States Coffee & Mercantile



Resting high atop a custom built shelf at the center of States Coffee & Mercantile is a framed piece of art bestowing the advice, “work hard and be nice to people.” If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Keith Gehrke, the owner of States, you would understand how accurately this simple screen-printed pronouncement summarizes him and all of his many endeavors.

While Gehrke’s resume in coffee is quite long, he is probably best known for his company Able Brewing. Able, just one of several coffee brands founded by Gehrke, is responsible for creating the reusable Kone and Disk filters that offer a paperless method of brewing pour-over and Aeropress coffee, along with other original accessories. Since leaving the Pacific Northwest and returning home to the East Bay a couple years ago, Gehrke has worked even harder by consulting alongside his personal projects. Last year he helped set-up a roasting program for the former Local 123 cafe (now owned by Highwire Coffee) and then proceeded to launch his own mail order coffee subscription called Pony Brand Coffee, while the plans for States Coffee took shape.


The former post office in downtown Martinez, California had been undergoing renovation for the past 5-years before it was selected by Gehrke to become home to this latest project. The history of the space is unique enough on its own, but it also symbolizes one of the virtues reinforced by many of Gehrke’s business decisions—that everything he sells is made in the U.S.A.

The space, once used to connect the residents of this East Bay town through its postal service, has been reborn as a community hub where the neighbors, young and old, were stopping by to congratulate Gehrke on his first week of business. As with everything Gehrke creates, he has a way of making them approachable. From the flavor profile of the States-branded coffee, roasted exclusively for the shop by Gehrke, to the minimal aesthetic one might find on the pages of Kinfolk magazine. Within the space, a balance is maintained that adds warmth to simplicity and offers quality without pretension. While a place like this would thrive in Portland or Brooklyn, it has been created with such care that a smaller town like Martinez will surely embrace this new addition to the town with just as much enthusiasm.




The shelving, coffee bar, and redwood furniture was custom made by a James Mackessy in Boulder Creek, outside of Santa Cruz, while the round standing-height table was designed and built by Sean Woolsey in Costa Mesa—insuring most of the features of space were built in California. The coffee bar itself is full of custom details to maximize its function and even doubles as a fully mobile cart that can be moved from its position at the front of the space and continue functioning with its onboard water tanks.

At the center of the space, stacked to the ceiling on custom shelving, is a curated collection of products covering a range needs and wants and all of them made in the United States. You’ll find everything on the wall from skateboards, soaps, flasks, blankets and candles to a selection of ceramic cups and coffee brewing gear. The mercantile side of States offers Gehrke a way to supplement the income from a coffee shop that will never be as high volume as one in a major city. The customers of States Coffee also have a great place to come and buy American-made housewares and unique hand-crafted gifts.



There are very few places I visit where I immediately want it to be my local shop, but States Coffee definitely makes that list. This spot represents an assemblage of Gehrke’s passions, values and work ethic all in one place, with additional highlights of inspiration picked-up elsewhere. Before I left, Gehrke offered me one of their non-caffeinated drinks, a bottle of house-made fizzy hibiscus tea. It was absolutely delicious and unashamedly inspired by the fizzy hoppy tea served at G&B Coffee in L.A.


After handing me a freshly opened bottle of the bright red concoction, Gehrke explained how the best coffee experience he had during a recent trip to Los Angeles. was that glass of tea and it had lingered on his mind ever since. He wanted to create something similar, along with his other house-made syrups, that would offer a non-caffeinated alternative showcasing the same attention to flavor and quality as the coffee. The whole store is a showcase of quality with an atmosphere of classic American hospitality. Not only has Gehrke succeeded in the work he set out to do, but he was incredibly nice along the way.

States Coffee & Mercantile
609 Ward St
Martinez, CA 94553



A Guide To The Best of Gothenburg



Nearly four years ago I packed up my clothing and coffee gear and moved from a sleepy town on the midcoast of Maine to the second city of Sweden—Gothenburg. It’s one of those Swedish cities that most people have never heard of and it can be difficult to persuade people to visit when it’s so close to the more tempting capital cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. But Gothenburg has its own merits. It is the home of Volvo and world re-known bands like The Knife, Little Dragon, In Flames and Ace of Base. It has nearly a dozen soccer teams (ok, just three) and it’s an all-around charming place.

