Hot off the Internet
The net is hot, hot, hot, these days. And one of the hottest topics on the net is coffee. From brewing styles, to recipes, to how much caffeine there is in your morning blend, the web can tell you everything you want to know about your favorite hot brew. Where is the best coffee shop in Philadelphia? Check the web. Looking for a new coffee machine? You'll find dozens on the web. Want an opinion about a particular coffee? Ask the web. Thinking about roasting your own beans? The web will tell you how. You can also mail-order beans and equipment for delivery to Japan, subscribe to coffee newsletters, and chat with other coffee drinkers in cafes that exist only on-line.
Here are a few sites to get you started. Happy browsing!
Java Link http://www.thunder.ocis.temple.edu/~ghinkle/java.html
A virtual library for coffee buffs, with 226 links to other coffee sites, you'll find everything from coffee history to coffee shops to mail order houses to...well, just about anything that has anything to do with coffee. The site is updated frequently, so be sure to bookmark it and check back regularly. Also be sure to check out the Coffee FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
Mother City Espresso http://www.halcyon.com/zipgun/mothercity/index.html
A description of coffee culture in the Seattle area. Reviews of a few Seattle coffee shops, places to order beans, etc., but the real value of this site is page describing espresso terminology, including terms found only in the Seattle area.
Formerly called cybercafe, this ambitious site is currently being redone. When finished, it could become the class act of the internet coffee world. At the moment, the Java World page lists all of the countries that produce coffee. Selecting a country gives you a complete description of the coffees of that country. A database containing thousands of coffee related sites and vendors is also available.
Circus Espresso Bars
Imagine a double-decker London bus fitted out as a mobile espresso bar. Too late, someone's done it! And it's now roaming around Lake Louise, Canada! This site shows you pictures of the famous Lake Louise espresso bus, as well as tells you how to order your own bus.
Kevin Sinnott's Coffee Companion
Samples from this coffee guru's fun and highly-opinionated newsletter. Facts, stories, reviews, techniques, and more. The printed 16-page news-letter can be ordered on-line.
Over the Coffee
Facts, stories, opinions, recipes, tutorials, etc. Also offers a searchable directory of coffee vendors, and an international coffee conference page for exchanging notes with other coffee lovers.
Seattle's Best Coffee (SBC)
One of Seattle's most popular roaster/ coffee shop chains is now one of the first with a mail order site, offering beans, machines, accessories, gifts, and tips on how to make great coffee. I like the environmentally friendly unbleached paper filter background.
E&S Online Gourmet Coffee Shop
This is one of the first local sites featuring high-end coffees. They offer a variety of straight and flavored coffees from Peerless, a San Francisco roaster, plus selected brewing equipment. Information is in both English and Japanese.
Hawaii's Best Espresso Company
Hawaii's Best Espresso used to have a coffee shop. Now they have a web page. This fun site tells that story, plus the story of coffee in Hawaii. Oh, and yes, you can order just about any Hawaiian coffee you want, including such uniquely Hawaiian coffee flavors as macadamia nut chocolate!
Naturally, this is only a partial list of what can be found on the internet. If you have a favorite internet coffee site, send me the URL, and I'll include it in a future column.