Hi, I'm Alex and I am writing an eBook on brewing coffee as well as building a community around it

Hey all,

My wife and I decided to take a shot at writing an eBook on something that both of us are passionate about, Coffee. I am a front-end developer and designer and my wife has been a barista at a specialty coffee shop for the past 4 1/2 years. So we decided to put both of our skills together to create I Brew My Own Coffee.

We are trying to follow a lot of the same philosophies that I have seen with Nathan Barry, Sacha Grief and Justin Jacksons work. For the most part it is working well. Our newsletter is growing at about 7-10 subscribers a week and we are continually improving the site, making it more obvious what we are trying to accomplish.

After about a month of launching and marketing the site through twitter, blog posts, and a podcast we are over 30 subscribers and working on different ways to market the product to grow our audience.

It has been a lot of fun trying to grow a community outside of the tech industry. Through a couple of Peer User Test we have found a few of the tactics we are using are so foreign to individuals that are not involved in the tech community.

For example, we found through the first test that it was weird to the user that we were trying to promote our eBook online before it was available to purchase. Also they were still unsure what an eBook was on how they would be able to purchase and read one.

Besides that we are excited to keep growing our product and community and would love to hear anyones thoughts on what we have so far.


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Hi Alex,

Arguably your book could be shortened to a sign that says “USE THE CHEMEX”. Maybe you could laminate it, glue on some magnets, and include a measuring tape to make sure the sign is properly at eye height for those slow-start mornings. I kid, I kid. It sounds like it could be a solid product.

I signed up for the mailing list. The animated image on the signed-up page is not my thing. It’s not quite off-putting, but almost. I wish there had been an introductory email after I confirmed my subscription. Even if it were just a short note, something to let me know that I should expect weekly emails would be nice. Even better would be for you to send me that note and then attach (or immediately send via a separate email) the most recent newsletter. That’d be way better than me navigating links from the confirmation webpage.

There is a lot of good content on the website. Many of the pictures are extremely good. I appreciate that you’re creating content which you publish to multiple places: the blog, the podcast, the newsletter, and eventually the book. That’s great. However, while a couple of these have made it into the navigation bar on the website, the book does not seem to have it’s own page. That seems … wrong. I know you can get to it by going to the home page, but only the signup is above the fold; lots of good stuff – detailed descriptions, table of contents – is below and could easily be missed.

What’s the target audience range? From the newsletters it seems like it is “people who enjoy good coffee, maybe have experimented with different beans, and possibly have tried something besides a drip machine”. That’s a huge market, and there’s so many things they can do to improve their coffee. But the single most impactful thing they can do is buy recently-roasted beans and grind them at home, just before using them. Decent, fresh, just-ground beans in a reasonable drip machine will beat the pants off coffee made from fine-ground coffee dust in a 2-gallon drum bought from a warehouse store and opened 6 months ago, even if the very best barista uses the most perfect Kalita or Chemex or Aeropress or whatever. I would pound on this point at every opportunity. I’d cover beans prominently in the first few newsletters and revisit the topic frequently. If you compile a “best of” newsletter to send to new subscribers, I’d put this topic front and center.

This is a great topic. Best of luck!


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Very nice design & great content. Social proof / testimonial, placement of calls to action, all that stuff is spot on. I’m a Keurig guy myself (sorry) but everything here looks top notch. I would certainly sign up if home brewing were my kind of thing.

(Unrelated - I see you work for Masuga Design. I’ve always been a fan of Ryan’s work, and the ExpressionEngine community in general. My wife runs Q Digital Studio & The Meta Q, and they work exclusively with EE.)

Thanks @bwhite! Lots of great ideas to think about.

@coreysnipes Thats awesome, I was actually interviewed on the Meta Q blog a while back.

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How’s the podcast going? I always felt like a podcast would be a great credibility builder, but way too much work.

I’ll prob be buying the book…I love my coffee.

I’ve long toyed with the idea of self-publishing a travel book based on tracing the origins of coffee…starting with the home of the modern coffee chain (Seattle), going back to Italy, then Vienna, then Turkey, then Arabia, and Ethiopia where coffee originated. And a couple of side trips to Switzerland (Nestle, the big producer of instant), Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil (world’s three biggest coffee producers).

@coreysnipes It’s a whole new world to me. Just picked up a new mic and getting the workflow down. I have got a couple of fun interviews lined up. Besides creating the book the podcast is what I am most excited about. Hoping it can be a nice break from startup podcasts for others.

@SteveMcLeod Thanks! That sounds like it would be an amazing trip.

I’d buy it. I really enjoyed The Devil’s Cup.

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Very beautiful website … good content … great vibe … IMHO it can’t fail if you two keep the level!!

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Thanks @Bernhard_Uellenberg!

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There are Beans as a Service (BaaS? :smiley: ) subscription services out there, right? Maybe something to consider (down the road, once you have more subscribers/momentum) would be to partner with one or more of those, sell them a sponsorship, etc.

@tnorthcutt Yes, this past year there seems to be a lot for BaaS businesses start up. Most notably Tonx which is now apart of Blue Bottle Coffee (hoping to do a podcast interview with the founder at some point down the road).

We already have teamed up with a local roastery to be able to offer a higher package when the book is ready to sell. So a top tier package would include the eBook, how-to videos, a brewing device and a bag of coffee. Everything you need to start brewing great coffee right away.

We have had ideas roll around that down the line we could offer our own subscription service but that is still pretty far down the line.

Thanks for the comments!

I need an API for this!

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There are a jillion BaaS shops, from Dunkin Donuts to Tonx. Here in NYC there are at least a few local ones, too.

The prospect of a package with everything needed to brew coffee at home sounds quite appealing, all the more so because there are so many choices. A kit that included a brewing device, filters, beans, a measuring spoon, and a hand grinder would be brilliant.

The only things missing would be a kitchen scale and a kettle. These are general kitchen items and many folks will have them already. Those without the scale can use the measuring spoon. Those without a kettle can boil water in a pot and then transfer to a Pyrex measuring cup with a spout.

@hybrid_alex good timing with this thread. My French press broke yesterday. What cheap thing should I replace it with? Aeropress? Some kind of pour over?

Sorry to hear about your loss… but it is also a great chance to try something different. My wife and I have been big fans of the Kalita Wave lately. It is a nice balance between a Chemex and that of an Aeropress or French Press.

We wrote up a detailed post of our favorite brewing devices and why on our blog. http://ibrewmyowncoffee.com/blog/our-favorite-brewing-devices

Hopefully that answers a few of your questions and can help with your decision.