Roasted: A Community for Coffee Lovers

In the past year, something I have really enjoyed is trying new coffees. Every few weeks my partner and I will seek out several different roasters and choose a couple new roasts to try. We’ve gotten better at our brewing techniques, and at judging the tasting notes that a roaster will market their coffee with.

With every bag we’d open, each of us would rate it for it’s taste, how strong it was (caffeine) and first impressions. As we tried different brewing methods on the same roast, we’d add new ratings based on method.

Coffee is a massive industry, and has a huge community and many sub communities built upon it. But there’s no online community built around people who enjoy exploring coffee. Like Untappd exists for beer enthusiasts, and Vivino exists for wine enthusiasts, those inclined to exploring coffees deserve a space for encouraging their adventures. So I designed one!

A selection of sketches.

Until you’ve built up a collection of coffees in the app, search is your main point of access. It’s where you’ll search directly for roasts you know, and where you’d explore different categories to find roasts you haven’t yet heard of. If something doesn’t exist in the database, you’ll be able to add it yourself.

Navigate to a specific roast, and you’ll find details about it. Everything listed on the bag itself you’ll find here, but more importantly you’ll find more accurate tasting notes. Rather than just pulling notes from the bag, we’ll compare those against what notes stood out to users who have tried this variety before, and which notes they’ve said fall flat.

Almost every app that has a review system, has some sort of aggregated score for the entities being reviewed. While a single value can be helpful for finding great options, it can also be problematic.

As a result of encouraging coffee enjoyers of all skill levels to participate, the quality of the data being submitted will also vary. Coffee professionals might feel disinclined from trusting / contributing to a rating system where a majority of of the reviews are from amateurs who are not adhering to a strict grading scale. Equally, amateurs may be disinclined from adhering to a strict grading scale and may feel overwhelmed with the burden of remaining consistent in their reviews.

My solution is framing the rating as a relative comparison. In the screenshots above, take a look at the placeholders on the rating scale (???☕️❤️). A final product would have icons starting from an empty/cold coffee cup transitioning to a full/steaming coffee cup with a heart over it. Rather than using numerical values, Roasted asks the user to rate a coffee by picking a spot on the rating scale that represents how much they like that coffee compared to what they consider the average coffee.

Why? No rating system is perfect, and every user rates items subjectively. That’s why I think embracing their reference point can provide us with something more meaningful. The resulting aggregate we’ll get represents “How does the average user think this coffee compares to their average coffee” rather than “What numerical rating does the average user assign this coffee?”

On top of that, we can take an approach similar to Rotten Tomatoes, which distinguishes ratings between their users and professional critics. On Roasted, that means distinguishing the aggregates for all users and only coffee pros.

If you’re looking to refine your technique or just keep track of your brewing/drinking habits, Roasted lets you log a brew for any coffee.

There is no expectation of data completeness. You can provide as much or as little information as you’d like, and I’ve designed the interface to make that as clear as possible: the user is able to add additional fields, rather than shown all possible fields and allowed to leave them blank.