The question What factors contribute to differences between coffee beans? asks the questions:

What are the different types of coffee beans, and what are there characteristics? What other factors contribute to differences between one bean and another?

This is ridiculously broad, as seen by some of the comments in answers:

  • There's a lot to your question; some of the topics have been covered in other questions.
    Answer by hoc_age ♦

  • Disclaimer: OK, as hoc_age has edited this question, I would like to contribute to this new version. Still, this is quite a broad topic, in my opinion.
    Answer by MT San

To break this down, the OP is asking the following questions, all grouped under one heading:

  • What are the different types of coffee beans?
  • What are the characteristics of these coffee beans? (× however many kinds of beans identified in the above question)
  • What are all the factors that contribute to differences between beans?

The first sub-question by itself would be also be ridiculously broad. In the answers to the question, different types of beans were categorised according to regional differences (such as African, Asia-Pacific, but could be broken down even more into individual countries), species and sub-species of coffee (such as Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, Bourbon, Typica, Maragogype), and preparation methods (such as washing, dry-processing).

The second sub-question isn't actually a single question, but many questions. For example, "What are the characteristics of Arabica beans?" would attract quite different answers to "What are the characteristics of dry-processed beans?" Even then, 'characteristics' would have to be defined: shape? flavour? texture? smell? shelf-life? caffeine content?

The third sub-question is also too broad, even if it was split into an individual question, because everything that happens to a coffee bean contributes to its differences: location, handling, sunlight availability, nutrients in the soil, water availability, picking, transportation, roasting method, length of roasting... the list goes on.

A key indicator of the question being too broad is that the current highest-voted answer doesn't even attempt to address all these points, ending with:

And a lot of other factors... :)

I've already flagged this for moderator review but nothing seems to have happened... yet.

So: what does the community think? Should this question be closed as 'too broad'?

  • I'm mainly speaking for myself here, so other mods' mileage may vary, but the reason I (and probably the other mods') haven't removed the question yet is that typically moderators prefer a hands-off approach and for the community to decide these processes themselves (through the review queues). We exist as 'Human Exception Handlers', for the cases where something needs to be dealt with quickly (in the case of offensive content, spam, etc.) or with extra tools too powerful to give to everybody.
    – Nick Udell
    May 25, 2016 at 13:12

2 Answers 2


I would say it is too broad, and should be closed.

I believe this topic is broad enough to be, at minimum, split into the following questions:

  • What bean-growth variables affect brewed coffee flavour and how?
  • What are the brewed flavour differences between species of coffee beans?
  • What bean-storage variables affect brewed coffee flavour and how?

And it can probably be split further than that.

Having the question be this broad risks a large number of answers with little commonality and certainly reduces the chances of a canonical answer within a reasonable word count.

  • Answer accepted, as the community has made a decision. !00% of the votes were to close the question. (You can go ahead and close the question now, Nick).
    – user2487
    May 26, 2016 at 9:26
  • Ah I think you misunderstand me. I think it should be closed, but that it should be closed by the community, not the moderators.
    – Nick Udell
    May 26, 2016 at 10:20
  • According to the Moderator Cheat Sheet, "you don't want to act without regular users prompting you to action, like via a flag". In this case, the question has been flagged and the community has held a vote to close the question, with everyone voting in favour of closing it. Why would you not take action? This question is clearly too broad; every day it stays open is another day this question stands as an example of a 'good, on-topic question'.
    – user2487
    May 26, 2016 at 21:25
  • 500 reputation is required to vote to close on sites in public beta. There are currently 33 users with 500 reputation, out of the 2,520 users on the site. It's not very likely the vast majority of the community will be able to close the question.
    – user2487
    May 27, 2016 at 4:44
  • Everyone voting in favour of closing it constitutes exactly one person in this thread, currently, with the exception of myself. On top of that the question-to-be-closed has received positive votes from the community, and more positive votes than my suggestion to close the question has received. I believe closing it at this stage would not be suitably democratic, which is why I am hesitant to close it.
    – Nick Udell
    May 27, 2016 at 9:15
  • While there are few users with sufficient privileges to close this question, users without those privileges may flag the question. The question has only received one flag which, again, is fewer people than have given the question a positive vote.
    – Nick Udell
    May 27, 2016 at 9:17
  • RE: voting. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/6723/… - 110 upvotes, closed.
    – user2487
    May 27, 2016 at 9:20
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – user2487
    May 27, 2016 at 9:25

No, leave it open.


  • This site is a Beta and we need questions
  • ...

You must log in to answer this question.