During the first three and a half years I lived in this riverside city of half a million, it became my adopted home. The longest I have spent in one place during the last decade has been in Gothenburg and despite my continuous travels and current sojourn in Stockholm, I often look forward to my eventual return.

Beginning this weekend, thousands of coffee professionals will descend upon the west coast of Sweden from all over the world for Europe’s largest specialty coffee event. Alongside this annual tradeshow for the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, five world coffee championships will also take place—the World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters, World Coffee Roasting, World Latte Art and World Coffee in Good Spirits. The small but ambitious coffee scene in Gothenburg has been anticipating this summer for a long time and we’re really excited to welcome you all to Sweden.


Below I’ve compiled a list of places where you will find some of the best coffee, beer, cocktails and food in Gothenburg. Most of the city is incredibly walkable, but you can buy a 3-day unlimited ticket for the busses, ferries and trams for 170sek ($20) or you can buy a 3-day pass to the city’s bike share program for 25sek ($3), which is an awesome and cheap way to enjoy the city when the weather is nice.

I recommend using Google’s offline maps so you can find your way around when you aren’t connected to the grid. If you are in need of internet, you’ll find free wifi at the numerous Espresso House locations, along with their own approachable line of coffee roasted by Solberg & Hansen. I hope you enjoy your visit and all of the wonderful things that Gothenburg has to offer. Vi ses snart!

Note: everything mentioned in this article can be found on the map at the bottom.



Da Matteo

Da Matteo, and its founder Matts Johansson, are the reason specialty coffee exists in Gothenburg and has been one of the driving forces for coffee events around Sweden and abroad. Just this week the coffee roaster and baker were named Sweden’s Best Cafe by White Guide (a Swedish version of Zagat) and they won the Nordic Roaster competition last year. They also have baristas competing in both the World Cup Tasters and World Latte Art Championships next week. There are four locations to visit—two of them share a sunny courtyard and the others are just a short walk away.

Address: Magasinsgatan 17A  /  Vallgatan 5  /  Sodra Larmgatan 14  /  Sprängkullsgatan 10A



Kale’i Kaffebar

Kale’i Kaffebar is a hidden gem in the heart of downtown Gothenburg tucked away in the back of a quiet courtyard where you’ll also find a nice champagne bar, juice bar and record store. Not long after owner Elin Conradsson met Per Nordby in Oslo, who was roasting for Kaffa at the time, they both returned to Gothenburg. Per opened his own roasting company sharing his name and not long after Kale’i opened and became a lovely showcase for Per’s coffee. You’ll find Elin behind the bar nearly every day where she simultaneously brews coffee and prepares fresh baked breads and other tasty treats.

Address: Kyrkogatan 13


Viktors Kaffe

Viktors Kaffe is located just around the corner from Götaplatsen, a large public square where you’ll find the Gothenburg Museum of Art, City Theater, City Concert Hall and the Public Library. It’s located on a quiet side street that provides an oasis from the busy Avenyn shopping street nearby. Viktors represents the hip side of coffee in the city, with fresh local art on the walls, good jams, and a mix of vintage designer furniture to compliment a variety of coffee from the Stockholm roaster Johan & Nyström.

Address: Geijersgatan 7


Café Biscotti

You won’t find pour overs and over-the-top coffee geekery at this stylish neighborhood cafe, but you will find delicious lunches and award winning pastries alongside batch brews and espresso drinks made with Helsingborg’s Koppi Coffee. There’s also a nice patio overlooking a pedestrian street, offering a glimpse of the everyday lives of Swedes in Majorna, one of Gothenburg’s more eclectic neighborhoods.

Address: Allmänna vägen 34




TheKitchen was formerly a lovely little café called Con Amor, run by two best friends. When the previous owners decided to move on to something new, a former Da Matteo barista, Setareh Shoghi, and her sister took over. They changed the name and freshened up the inside, but the spirit is much the same. TheKitchen now serve drinks made with the award-winning Drop Coffee from Stockholm and have a nice selection of cakes, pastries and sandwiches—including vegan and gluten free options.

