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Frequently Asked Questions
The CoffeeGeek FAQ
1. What's the deal with CoffeeGeek?
2. How did CoffeeGeek start?
3. Who owns or runs CoffeeGeek today?
4. You still haven't answered the question - What is CoffeeGeek?
5. You mention "community features"... what is that?
6. How much will this website cost me?
7. Why do you ask for a "real" or private email address?
8. You also ask for a "public" email address. Why?
9. Why do I need to have a username when signing up?
10. Why do you ask for my real first and last name?
11. What do I do if I forgot my password?
12. How do I change my CoffeeGeek username, password, or other info?
13. I use a public and/or shared computer - how do I log out?
14. How come I can't... (write a review, post comments, etc)
15. I'm logged in - how do I... (write reviews, post comments, vote, etc)
16. Detailed Reviews, First Looks, Quichshot? What's the deal?
17. What does this "ranking" mean on my profile page or on my reviews?
18. Why should I vote on reviews, articles, etc etc?
19. How are reviews "featured"? How do I get my review featured?

1. What's the deal with CoffeeGeek?

The deal is, we're a community of coffee and espresso lovers, and the CoffeeGeek website gives people, both consumers and folks in the coffee industry, a place to hang out, read, debate, write, or even ponder the finer aspects of coffee and espresso.

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2. How did CoffeeGeek start?

The CoffeeGeek website was born in the late fall of 2001, and was a graduation of sorts from another website. Mark Prince, CoffeeGeek's founder and senior editor, has another popular website, CoffeeKid (not to be confused with the amazing charity, CoffeeKids), and for a time, he hosted a place for the general public to come and post reviews on coffee and espresso products.

The problem is, the service and his website became too popular - monthly hosting was costing a pretty penny and then some. With no ads to support the site, Prince, along with his company WebMotif Net Services Inc., began planning and building CoffeeGeek, with the intention of housing the consumer reviews, but providing a lot more commentary, professional reviews, and eventually, a full slate of community features.

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3. Who owns or runs CoffeeGeek today?

We like to think our community as a whole owns CoffeeGeek, because the community drives a lot of the content on this website, and the communities' wants and demands are often met by the site "owners".

CoffeeGeek is a wholely owned subsidiary of WebMotif Net Services, Inc., a Vancouver, British Columbia based web and software development company. CoffeeGeek was entirely designed and programmed by WebMotif, including the current Version 2 - every element on this site is either programmed, coded, or designed by WebMotif.

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4. You still haven't answered the question - What is CoffeeGeek?

Okay, you got us. As mentioned above, CoffeeGeek is what is commonly known as a "community" website, one that allows active participation by people from around the world. CoffeeGeek's main purpose is to inform, educate and entertain coffee and espresso lovers from around the world.

Our primary concern with CoffeeGeek is creating and maintaining the ultimate destination online or off for the coffee and espresso loving persion. This includes industry people as well as your typical Joe Consumer looking to find out just a bit more about brewing a better cup.  We beat any industry publication or trade journal in terms of monthly readers, but we're never satisfied - we want the world to learn about better coffee. It's going to take some time.

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5. You mention "community features"... what is that?

We're glad you asked! CoffeeGeek is a community website, and this means you play an active roll in making the website "live and breathe". We rely on you to post reviews for products you own. We rely on you to participate (if you want) in various discussion boards and forums. We rely on you to vote on reviews, articles, columns, almost anything, in order to help some of the automation features on this website, and to help other visitors know what the best reviews and articles are. Basically, you are this website, and all its features. You're part of the community.

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6. How much will this website cost me?

Well, some may argue in our forums that reading CoffeeGeek can result in a lot of expenditures on your credit cards, but that money doesn't go to us - it goes to espresso machine companies cashing in on your upgrade lust :)

But the real answer is: Absolutely nothing. CoffeeGeek.com is supported by paid advertising and the sweat, tears, and dedication of the folks behind the site. If you are a visitor, you can view almost every single page on the website. If you are a signed on member (no cost), you not only get to view every page on the site, but you also get to participate in the community functions of the website.

Eventually, CoffeeGeek will have a "Premium Member" service, which value added services not yet seen on the website, but rest assured - every page on content on our website will be free access to all, for the foreseeable future.

