all that goes with it is a very subjective thing. I am not an overly big espresso drinker so I would never feel as though I could rate anything on shots. Put some sort of milk in it and I might think about saying something. Also what I like in a coffee may not be what someone else likes. I would be willing to take a lower grade coffee if the area/ambience was good and the family liked whatever else was on offer, but there would be a lot here that wouldnt care if they were watching haleys comet pass over niagra falls on a moonlit night - if the coffee was crap they would tip it out in front of the barista and high tail it out of there ;)
Even though most here have far more experience than I and I would definately listen to a lot of people about what is good, we still need to take it with a grain of salt. I have about 170 posts and could easily say something here and if a new person did not know me they would look at the posts and might take what I have to say highly. If that same person saw a review by hazel (who still cannot post yet) and went on posts, they might not take what she says as high :o :o I know who I would defer to ;D ;D
I really hope that this section gets to stay here as a good resource and am confident that we can keep it here as long as we stay positive (and maybe not post until we have been a few times to make sure it was not a one off etc.
Ive already passed on a few recommendations to a work colleague is is going interstae for twoo weeks for training.
Shannon mentioned "subjective" and as I havenr personally tried any of those places, I used the same word but hes going to give some a go.
I wouldnt be recommending them to him if I didnt trust you lot just a little. *;)
P.S. Funny point that Hazel doesnt qualify to post in the new section. * ;D
The other snobs and I can see if she qualifies to be put in the new section when we goto her "Flint & Steel" store-front opening on Saturday ;D A big stab in the dark here, but Im guessing shell pass.Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1218367835/0#18 date=1218603526
One other thing that ive just picked up, is that its a "Good Coffee Where?" guide, not a cafe/espresso bar guide. Theres a difference there. So maybe things such as food and ambience arent so important..... I know some great specialty roasters around where itd suck to have a sit down coffee next to the shop roaster, but would fit nicely into the Good Coffee Where part.
Just a thought anyway.
Thanks to Luca for an excellent "how to do" guide. I agree completely that if we focus on what is good, without using a formal rating system, and also avoid any bad reviews, then it should be a great resource. Hopefully the mods can idenntify any posts which bbreak these two golden rules and immediately remove them. Looking forward to using this even though it will be some time before I could post to it.
Wouldnt it be fantastic if every cafe served up a close to perfect shot every time. Im out and about a lot and get so peeved at the quality(lack of) of most places I go to.
When I find a goodie I want to do the big rave but alas most of my friends would drink anything,. Unfortunately It will be a while before I can post an opinion/review.
True, the other thing you can always do is to get another CSr with >50 posts to post for you.... a buddy system if you like.Unfortunately It will be a while before I can post an opinion/review
Im only going to disagree with luca on 1/7th of his points, but I could just be playing Devils Advocate.
For the Not AU places, e.g. non-local haunts, I think creating reviews to bag a place isnt necessarily a bad idea. For if youre travelling to an area and are a coffeesnob, you dont try the random cafe assuming that it
a) wasnt found
b) was found but wasnt tried
c) wasnt to person Xs taste but might be to yours.
If we assume that the basis of a review is the Sydney or Melbourne artisan cafe standard, so a latte is served in a glass with milk more stretched than a flat white, that a ristretto is shorter than an espresso and that a single espresso is 25-30ml of coffee, and that review points are more about extraction (over-extraction/blonding/no crema) and meeting some kind of standard or local interpretation of the standard, then a review which says "in this rural place, this cafes coffee was this way and this cafes coffee was another way" is a useful indicator to us.
Personally, and Ive got a few motives for cafe reviewing, I try to make sure any review I do carries a picture, even if its a poor one. This picture ideally has
1) The drink Im sipping on
2) The cafes name on their business card, menu or decor
3) A shot which makes the location identifiable and verifiable.
The reason for this is that while my opinion is always subjective, I think its a positive to show that I went in, bought a cup and drank what I reviewed (or tried to), which prevents me from slating a cafe based purely on reputation.
PS. The picture is of a Cafe Latte in Wannabes in Barmouth, Wales, UK. This is the only place in Barmouth that serves espresso, and it uses a boutique roaster to produce......icebergs! Isnt this worth knowing before you order three of them?