Address: Skanstorget 1



Kafé Alkemisten

Alkemisten is one of the newest additions to Gothenburg and one of the first to open on the north side of the river earlier this year. The shop is run by a brother and sister who brew coffees roasted by a friend of theirs in Lund. The cafe sits on the corner of a new building in Kvillebäcken, an eco-development on the island of Hisingen that has been (and still is) a construction zone since I moved to Gothenburg. It’s a nice spot for the residents of Hisingen to gather, enjoy single origin coffees and healthy organic foods.

Address: Gustaf Dalénsgatan 14


Llama Lloyd

Llama Lloyd is a quaint little shop that opened around the same time as Kafé Alkemisten and is located just a few blocks away on Hisingen. The space contains little more than a small bar with a Marco batch brewer and the owner, Robin Olsson, making pour overs of Per Nordby coffee. Robin also uses the shop’s walls to host local art and keeps a set of bike tools on hand for anyone who might need to have their bicycle tuned up while they sip their coffee. The experience inside is quite intimate, but there are also several tables out front if you’d like more space and fresh air.

Address: Väderkvarnsgatan 17A



In Gothenburg you’ll find a range of food, from kiosks to Michelin Stars. With a recent change in the local laws, food trucks have also become quite popular, with new ones popping up each month. Below I’ve listed a range of the best places to eat and categorized them by cost levels. Almost every where you go will accept debit cards, even the food trucks, so there is little need to carry cash. A note on tipping: it’s not really necessary but it’s appreciated—8% to 12%.  Although at the nicer restaurants, I often tip more because of the service.

TomToms – Best burrito you’ll find in Scandinavia
Jonsborgs Kiosk – Quality kiosk food with a focus on vegetarian and vegan options
En Deli Haga – Healthy salads and vegetarian fare
Korv United – Bangers & mash with veggie options
Strömmingsluckan – Traditional Swedish fried herring & potato mash

Market Komex Eatery – Korean, Mexican fusion. Sounds weird, tastes awesome
Hagabion – Vegetarian dining that meat eaters will also enjoy
Lagerhuset – Trendy bistro with rotating menu
The Barn – Burgers and a good selection of bourbon
Moon Thai – Crazy decorations and Thai staples
Puta Madre – Mexican inspired menu with a long list of tequila
Mr. P – Bistro representing a variety of flavors
Restaurant 2112 – Burgers and beer, opened by members of the band “In Flames”
Dubbel Dubbel – Yummy dim sum
Familjen – West Sweden style food with local and seasonal ingredients


Bhoga – Modern Scandinavian, 1 Michelin star
Koka – Relaxed modern gastronomy, 1 Michelin star
SK Mat & Människor – A taste of Swedish heritage and a nice wine bar
Dorsia – Fine dining done well with a great selection of gin
Hoze – Unique, intimate Japanese dining experience



Gothenburg has a lot of bars even though the price of alcohol will likely shock everyone living outside of Scandinavia. This is partly done to prevent Scandinavians from drinking themselves to death during the long dark winters and partly because everything is more expensive here. If you’re really into wine, your best bet will be booking a table at one of the restaurants listed above in the high-end ($$$) category, for a nice selection of natural & biodynamic wines, you should also check out Bar Centro.

The Rover – Rotating taps featuring many Scandinavian craft brewers, good food as well
Brewers Beer Bar – Nice beers, modern atmosphere, great pizza
NoBa – Nordic-chic with a nice outdoor patio and a solid list of beers
Ölrepubliken – Many of the same beers as The Rover with a more pub-like feel
Jerntorgetsbryghus – Large, two level bar with good beer selection, nice for big groups
Brew Dog – Part of a growing chain of beer bars run by the famous Scottish brewery


Hush-Hush – The closest thing to a speakeasy with a creative list of drinks
Puta Madre – Classy period decor, nice drinks, lots of tequila
Dorsia – Check out the hidden garden, lots of gin and champagne
Drinks 20 – Nice outdoor seating with good summer drinks
Liebling – Outdoor seating in a bustling part of town



Swedes love to shop and you will find no shortage of places to indulge yourself. You will find all the staple Swedish brands like H&M, Nudie and Cheap Monday, along with many others you may not have heard of yet. There are also an endless number of vintage and thrift stores sprinkled throughout the shopping districts. So bring an empty duffel bag, because you will be tempted.