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7. Why do you ask for a "real" or private email address?

When a person signs up as a CoffeeGeek member, we require a real and valid email address, one we hope you'll be keeping for a while. We need this for several reasons:

  • to send a confirmation email to you
  • to send you notifications (if you select them in your edit member profile page), and
  • to contact you in case you've won something.

We recognize people are wary of providing their real email addresses when signing up for things, so we also ask you to provide a public email address (optional) which will be displayed to all on your profile page.

But the real, private email address we also ask you for? The private one truly is private, and will never be displayed on the website, sold, catalogued, or otherwise used in any way. We completely respect peoples' wishes to keep their real and daily email addresses private. Spam is a huge problem (our senior editor gets about 1,800 a day these days) and we don't want to contribute any more to that than already exists.

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8. You also ask for a "public" email address. Why?

While we require a real and valid email address (your "private" address), we also are very aware you probably don't want your real and personal email address plastered all over the internet. So we ask for two email addresses - the private one, which is held secure in our site database, and the public one.

This public email is for use on your profile page, on your forum postings, and is the email address you want people to see if they want to contact you. As such, you can choose to use a third party source (like hotmail.com), or your can munge up the address, so spambots don't get the goods, but real humans can. Some examples may include:

yourname@removethis.website.com
remove.this.yourname@website.com.removethis

CoffeeGeek respects your privacy, and wants to try and help prevent any extra spam coming your way. But being that this is a community, it's cool when you can let other people know how to email you - your public address does this.

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9. Why do I need to have a username when signing up?

CoffeeGeek uses a "username" and "password" login system to allow our site members to access the full functionality of the website. Your username is also used in our forums as your "handle" for any postings you make.

CoffeeGeek has a voluntary "real names" policy in place, where we encourage all new members and existing members to use their real names in one or more of three places: in your forum signature file (which can be edited by clicking the "settings" link on any forum page once you're logged in), on your profile page (which is not indexed by search engines, and is very private), or by using your real name as your username. Mark Prince is the Senior editor of this website, and his username is "MarkPrince". You can choose to use your first name and last initial, first initial and last name, whatever you choose is fine, as long as you volunteer to adhere to a real names policy.

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10. Why do you ask for my real first and last name?

We'll be brutally honest with you here.

Forcing people to supply real names, and a real address (and an email confirmation system before your membership is active) serves one purpose real well, and no, it's not to collect information to sell to anyone.

It makes for a better community.

It's a proven fact. If people have to submit their real names, real email addresses, and other personal information, they tend to post more intelligently, with less "flaming" than they would if the forums and website allowed anonymous posting.

We have other reasons too - and again, no, we're not cataloging your names and contact info to sell to some marketing company (read our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policies to see how serious we are about protecting your info). Some of the other reasons include niceties like publishing a real person's name when they write a consumer review. We made the design and philisophical decision to attach a real name to any reviews that are written. Whether real or not, a "real name" attached to a review lends credibility to those reviews - Who's review, on the surface at least, would you rather read: Jason Paterson's Review of the Rancilio Silvia, or godcoffee42's Review of the Rancilio Silvia :)

We also use your first name and or your last name in certain templates, email feedback systems etc to give it that more "personal" touch, even though it's all automated. :) Hey, perception is reality sometimes.

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11. What do I do if I forgot my password?

Just click on the forgot password link located in the red and white "Interactive" segment of every webpage (located at the top of the right hand column on most pages). We'll ask you some basic questions to confirm your identity, then send you the information to the email address listed in your account.

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12. How do I change my CoffeeGeek username, password, or other info?

Got married recently? :)

If you are logged into the website, you'll see, in the Interactive area (top of the right side column on most pages, or in the white top portion in forums) two links: view profile, and edit profile. By clicking edit profile, you have the ability to change almost anything about your account - your username, your password, your preferences, your email addresses, your bio, news, and even your first and last name - congrats, btw, if you need a last name change :)

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13. I use a public and/or shared computer - how do I log out?

If you are using a public or shared computer, you should always sign out to clear your CoffeeGeek login and cookie from the computer's hard drive. Just click the Logout Out link on any page (in the red and white interactive area at the top of the right column, or the whitespace areas in forums).

