YES or NO by RAO

I’d like to offer a new, free service to answer your coffee questions, called YES or NO by RAO. It works like this:

  1. Subscribe to my mailing list by clicking on the green "sign up" button on my blog.

  2. Whenever you receive an email notification of a new blog post, you may ask any coffee-related question you wish by replying to that email.

  3. *****Please phrase the question in such a way that I can reply with a simple YES or NO answer.*****

  4. I will post questions, along with a big YES or NO, on my Instagram account @whereisscottrao (almost) daily.

My hope is that this will be a fun, informative game, and that I can efficiently help baristas and roasters learn and improve. Coffee enthusiasts currently email me countless questions every week, and though I try to answer them all, I simply don’t have enough time to do so. I began this blog in part to be able to broadcast answers to such questions to 1000s of readers at a time, rather than one person at a time. YES or NO by RAO will hopefully be another step in the direction of providing as much help and information as I can with the limited (and shrinking) time I have available.

The system is simple, but I suspect phrasing some questions properly is going to be a challenge. If I receive a question that cannot be properly answered with YES or NO, I will reply MAYBE. When that happens, feel free to try to ask the question one more time, but differently. A MAYBE will often mean the asker didn’t provide enough information for me to answer yes or no, or perhaps the question was simply not phrased properly. My apologies to readers whose first language isn’t English— I fear this will be a little more challenging for you, but let’s give this a shot and we can find solutions to any sticky points as this evolves.

If someone asks you a coffee question you don’t know, perhaps send the question to me, or tell them to subscribe to this blog and send the question directly. I won’t always know the answer, but I’ll do my best.

For clarity, let me give three examples of question phrasing:



This phrasing would be ideal:

“Are washed coffees infinitely better than naturals?”

Answer: YES

(hehe. Sorry, just kidding. Sort of.)



This phrasing would not lend itself to a simple YES or NO answer:

“Is it good that my ROR is 8c/minute when I hear the beginning of first crack?”

Answer: MAYBE



This is an example of a well-phrased question without enough information to answer YES or NO:

“Is there a minimum temperature at which my bean curve should turn at the beginning of a roast?"

Answer: MAYBE


This question is unanswerable because the temperature of the turn is influenced by machine type, charging parameters, bean probe type, size, and location, and many other factors.



Let’s play :)