Our Legacy
– Menswear known for simple cuts with unique fabrics
Acne – World re-known fashion house with quirky and experimental design
Whyred – Fashion brand known for tailored cuts with creative patterns
Nudie Jeans – Sweden’s version of Levis, all organic denim made in Italy
Grandpa – Mixed boutique with trendy housewares and fashion
Shelta – Streetwear, sneakers and skateboards

Home & More:
Norrgavel – Scandinavian interior design & housewares
Artilleriet – Eclectic shop filled with a diverse range of housewares & oddities
The Kitchen – A new outpost from Artilleriet, basically all of Kinfolk in a store
Designtorget – Scandinavian designer-made gifts and souvenirs
Kvart Interiör – Well curated selection of Nordic housewares & design
Myrorna – A three story thrift shop with furniture, housewares & clothing

Related Events: A list of events taking place next week that you won’t want to miss.

14 June, Sunday at 3pm – Per Nordby is hosting a showing of “A Film About Coffee” (more info)
15 June, Monday at 7pm – Koppi’s “Meet the Producer” in Helsingborg (more info)
16 June, Tuesday at 6pm – Johan & Nyström block party with Black Eagles & beer (more info)
17 June, Wednesday at 4pm – Try a great selection of local coffee, beer and food (more info)
18 June, Thursday at 9pm – Official Barista After Party at The Brewhouse on Åvägen 24




With one week until Hanukkah begins and two weeks before Santa arrives, there’s still time to get the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life. From the coffee curious to the barista champ-in-training, there’s something on this list for everyone. Just like in years past, the DCILY gift guide is a selection of the most desirable products I’ve come across that any coffee lover would be stoked to have. Grab a fresh cup and your credit card and enjoy the 2014 edition of DCILY’s Coffee Lover Gift Guide™.

1. The World Atlas of Coffee -$35- A gift for the mind. James Hoffmann is a former World Barista Champion, co-founder of Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London, prolific internet writer and now author of this comprehensive hardback about coffee. If a class about coffee were taught in school, this would be its course book. The chapters range from farming to brewing to origin profiles—with a little bit of Hoffmann’s own heart and soul sprinkled throughout. Shop for The World Atlas of Coffee

2. Gino Glass Dripper -$24- A gift for the minimalist. The Gino Glass Dripper and its matching server are a beautifully minimal pour over set that utilizes the flat-bottom paper filters made by Kalita. The double-wall borosilicate glass pour over device was made by NotNeutral, who are most well known for their unique Lino line of coffee cups. The flat bottom style dripper is more forgiving than a V60 or Chemex and works great for those just learning about pour over coffee. Shop for Gino Dripper

3. Mayven Pins -$8- A gift for the flamboyant. Add more flair to your bespoke, leather detailed apron with these coffee-themed enamel pins from The Maven. Represent your favorite coffee icons on your lapel while working behind bar or out on the town. There are four different styles to choose from, or collect them all—Chemex, kettle, V60, and an AeroPress. Made in the USA. Shop for Mayven Pins

4. Master & Dynamic MH30 -$350- A gift for the music lover. Very few things pair as well with a great cup of coffee than the perfect music to fit the mood. Whether it’s in the morning while others are sleeping, on your urban commute, or sitting at your desk in the office; a pair of great headphones will transport you and your coffee to the place you’d rather be. Master & Dynamic are designing really well made headphones with a sound quality to match the quality you desire from your coffee. Metal and leather construction paired with crisp, balanced sound. Shop for MH30 Headphones

5. Pergtamp -$170- A gift for the professional. Matt Perger has won the World Brewer’s Cup, World Coffee & Good Spirits Championship and placed both 2nd and 3rd in the World Barista Championship. He knows a thing or two about making great coffee and he is constantly asking questions and looking for solutions to the problems he encounters as a barista. Perger’s high-profile use of the EK43 grinder has made some think about espresso in a new way, leading to the development of his own tamper that’s meant to maximize the use of an EK43 grinder and VST baskets for espresso. It’s meant to improve efficiency, consistency and extraction. Shop for PergTamp

6. Tanner Goods Coasters -$25- A gift for the homestead. The perfect coffee table should have some protection from your perfect cup of coffee. A well furnished house can remain well-kept with a little bit of care. Using effective accessories like these stamped leather coasters will keep your Noguchi coffee table spotless. Tanner Goods is a Portland, Oregon based company specializing in beautiful leather goods for the outdoors and the home. Made in the USA. Shop for Tanner Goods Coasters

