Saturday, August 9, 2014

Coffee resources for beginners

Posted By on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 8:24 AM

click to enlarge Indian Monsooned Malabar green coffee beans - ANGELA GREENBERG
  • Angela Greenberg
  • Indian Monsooned Malabar green coffee beans
When I wanted to learn more about coffee and roasting, I set out to find where the experts and other coffee fans were. I wanted to know what they were saying about coffee, what they thought of it, what they knew about it.

Sure, it’s easy to say, “I want to learn more about coffee,” but once you see just how much there is to learn, it can be a little overwhelming.

The following is a short list of resources I recommend if you’re just beginning to be interested in coffee and/or coffee roasting. These resources have been very helpful to me, and I hope they will be to you as well!

BOOKS
The Perfect Cup: A Coffee Lover's Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Tasting by Timothy Castle, and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival by Kenneth Davids, are two of the best to start off with. The first will introduce you to the world of coffee, assuming you know nothing about it; the second is an introduction to home roasting.

Green Coffee and Equipment for Home Roasting
If you want to start roasting on your own, you’ll need supplies. Burman Coffee Traders, Sweet Maria’s and The Coffee Project are my go-tos for green beans and home roasting equipment. Sign up for their newsletters and get the occasional coupons and special offers. (Though home roasting is cheaper than buying already roasted coffee, or buying already-made coffee drinks for the same amount of beans, take the savings when you can!)

Forums
When I’m looking for answers based on other people’s coffee experiences, or just want to see what other fans are talking about, I head to coffee forums like Barista Exchange or Coffee Geek. It’s a great way to get personably delivered answers to your specific questions, or to share your coffee knowledge. Personally, I’m most active on Coffee Forum — come chat with me!

Periodicals
I recommend CoffeeTalk and Fresh Cup Magazine. Though they appeal to commercial roasters and coffee businesses, as a hobbyist you’ll find interesting coverage on the latest industry news. CoffeeTalk offers free online and print issues, while Fresh Cup offers paid one- or two-year print subscriptions. Both are monthly publications.

Twitter
If you have a Twitter account, find and follow @CoffeeFestShow and @SpecialtyCoffee. Coffee Fest is a trade show primarily geared toward businesses that are just starting out, keeping you in the loop with all the latest and greatest products from its recent events, and serving up all things coffee. The Specialty Coffee Association of America is the world’s largest coffee trade association “dedicated to creating a vibrant specialty coffee community,” and offering helpful tips for roasters and home brewers of any skill level.

As in any hobby, it’s great to get to know and hang around those who share the same interests, to share ideas, and to learn from each other. Soaking up expert knowledge like a sponge and getting tips and tricks from people who have been there before will only make you fall in love with coffee even more, and you’ll soon find yourself becoming an “expert."

Angela Greenberg is a Christian, a veteran — now military wife — a homeschooling mom of four, and a coffee lover. She roasts coffee as a hobby and loves learning about coffee. You can follow her on Twitter (@tazzadiluna).

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