Coffee is loved all over the world and our heavy reliance on the magical bean is the key reason behind some astonishing statistics, such as the fact that the average U.S. worker spends over $1,000 on coffee every year.
Furthermore, did you know the coffee industry is worth over $100 billion worldwide, making it the second most valuable commodity behind oil? That coffee farms employ over 25 million people? Or, most amazingly, that over 500 billion cups of coffee are drank across the world every year?
Of those 500 billion cups, some will taste better than others. The insta-coffee from the mud machine in your office break room is never going to be as good as a slow-roasted brew from a small Vietnamese ranch. But not everyone has that luxury available.
Want a tastier dose of caffeine right in your own home? Here are some sites that will help you to make that improved cup of coffee with ease.
Transcend Coffee is a YouTube channel based out of Edmonton, Canada. Their content generally focuses on the sourcing, roasting, and brewing of high-quality coffee, though they also recently covered the “Regional Barista Championships”. (Don’t ask.)
They cover a wide range of topics, from how to clean your coffee machine to in-depth studies of different roasting methods. Very interesting and insightful no matter how much coffee knowledge you may or may not already have.
Typical video titles include “The Importance of Water in Coffee” and “How to Properly Weigh and Grind Your Coffee”, both of which are part of their ongoing playlist called “How to be a Coffee Connoisseur”.
The National Geographic Coffee website looks like it was created in the early 2000s, but it’s still full of great content.
The History section will guide through you from coffee’s origins in Africa to its introduction in Europe and all the way to its explosion in Latin America, while the Roast section teaches you about the different tastes, textures, and roasting styles of the world’s different beans.
The site also includes maps, links to old National Geographic articles about coffee, and even includes a forum for discussion.
One of the most important aspects of getting a quality brew in your own kitchen is the equipment you are using.
The problem is that there is so much gear to choose from. Coffee machines, coffee grinders, espresso machines, cappuccino makers! How do you decide which is best?
Coffee Detective aims to help you answer those questions. They have an incredible amount of content, from guides that establish which kind of machine(s) you’ll need all the way to product reviews of the latest releases from mainstream manufacturers.
The site also includes coffee recipes, information on how coffee can aid your overall health, tips on how to make the most of your brew, and an accompanying YouTube channel.
Daily Demitasse is one of the most extensive coffee blogs on the web. Jennifer, who runs the site, covers all of the usual stuff like brewing techniques and coffee history, but also has some other unique content as well.
Not only does she regularly host interviews with a wide range of people in the industry (everyone from humble baristas to CEOs of Kickstarter companies have been covered), but she also has an online shop and an library of articles from creative writers who have been inspired by coffee.
The man behind Coffee Nate has traveled the world in order to locate the best cup of coffee.
His search is still ongoing, but along the way he has amassed a wealth of knowledge and information – all of which he passes on to you through his site for free.
Content includes reviews of various world coffees, video and visual tutorials of various brewing methods, articles that detail how coffee is produced, processed, and packaged, and guides on how to save money when buying your beans.
He also has an accompanying YouTube channel and even offers a mini-series of articles in the form of a newsletter, which he promises will “absolutely transform your coffee experience”.
The National Coffee Association was founded back in 1911 and has since grown to become the main market research, consumer information, and lobby group for the coffee industry in the United States.
Their website is packed with useful information. For example, you can browse their Knowledge Center to learn everything there is to know about coffee, or head to their Events and Education Center to watch webinars, download videos, and subscribe to podcasts.
An “improved cup of coffee” doesn’t necessarily have to be referring to the taste – it could also refer to its provenance.
As any good coffee connoisseur knows, 90 percent of the world’s coffee production takes place in the “coffee belt” of developing countries. And because of the huge economic benefits, these countries often put profit before the environment.
Indeed, according to the World Wildlife Fund, 37 of the 50 countries with the highest deforestation rates are coffee producers.
Coffee and Conservation tries to shed some light on these issues. It has sections dedicated to climate impact, the effect of coffee production on rare birds that live in the same habitats, and the specific problems facing each individual coffee producing region, among others.
Use the site to learn how you can drink the right kind of coffee beans to help save the world.
Another big problem facing the wider coffee industry is the disparity between what you pay for a cup at Starbucks and what the producers get paid for growing and sourcing those beans.
Unfortunately, the coffee farmers in developing countries get a terrible deal. Research suggests that only $0.03 of every $1.00 spent on regular coffee makes its way back to the farmers, with middlemen such as exporters, buyers, and roasters sucking up the majority of profits.
If you buy Fairtrade coffee, that figure jumps from $0.03 to $0.15. The coffee goes straight from the farmer to a coffee cooperative, then to the retailer. It means the farmers can earn a living wage for their hard work and effort.
The coffee section of the Fairtrade website lists all their coffee producers around the world, explains what you can do to make sure people are fairly rewarded, and even has advice and information on how to get involved with the movement.