The Coffee Trip iPhone App is Available

The Coffee Trip iPhone app appeared in the iTunes store for the first time yesterday. We have been quietly working on this app for some time now. If you have an iPhone and have an interest in specialty coffee – either professionally or as an enthusiast – I think you will enjoy this app. And it’s free.

There are a lot of Coffee Finder applications in the iTunes store that have nothing to do with specialty coffee – showing lists of businesses from a Yellow Pages search on Coffee Shops or lists of locations of major coffee chains. The Coffee Trip app is the first one that works off of a carefully-researched, national database of independent specialty coffee shops and roasters. It also includes some nice features to search. If you don’t find a cafe or roaster that should be in there, please let us know.

Here are some highlights of the capabilities:

  • You can search for cafes that serve coffee from a particular roaster
  • You can search for a cafe or roaster by name or any part of a name
  • You can search for cafes or roasters within a certain distance from your current location or any address
  • A cafe or roaster can easily post updates to their detail page from their account on the Coffee Trip web site to feature daily coffee offerings or events
  • You can get detailed driving, walking, or mass transit directions from your current location or any address to a particular cafe or roaster

If you get a chance, please take a moment to download the app and if you enjoy it, I hope you’ll have time to write a positive review.

 We are already working on the next version.  I expect it to be available within a few weeks.  Among other things, you’ll be able to tag favorites, show your iPhone favorites lists of cafes and roasters, see which cafes and roasters are the most popular, and more.  We’ll also show additional detail information for each cafe and roaster.

In the near future, we will release a mobile-formatted web site that will provide similar functionality for non-iPhone mobile devices.

You can take a look at some screen shots in the iTunes store here.

Thanks.
Mike

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New Blogs Page on Coffee Trip

We have a new Blogs page on Coffee Trip. If you write about specialty coffee and would like your blog featured on Coffee Trip, let us know. We intend to rotate this list as we get requests. We can display your RSS feed and point to your blog.

Thanks.
Mike

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Specialty Coffee Books

We have assembled a fairly comprehensive list of coffee books available on Amazon.com – complete with description and link to the Amazon detail page. The list is searchable by both title and description. If you have any book that you would like us to add or feature, just drop me a note.

Thanks.
Mike

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Cafes and Roasters Can Link to Rave Reviews on Coffee Trip

Here is a new feature that is great for cafe owners.  If you have claimed your listing in Coffee Trip, you can select reviews to include in a web page that you can easily link to from your web site.  You can publish this list on the web site for your cafe or roastery as a “rave reviews” page.  Simply select the Business Accounts option in the Profile section of Coffee Trip and create a review page by tagging favorable reviews of your business to include on the page.  Then simply include the link to that page on your web site with a heading that reads something like “Rave Reviews.”

As always, contact me if you have any questions about using this new feature.

Thanks.
Mike

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Multiple Favorites Lists of Cafes and Roasters

As promised, we have enhanced the “My Favorites” feature to provide the capability to maintain multiple lists of favorites.  These lists are managed from the Profile option in the upper right of the Home Page.  You do need to have an account and be logged in to create and maintain lists of favorites.  You can create a Title and Description for each Favorite list, as well as define the sort order for the list of cafes or roasters.

Here’s a highlight of a few uses for the Favorites feature:

  • If you write about coffee and frequently include a review of a coffee shop or roaster, you can use Coffee Trip to store these notes and then easily publish these notes with a simple link to that particular Favorites page.  The great thing about using this feature in Coffee Trip is that all of the relevant contact information for the café or roaster will automatically appear along with your notes so you don’t have to keep track of it or type it.  You can choose to include a formal rating or just show your notes.  If you are looking for publicity for your blog or publication and have an interesting Favorites list to share, let us know so we can publish it on the Coffee Trip Favorites page.  This has two benefits – you get to promote your blog or publication and other Coffee Trip members can benefit from seeing your selection of Favorites.
  • If you are a roaster, you might choose to mark every place that offers your coffee in a Favorites list and then easily add a link to your web site of that list to let visitors to your web site know where they can find your coffee.
  • If you are a specialty coffee enthusiast you can keep separate favorites lists for Cafes you have visited, cafes you want to visit, favorite roasters, and even separate lists by geographical areas.  Of course you can also write reviews of each cafe or roaster to share with other Coffee Trip members.

If you have any questions about this or any feature, please feel free to drop me a note.  I’ll be happy to guide you through it.

