Crowd-sourced review apps are putting coffee fans and foodies in the powerful position once occupied by food reviewers and can help identify which cafe does a top macchiato and where Fair Trade organic is sold nearby.
Beanhunter is a website and app that lets users rate or slate coffee haunts in Melbourne, Sydney, London and New York. With more than 80,000 downloads, the Melbourne-made app is proving popular for its ability to guide and connect foodies, co-founder James Crawford says. ''Our key goals are to help people find and share great coffee experiences, increase discoverability for independent cafes and support the specialty coffee industry,'' he says.
In Melbourne, Beanhunter has highlighted new coffee spots, such as Workshop Brothers in Glen Huntly. The cafe opened four months ago and has already ranked as No. 2 in Melbourne on Beanhunter, with a 9.2 score and 32 reviews.
Workshop Brothers owner Brian Taing says platforms such as Beanhunter, Instagram and Twitter are new media's consumer-driven referral service that also manages to hold businesses accountable.
''For any new business, it's always difficult to establish your footprint in the industry,'' he says. ''Platforms like Beanhunter give potential customers an experience without visiting.''
Shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Mobile Awards, Beanhunter's major update this month adds more social features, with the ability to follow friends, share listings and upload the coffee you're drinking at a cafe.