A bit of a kick in the seat of his pants got Mark thinking about getting back to the roots of what his column space on CoffeeGeek is supposed to be all about - but it took readers, our content editor, and a lot of re-reading of the website to get there... maybe.
MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,655 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
Espresso: KvdW Speedster Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder Vac Pot: A bit too many Drip: Bonavita Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2007, 3:16am Subject: Re: Kickstarting the Rant & Rave by Mark Prince
One additional thought not in the article:
What was hovering around in my brain during the writing of this article, but never really put to words is that I write a LOT of stuff online. Too much in fact. Typing over 90wpm helps me get all my thoughts on the screen, but often too long for people to read. So I spread it out, here and there.
Some of the stuff I write here in the forums with new thread starters, or over at coffeed, or as a comment on a blog is perhaps content better suited for article space (with more reasoned thinking that goes along with the process of writing an article vs. firing off a forum post), and maybe that's where my "voice" on this website, as some of the commenters over on the CoffeeKid.com story mentioned, is missing.
One prime example that comes to mind - last January, a story broke about a chocolatier that had some of the world's most expensive chocolate (prices at least), but was using questionable ingredients. I started a thread over on Coffeed about this, and talked about how we have similar problems in the world of coffee - more so with the so called "blenders" (profit only driven capitalists who wouldn't know quality if it punched them in the nose), than with the upper tier true specialty coffee roasters.
But as part of the thread, something that was on my mind last year, and even more so this year - confusion by consumers over recognized "brand" names in coffee - and namely, Esmeralda Especiale. How, when I put an Esmeralda Especiale second lot offering on the Holiday Gift List, I had some confused consumers email me asking if it was the auction winning coffee, or not. I mentioned this on the Coffeed thread, and started a small hailstorm of minor bitterness from supporters of that roaster, because, well, how dare I even imply that said roaster may be misrepresenting or purposely confusing their consumers (for the record, I never implied that last year).
This year, it's even worse - I know of two specific cafes / roasters who are telling their customers that the second lot Esmeralda they have on tap or for sale is "just as good as the auction lot", or even claims that Price Peterson himself delivered it from his own cache. It's such a story, that I'll probably be covering it more in detail in the next Rant and Rave.
The point I'm trying to make is this - one thing I'll probably do less of is start up long (winded lol) debates and discussions elsewhere online and even in CG forums (with fresh threads), and start putting more of those thoughts and ideas into articles for the front page. It means they'll be tempered somewhat (for eg, because the roaster / cafe thing is hearsay re this year's Esmeralda, I can't name the business), and it means that instead of just throwing outright accusations, I'll have to write these things with more of a watchdog generalistic approach that says "here's things you should look out for" instead of "here's business A doing this".
Anyway, I'd love to hear everyone's comments on this article - the good and the bad.
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2007, 7:04am Subject: Re: Kickstarting the Rant & Rave by Mark Prince
Mark, For me your articles and websites are a glimpse into a world I will probably never get to experience in person. They are important to me and most likely others whose paths and personal life responsibilities limits their participation in an arena (coffee) that is so interesting and filled with interesting people. Your soul searching in trying to find how and what to write and in a manner to offend the least and inform the most most likely cannot be done. I suggest that you continue to be you and write as you see fit keeping in mind I and others enjoy the articles and info that are found on your web sites and other forums. The "single origin" Mark Prince is preferable to the blend.
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2007, 5:35pm Subject: Re: Kickstarting the Rant & Rave by Mark Prince
I fall into that category CoffeeGeeker who likes most of what you're writing and choosing to put on the site -- not necessarily because it aligns with what I like but because it's about a subject that I've come to adore because of the site and the articles that have an edge to them. For instance, you and I would never agree about the value of single-origin espresso shots, but I love the discussion. I always learn something from it.
From what I can tell by lurking on the forums, I think many CoffeeGeekers can compartmentalize like that. Who knows -- maybe that's naive.
All I know is, my wife blames YOU for the $700 in machinery hogging the kitchen counter; I thank you. It's your opinions and insight -- and how informed they are -- that drew me in and got me started. That's a pretty cool thing. The columns, infrequent as they are, deliver that stuff. I'm now interested in the controversies, the different approaches and the value of getting the basics right.
But, I'm beggin' ya, more updated content! I've heard you remark before about how people are basically missing the meat of the site by bypassing the front page and heading straight to the forums. I'm guilty of that to some degree, though I have to say the site goes un-updated for long periods of time. I feel bad even complaining about this, because I don't pay you any money for all this content, and I can only guess at the time and effort it takes to maintain and update Web sites. (I would pay, though. Ugh. Can't believe I typed that.)
Posted Wed Aug 22, 2007, 5:15am Subject: Re: Kickstarting the Rant & Rave by Mark Prince
Mark, That article covered a lot of bases of what I have been thinking about the site.
The coffeegeek frontpage is key to me. Countless times I have hit the front page only to be disappointed with no new reviews or guides etc. They are the reason I came to the site in the first place, and the reason I still come to the site.
While I welcome any new articles penned by your good self, until some of these articles make it to the site, I cannot say whether they will satiate my appetite for the reviews and/or guides.
Coffee_Cigarettes Senior Member Joined: 12 Aug 2007 Posts: 178 Location: X Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Wed Aug 22, 2007, 1:00pm Subject: Re: Kickstarting the Rant & Rave by Mark Prince
I am reminded of a Stephan Colbert interview with political blogger Markos Moulitsas (creator of Daily Kos). Most of the interview cenetered around that same idea that, just because one person posts something on a fourm it instantly reflects the thoughts and opinons of all of the sites creators/moderators/contributors.
Here is is on Youtube. I would try and watch it before Viacom takes it down.
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