7. Acaia Pearl Scale -$129- A gift for the well measured. The digital scale is one of the most important tools you can use to brew consistently delicious coffee. The power of the scale will help you to repeat your brewing successes and properly measure coffee beans that have varying densities. The Acaia scale began as a Kickstarter project and has continued to be refined since the first model was released. Apart from being the nicest looking scale you can buy, it has an incredible sensitivity and fast refresh. The scale also links to an app on mobile devices for mapping your brews. Shop for Acaia Scale

8. ThemoPop -$29- A gift for the meticulous. Brewing coffee can be as simple as pouring hot water over grounds or as complex as using precise water temperatures, honed kettle pouring techniques and specific extraction ratios. The rabbit hole goes as deep as you would like to follow it. For those beginning to care more about the specifics, the ThermoPop is a fantastic and affordable thermometer. I’ve found myself using this more than its expensive older sibling, the ThermaPen. There is a large backlit display that rotates, easy toggling between C°/F°, and a probe that’s thin enough to fit in the holes of a Hario Buono kettle. Read times are about 6 seconds. Shop for ThermoPop

9. Wilfa Svart Precision -$250 to $330- A gift for the parents. Maybe not just your parents, since you’ll enjoy it every time you visit. This auto-drip coffee maker from the Norwegian company Wilfa is the sharpest looking machine you will find. Apart from its unique design, it also maintains incredibly consistent water temperature, which is a key detail that most home coffee makers lack. The Precision offers a lot of clever features and brews consistently tasty coffee. Shop for Wilfa Precision

10. KeepCup Brew -$24 to $34- A gift for the ecological urbanite. The KeepCup has always been a convenient way to avoid using paper cups on-the-go. In the past, they were made from plastic, but have recently launched a new glass version. The KeepCup Brew comes with a colored silicone band or a limited edition natural cork band. It shouldn’t be thought of as a thermos, but simply a reusable take-away cup. They also work great for brewing with an AeroPress. Shop for KeepCup Brew

11. MistoBox Subscription -$114 to $180- A gift for the coffee-curious. Coffee beans are a key ingredient to your home brew, but choosing which coffee beans to buy while you’re still finding your way around the vast world of coffee can be equally daunting and exciting. A subscription from MistoBox will allow you to explore a variety of coffee from new roasters shipped to you each month—including coffee from specialty roasters, both big and small around the US.  Shop for Mistobox

12. La Marzocco Gs/3 -$6900 to $8275- A gift for the aspirational. Whether your loved one plans to open their own shop, cater events, or compete in a barista competition, the GS3 is for the most dedicated espresso enthusiasts. La Marzocco is known for some of the best professional grade espresso equipment and their GS3 is small enough to fit on your kitchen counter. Design your own at the newly launched La Marzocco Home website or let the professionals at Clive Coffee take care of the details. Comes in manual paddle or auto volumetric models. Shop for La Marzocco GS/3

13. Maak Lab Coffee Soap -$9- A gift for the dirty. This all natural olive oil-based soap is the perfect companion for washing up before and after brewing your morning coffee. It’s hand poured, just like your favorite cup of coffee and scented with botanicals, essential oils and ground coffee. Just the thought makes me want to get dirty. Made in the USA. Shop for Maak Lab Coffee Soap

14. TRVR Waxed Apron -$95- A gift for the well dressed. A well dressed barista needs to protect his and her threads. No need to worry when you’re wrapped up in this beautifully crafted apron handmade in South Korea by TRVR. The leather pockets can hold your tasting notes and tips along with a loop for your pen. Made for getting dirty, easy to wipe clean. Shop for TRVR Apron

For more gift inspiration, browse past DCILY gift guides:
2010 Gift Guide
| 2011 Gift Guide | 2012 Gift Guide | 2013 Gift Guide

*Buying from local shops is highly encouraged, but for those without the luxury of well-stocked businesses nearby, shopping through DCILY’s curated Amazon Store and sponsors help support this site and the content you enjoy.*

The Second Dark Times Coffee Conference



Next Saturday in the capital of Lithuania, a unique inspiration-driven coffee conference called “Dark Times” will take place for its second year in a row. The event, organized by Emanuelis Ryklys, founder of the Lithuanian micro-roaster Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories will take place all day at the Vartai gallery in downtown Vilnius on October 25th.

