How I Connect With The Coffee World
I use a number of methods to connect with the greater world of coffee. The goal is to maintain a consistent and purposeful message and to get that message in front of people who are interested in the same topics I am and ultimately make some form of meaningful connection, at some level. Some days I’m better at it than others…
In addition to this blog, I also use Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Currently, most of my focus is on the supply side of the value chain because I have a unique opportunity to live in a producing region and I figure I should take full advantage of that proximity. Therefore you’ll see a lot of pictures and videos of coffee production. A lot of what I am researching and learning is production-centric as well, so you’ll see blog posts and links in Twitter to subjects about production and processing of coffee and even about consumption of coffee in a producing country (something that I feel is important).
You can use the social media icons above to jump to a specific section or read the whole page from here and connect with various social media using links below.
While not technically social media, I do use and contribute to Wikipedia a lot and behind the scenes it can be quite social. I use it to initiate research and I also contribute by adding and editing articles. For example, I created the article for Starmaya coffee and I have contributed heavily to the aricle for coffee leaf rust.
I currently have great, student access to research and study papers through Colorado State University and I’m taking advantage of that by updating various coffee articles on wiki with some of the latest research I’ve found.
First and formost I use this blog to share the bulk of my message. Here I have an unlimited character-count and space with which to work. I can link to other articles on this blog, other blogs or websites, or other social media very easily. And I can labor over every statement if I so chose, to make my message as clear as possible. In the blog I cover a wide range of topics from the farmers’ experience to product reviews (not so much anymore) to additional content spun off from original content (like podcast-style audio and transcriptions of interviews).
The most-read content on the blog is the technical articles about my HotTop roaster. I’ve done a few modifications to the roaster over the years and the articles detailing how I made those mods are very popular, though I wish some of my other content was as popular. Maybe it just needs to be discovered and shared by the right person (you maybe?).
I consider this blog to be a ‘living document’ in that I frequently update information. As I learn more about coffee, I often update existing articles with new information. I try to do this as transparently as possible. At the bottom of each article you’ll see an ‘updated’ entry indicating the last time that article has been edited. I’ll also often add at the top of the article a small blurb about what I edited, if it’s significant. And I never drastically alter the main message of an article with a modification. In those cases I’ll create a new document, as I did with an article I wrote five years about about the three phases of a roast, titled Anatomy of a Roast. That article has been superseded by Understanding The Roast Profile.
The majority of the images I post on Instagram are coffee-related and not personal in nature. I will occasionally post something not coffee-related because I understand some people may be interested in things about me other than coffee, but since I am quite boring, those posts are few and far-between.
Because I live in a producing region, I post a lot of pictures of production, and for a couple of reasons: 1) there is a lot of beauty in coffee production and 2) a lot of my followers are in consuming countries and don’t get to see production up-close-and-personal. I try to expalin things I’ve learned along the way or share some interesting tid-bits about what’s in the pictures.
View this post on Instagram
Not all coffee cherries 🍒 turn red when ripe. The cherries on this bourbon variety will turn yellow or orange (I’m not sure which variety this was; orange or yellow bourbon). . . . #coffee #coffeelife #coffeetime #coffeeporn #coffeegram #specialtycoffee #coffeebreak #coffeelifestyle #coffeeart #caffeine #coffeeaddict #coffeeoftheday #instacoffee #but1stcoffee #ilovecoffee #coffeeshots #thirdwavecoffee
I have a channel on YouTube, which I have big plans for in the near future. For now, there are some vlog-style videos that I have experimented with, some videos showing coffee machines in action, as well as interviews I’ve done of people holding various positions within the coffee value chain. My future plans for YouTube include more interviews as well as more videos from the coffee fields, since I’ll soon be living a short motorbike-ride away.
I also use Twitter, mainly to provide an aggregator of coffee news for followers. I have found that Twitter lists are a great way to follow a lot of different people and organizations without getting all of their content fed into my main timeline. To read Twitter, I use Hootsuite a lot because it allows me to create several virtual timelines or feeds based on lists, searches, and other criteria and I can further filter those individual feeds. For example, I have a Twitter list of global orgs that may have a connection to coffee, but coffee isn’t their primary focus. I can then filter that feed by the word ‘coffee.’ Hootsuite helps me to get a bigger picture of Twitter and see what people are interested in or talking about right now.
I use Buffer to schedule posts days in advance so that the tweets trickle out when Buffer knows they’ll have the greatest chance of being seen and read based on my followers. Scheduling posts allows me to stick with a theme so that over the course of a few days, my followers can see several posts about a given topic.
1/ This time next week I'll be in #CostaRica learning about this first-hand! “The [Nama Café] project has caused a type of awakening in our ministry,” says Gabriel Umana head of #coffee at Costa Rica’s ministry of agriculture https://t.co/O6JZBfCMvv #sustainability (Daily thread) pic.twitter.com/JClNqYH4QY— Michael Wright (@OilSlickCoffee) February 5, 2019
I do engage in conversations occasionally on Twitter and try to always respond when someone has intereacted with one of my tweets, but I mostly use it to share coffee articles and news I find interesting. However, I am becoming increasingly leery of interaction on Twitter because it’s too easy for a conversation to get derailed and lose context, especially if the topic is contentious. It’s not that I want to avoid certain subjects or not engage with others. It’s just that in my experience (and in many others’ experience as well) the culture of Twitter just doesn’t allow for productive discussion or debate.
My greatest connection with the coffee world is via online resources. That’s the only way to connect with a very large number of people all interested in the same topic. I use different tools for different purposes but all with the same stategy; to connect and communicate with others with similar interests. So let’s connect!