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14. How come I can't... (write a review, post comments, etc)

While anyone can view any page on the CoffeeGeek website, you have to be a member, and be signed in to post a consumer review, vote on articles and reviews, comment on reviews, or participate in our forums. If you have a CoffeeGeek membership, log in, and you'll see new options on most pages that allow you to participate.

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15. I'm logged in - how do I... (write reviews, post comments, vote, etc)

On most of the pages on CoffeeGeek, there are two different "looks", depending on whether or not you're logged in as a member. When you are logged in, all of a sudden, you see little boxes going from 0 to 10 which, after you click one, places a "vote" on the quality of a review, article, or consumer review. You'll also see Read | Write hyperlinks on most columns and professional reviews - read shows you comments. Write lets you leave a comment.

In addition, if you are surfing around our consumer reviews, and find a product you own and want to review, on the product listing page and on individual product reviews by our consumer-members, you will see big green boxes saying "write a review for this product".

Look around the rest of the site - lots of goodies and stuff show up when you're logged in as a member!

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16. Detailed Reviews, First Looks, Quichshot? What's the deal?

CoffeeGeek publishes a range of detailed, professional reviews and first looks. In addition, we now have a "QuickShot" review for smaller or inexpensive coffee and espresso items and accessories that don't qualify for our normal Detailed Review process.

We have set goals to provide honest, hard hitting, and objective product reviews that provide you with a reading experience that is akin to actually owning and using the product. We try really hard to evaluate every product in a fair and even way from the standpoint of who the product is targeted to. This means that we will evaluate a machine like the Francis! Francis! X1 quite differently from a Mini Grimac or a Rancilio S27 commercial catering machine.

Some questions have been raised to us about the detailed review process, and what goes on behind the scenes. Simply put, a vendor or manufacturer sends us one or more products, covering all costs - the shipping, taxes and duties, and the machine costs as well - once CoffeeGeek is sent a product, it becomes the property of this website.

CoffeeGeek then puts approximately 120 hours into evaluating, examining, photographing, and writing up a product for our First Look and Detailed Review process. QuickShot reviews get approximately 10 to 20 hours of labour and testing to produce those mini reviews.

Currently, we charge no fees to product suppliers for this service to vendors, providing them a showcase for exceptional products (or a B-Stage for terrible products - remember - we don't hold back any punches). Suppliers have no editorial control over the content of our detailed reviews. They can make suggestions, point out factual errors (which we will correct), and offer us alternative ways to possibly fix a problem we've pointed out in the review, but in the end, CoffeeGeek exercises full editorial control over the words in the review.

Our goal is to make CoffeeGeek Professional Reviews the best and most trusted source on the planet for evaluative, exhaustive even, reviews on coffee and espresso equipment and accessories.

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17. What does this "ranking" mean on my profile page or on my reviews?

When you write reviews for the CoffeeGeek website, other visitors can rate your reviews. We have this system in place for various reasons (see Why Do I Need to Vote on Reviews etc in this FAQ). When someone views your Profile page or other pages you've created on this site, they will see an overall ranking for you. This ranking is the averaged number of ratings your reviews have received. The higher your ratings, the higher your site ranking are, overall.

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18. Why should I vote on reviews, articles, etc etc?

We ask you to vote on all these things because the CoffeeGeek website in many ways is highly automated. Higher ranking reviews get featured more often on the front pages and on the main category pages as well. Ditto for columnist articles and other content on this website. Your active participation in a truthful voting for reviews, tips and tricks, columnists, detailed reviews and the like will give us an accurate "featured" listing without any editorial intervention by the CoffeeGeek staff.

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19. How are reviews "featured"? How do I get my review featured?

Write a kick butt review!

Seriously though, like columnist articles and other parts of the site, your reviews are rated by your fellow CoffeeGeek members and visitors to this website. Higher rated reviews (not your rating of the product, but the visitors' rating of your words and what you typed) get featured on the various parts of the website more often. We use a formula that combines your review rating, the number of reviews for that product, and the date posted to create a list of twenty reviews. We then randomly pick three of them for display on the front page, and 1 to 5 of them on other parts of the website.

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