For those of us in the specialty coffee business, it’s pretty common to want to find new shops and cafés whenever we travel (or heck, whenever we want to just head over to a new part of town.) And here at Barista Magazine, as you might expect, we get asked a lot about where to visit. The truth, however, is that often times we don’t really know. It’s a big world out there after all, and though it feels like we’re often on the go (and we are!), we really haven’t been everywhere. Not even close!
But Barista Magazine does have readers everywhere. And we know there are loads of great shops out there across the globe doing exceptional work producing fantastic cups of coffee! Whenever we hit the road, we do like to visit new cafes and try their tasty coffees.
Well, as with so many things, it turns out we are not alone. Alon Halevy, author of The Infinite Emotions of Coffee, also moonlights at Google. (Ok, he more than moonlights. He’s heavily involved in running Google Fusion Tables.) And he approached us to work together to build a database, map and app that would help coffee lovers find cafes wherever they traveled. And so Barista Magazine’s Coffee Scout Project was born!
But that’s only the beginning to he story. We need you to continue it!
Reflecting the open spirit, community-minded ethos, and interconnectedness of specialty coffee, we wanted to build a map that didn’t make judgements on who to include and who to exclude. We didn’t want to assign rankings or reviews. After all as the great philosopher, Macklemore said, One man’s trash is another man’s come up. Instead we wanted to build a tool that would allow everyone to participate. And thanks to a lot of help from early beta-testers, we’ve started building a worldwide map of cafes, but we’re nowhere near finished.
It’s really simple to add your cafe. You just place your cafe on the map, and after that answer a few questions about your shop (ie. hours, brew methods, coffee served, etc.). Hit submit. And that’s it! Your cafe is added, and when people visit Coffee Scout’s home at baristamagazine.com or use the mobile app on their iPhone, your cafe will pop up.
Users can search for cafes based on city, intersection or their current location. Future versions will allow for greater searchablity (for example, the user could look for all cafes in a city that use a specific coffee or brew method.) And we will get a version of the app for Android users out soon!
To keep it simple, fast, and free, Coffee Scout’s database is pretty straightforward, and when you’re adding your cafe to it, you really are interacting directly with the Google Fusion Tables that run the whole thing. So for now we’re not able to include photos, but when you enter your cafes website, for example, that becomes a live link so that users can call up your cafe on the app and then follow the link to your homepage or your social media.
So please join us and get your cafe on the map! Barista Magazine’s Coffee Scout Project will work the best with the more people we get to participate, and as it grows it will help us all find great coffee experiences no matter where we go!