Thanks.
Mike

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Publish Your List of Favorite Specialty Coffee Shops on CoffeeTrip

We just updated the CoffeeTrip web site to include a new feature to be able to publish your list of favorite cafes and roasters.  Here are the steps to use the new feature:

  • Select the Find a Cafe or Roaster option from the main menu bar and select your favorite cafes or roasters simply by clicking the ‘Add to Favorites’ link on the right side of any cafe or roaster.
  • At any point you can select the Profile option at the upper right of the page and then select the My Favorites option.
  • There is now an Edit option toward the top-center of the page.  This will let you enter a title and description for your favorites page.
  •   You can choose to include any reviews you may have made decide whether or not to include the rating you posted.  This is a great feature if you would like to add notes about the cafe you visited.  Just create a review for each cafe to enter the notes.  You can choose to suppress the rating if you just want to show the notes.
  • You can also sort the list by one of the following: the cafe name, the city (which is really sorted first by the state and then by the city, or the ratings.
  • You can choose to view the page at any time.  When you are all set you can copy the link and paste it into your own web site or blog to publish your list of cafes.  As you add new cafes or reviews your list will automatically be updated.

This feature can be great for roasters to publish a list of cafes that are serving their coffee.  Just paste the link as an option on your web site.

In the near future, we will be enhancing this feature to let you maintain multiple favorite lists.  This will let you keep separate lists for geographical regions, cafes you might want to visit, creating a quick list as a recommendation for a friend,  or any other reason you might need. 

We welcome any suggestions for feature enhancements.  Just let us know what you think.

Thanks.
Mike

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Hello Specialty Coffee World

Hello World. In old school software programming classes, that phrase was typically the goal of an assignment on the first day of class. The professor would have you create a software program that displayed those two words on the computer screen.

So let me change it a bit here and say “Hello Specialty Coffee World” as I start this blog to chronicle the introduction and progression of a new web site, www.coffeetrip.com. The software reference is from a background in software and also because the Coffee Trip web site is powered by a fairly sophisticated piece of software.

Among other things, Coffee Trip is a searchable database of cafes and roasters that offer specialty coffee. The idea being that whether you’re making coffee at home or looking for coffee on the road, Coffee Trip can help you find great specialty coffee. If you’re new to the term “specialty coffee,” there’s a definition of it in the “Learn” section on the Coffee Trip web site.

We are introducing the site complete with a starting database of cafes and roasters that we spent several months researching — some in person and most via the individual cafe or roaster web sites. My goal was to introduce a site that has some value on day one. I’m confident that the database will grow properly as Coffee Trip users start suggesting and reviewing cafes around the world. I know the site works and is useful because I have used it myself over the past couple of months prior to going live with the site this week. However, there are currently gaps outside of major cities.

As a start, this past week we mailed out an invitation for cafes to log in and update the information that we have in the database. We’re hoping cafes will include any events they are hosting, the roaster they use, and even the individual coffees. These are all searchable on the site. As a next step, we will invite roasters to log in as well.

Over the next few weeks, we have a few more things to take care of prior to inviting the general public for a formal go-live date on October 15, 2010. Let me list a few of the items we will be adding:

1. More informative messages and help text throughout the site. We have some fine-tuning to do over the next few weeks. It’s working pretty well, but it will get better. And where needed, we’re going to include help text.

2. Tool for bloggers. While there is already a feature to mark cafes and roasters as favorites, we are working on a feature to create multiple favorite lists for different purposes. This tool will work great for bloggers who write about their visits. They can mark them in Coffee Trip and link from their web site to a custom page on Coffee Trip that only has their list and comments. Roasters can use the same feature to provide a link on their web site that launches a customized page of a list of cafes that serve their coffee. If you choose to publish one of your lists on Coffee Trip, you will be able to include information about you or your business, complete with a link to your web site.

3. Comprehensive list of books about coffee. The list is compiled and we are in the process of formatting it for the site to include searching capabilities in the titles, summary, and categories.

4. Making the site more local-aware. Currently, the site remembers where you are from your user profile. Or you can change the location during your web session simply by entering a new location in the “Near” field of the search. We’re going to do more about displaying relevant cafes, roasters, and events on the pages without users even having to search.

5. And of course a mobile component. We’re expecting to introduce a nice mobile application in the very near future.

So that’s it for now. If you find a problem or have a suggestion for the site at www.coffeetrip.com, there is a link at the bottom of every page to make a suggestion. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.
Mike

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