Not sure which coffee thread to post this stuff, but this one seems good.
Blind shootout of beans from a bunch of really well-known Northern California (mostly San Francisco) coffee roasters, most of which are no longer available due to limited production:
San Francisco has always been a coffee town. Around 1900, one of the Hills brothers invented the vacuum tin here, drastically improving the freshness of beans. In 1966, Alfred Peet kicked off the coffee roasting movement in America from his little shop in Berkeley. After that though, SF coffee took a back seat to cities such as Seattle and Portland. But those days are over. Audacious roasters like Ritual, Four Barrel, and Blue Bottle have put the Bay Area back on the map, leading some critics to claim it may be America's new premier coffee capital.
But is there truly a best—or is everyone a winner? To find out, we pitted seven of the Bay Area's top roasters against each other in a blind taste test (with Peet's thrown in for fun). Aside from that one ringer, the results were very close. Turns out in the world of third-wave coffee, the competition is stiff.
It's also a good guide to coffee in the area if you're travelling there.
The Nordic Barista Cup 2011 has videos on several subjects that touch on various coffee subjects in high detail:
I've only watched the espresso and coffee bean chemistry ones, and they are very, very interesting if you're into that kind of thing. The comments on extreme dosing (21 g grounds in a portafilter) as well as grinder deficiencies are very interesting.
Also it was eye-opening that most pro baristas who work in the boutique shops (and therefore the obsessive types who care and attend these kinds of conferences) don't get anywhere close to 80 percent of their espressos right. I thought I was picky before I heard this, but the randomness of getting a good pull seems to be pretty pervasive. From my own experience, 40 percent is about right. The Aeropress, OTOH, is closer to 90 percent, and its faults are very easy to fix.