I wrote a whole post about the "barista community" earlier this week and I completely neglected to mention Barista Exchange!
So I thought I would mention my favorite resources for coffee information online. There are some links in the sidebar, but I'd like to highlight some specific resources. Most of you are probably already familiar with these sites, but if you are new to the specialty coffee world or new to this little corner of the web, you'll find these places invaluable.
First of all, Matt Milletto founded Barista Exchange a while back, and as soon as he did so, I think everyone in the industry wondered why they hadn't thought of that first! Barista Exchange started as a way for baristas to learn about moonlighting gigs at other coffee shops, but it quickly morphed into an all-purpose interactive community that links specialty coffee professionals of all kinds (not just baristas!). If you are getting a start in specialty, I highly recommend getting an account there. And say hello to me while you are there!
Coffee Geek is the granddaddy of specialty coffee resources on the internet. Proprietor Mark Prince is a stalwart of the industry, and contributes data from his own experiments and product reviews to the site. But the real strength of Coffee Geek is the huge community of people that contribute to the boards. There are reviews of every product imaginable; and debates about everything under the sun that sometimes run for pages and pages. I recommend wading into Coffee Geek when you have a full cup already in front of you... you'll be finishing off your cup long before you make it through all the archives.
Where Coffee Geek is a loud, democratic site, the under-the-radar site for experts only is coffeed. Founder/moderator Alistair Durie has set up a forum with a membership of just a few hundred. The level of discourse is very high. These people are the ones at the very forefront of the specialty industry... running experiments, innovating, debating, and exchanging ideas. Topics are well-organized, and you can read essay-length posts in there from some of the most famous people in specialty coffee (also, a few hacks like yours truly). You must be a member to post on coffeed, and memberships is difficult to obtain. But anyone may read it, and if you like coffee, I highly recommend you do!