Proposal: Coffee

Looking at the sample questions for this site, it look like, other than the open-ended question about opening up your own coffee shop, every question here would be on-topic for Seasoned Advice. Why do we need a separate site for Coffee?

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Perhaps. But this may also be one of those rare cases where (perhaps) the topicality of "coffee" on our culinary site may not be entirely self-evident. In other words, if someone were to consider themselves a coffee aficionado it may simply never dawn on them as they are traveling the Internet that they are welcome to join a community who has branded themselves as "Food & Cooking experts."

A network (or group of sites) isn't always worth exactly the sum of its parts. If there is an audience out there we are failing to attract by lumping all these subjects under one umbrella (a culinary site), then splitting that subject off into a site of its own may actually result in a net gain overall. But if we're simply splitting apart one site to create two — for, essentially, the same audience — then that would be a poor allocation of subject space and completely undesirable… and we would take appropriate action.

But the only way to know for sure is to give the site a try. And so far the subject of "Coffee" has passed the first trials of Area 51: gauging interest.

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I have an account on Seasoned Advice, and it never even occurred to me I could ask about coffee there (i.e. as Robert described). They're in very different mental categories for me, but as a result of them also being in very different categories in the real world.

Consider that the Seasoned Advice's on-topic help page says that it's about kitchen work, meal preparation, picking ingredients, and food storage. It's built for and marketed toward people who cook, wear chef hats and use seasonings:

the seasoned advice logo, which has a chef hat in it

None of that is really associated with coffee culture. We're concerned with different things, like espresso machines and water distillers, coffee grinders, bean roasters, and milk steaming.

Consider that in addition to Coffee, there are also beta sites or proposals for beer, wine, preparation of both, and other alcohols and what to do with them — those people aren't going to Seasoned Advice either. This is because a chef, a bartender, and a barista don't expect the other two to be able to do the same job as them — except by coincidence, like if the bartender is also a good cook.

In the Venn diagram of coffee culture and cooking culture, there is a great deal of overlap, but also enough specialisation and unique elements to justify zooming in on the coffee bits in another site — just like Seasoned Advice zoomed in on the cooking portions of that Venn diagram.

So, that's basically it. We have a site for coffee drinkers because coffee drinkers want a site that is for them, and the site for them isn't the site that was made for chefs.

Chefs who are also coffee drinkers are welcome to join Coffee.SE for coffee matters.

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So we clearly have an advertising problem, since all that's on topic. (It's hard; there's only so much you can do if the name of the site already says "cooking".) But the fact that it's possible to draw a line doesn't always mean that you should. If coffee ends up without enough activity and dwindling away, when all the questions could've been asked somewhere else, then it'd really be a shame we tried to split things rather than talking everyone into posting on a site that already existed. If it ends up doing well, maintaining question volume, etc, awesome! We'll see; good luck. – Jefromi Feb 5 '15 at 3:43
    
For what it's worth, we discussed tweaking the help center then forgot about it. But I'm not sure that even explicitly saying coffee there would change things; most people don't look that far, and if you want a separate community, then that's not really the issue. – Jefromi Feb 5 '15 at 3:49

I am one of the top contributors to Seasoned Advice. No one person on that site is an expert in all things culinary. The world is a big place, and we all eat and drink. There is something oddly elitist in the very idea of a separate Stack for coffee, when, as is said in the OP, virtually all things coffee would be on-topic on Seasoned Advice.

Do you have expertise about coffee? Well, great, Seasoned Advice would welcome that expertise. Personally, I don't know Jack about BBQ, but I totally welcome Meatheads. Why wouldn't I?

But, if the "Meathead Community" decided they couldn't discuss BBQ on the established culinary stack, I'd have to ask, "What the hell did we do to deserve being snubbed like that?"

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I second this post. Also, seriously how many questions are there regarding Tea and Coffee? 5? – Doug Feb 1 '15 at 18:06
    
@Doug There's obviously quite a lot to ask. It's much less than the size of Seasoned Advice, of course (since that includes these things), but it may well be enough for a site. – Jefromi Feb 5 '15 at 3:55

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