Dark Times is not meant to be a coffee industry or insider-only experience, but one that is approachable by anyone who enjoys coffee and the culture that surrounds it. The list of speakers range from those working directly with coffee, to those who have an outside perspective, but still love it all the same. There will be five presentations by Lithuanian speakers, along with three international speakers, including myself.

Ryklys, who use to work in the world of advertising and design before starting Crooked Nose, understands the inherent value of coffee rituals and the stories we share with each other over a cup. Each bag of coffee he sells comes with its companion story and the design for both Dark Times and Crooked Nose combine a bit of the mysterious curiosity found in Lithuanian folklore. The conference celebrates the theme of stories by inviting a diverse collection of speakers who can provide a variety of perspectives with their own unique coffee experiences.

The list of speakers include:

Domas Ivonis and Ieva Malijauskaitė – Founders of Vilnius-based Taste Map Coffee Roasters, both Domas and Ieva have been successful in the Lithuanian Barista and Latte Art competitions and will be sharing a presentation on a variety of coffee tastes and their subtle aromas.

Eglė Mačerauskė – Editor-in-Chief and photographer of the Lithuanian food magazine “Virtuvė”. Eglė will share her love of coffee and the stories from her flavor-filled journeys.

Ralf Berlit – Co-Owner of the café “No Fire, No Glory” in Berlin and Barista Camp instigator, Ralf will share stories from his experience with the coffee culture in Berlin.

Wouter Strietman – The Dutch creator of the Strietman ES3 espresso machine will talk about his machine that brings together design, craftsmanship and coffee.

Andrius Bagdzevičius – Brewer at the experimental Lithuanian beer brewery “Raudonų Plytų Alaus Dirbtuvės,” Andrius will talk about his process of developing a new beer infused with coffee and discovering the nuances in the taste.

Brian W. Jones – A designer, writer and founder of “Dear Coffee, I Love You,” a specialty coffee website that shares coffee experiences from all over the world. Brian, who was born in the US and now lives in Sweden, will discuss the visual side of coffee, specifically packaging design.

Minoru Ooya – Founder of a roastery and two cafés in Kyoto. Mr. Ooya is a coffee roaster and master with nearly 30 years of experience and will share stories of coffee culure in Japan.

Kristupas Sabolius – A philosopher and writer, whose script for “The Gambler” was awarded Film of the Year in Lithuania this year. Kristupas will talk about coffee as a source of creative inspiration.

Find out more about Dark Times on their website and Facebook. If you will be in Vilnius or interested in visiting a great city this weekend, you can buy tickets for the event at Bilietų Pasaulis


Volvo Joyride: Bloggers in Cars Getting Coffee



I moved to Sweden from the United States over three years ago and during that time I’ve grown to love many things about life there. From the proud embrace of nature to the prevalence of modern design, there is an inherent appreciation of simplicity and functionality woven into the fabric of Swedish society that I truly admire.

Two aspects of Swedish culture that I encounter daily are the tradition of fika (having coffee and a small snack) and Volvo. Not only does it seem as if every other car on the road come from the assembly line in Gothenburg, but the public buses, the semi-trucks and even the machines building the roads bear the company’s iconic ironmark on their grills. As for fika? How can you not love twice-a-day coffee breaks with a side of cinnamon buns?

As a way to celebrate the both country where I was born and the country I now call home, DCILY has partnered with Volvo to combine these characteristic icons of Swedish life with one from America—epic road trips. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be driving a 2015.5 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E along the west coast of the United States. I’ll be visiting some of the most well known coffee shops and searching for lots of hidden gems along the way. From Los Angeles to Vancouver and back again—arriving just in time for the Big Western Barista Competition in Rancho Mirage.

You can share your recommendations with @DCILY on Twitter and follow the journey on Instagram where I’ll be posting to both @DCILY and @VolvoCarsUS.

See you on the road or over a fresh cup at your favorite west coast coffee shop soon.


Coming to America: The Wilfa Svart Presisjon


wilfa_svart_presisjon 1

Meet the Svart Presisjon (Black Precision) from the Norwegian housewares company, Wilfa. You may have seen photos of it floating around the internet, wondering what planet it came from and how to get your hands on one. Its unique, modern design sets itself apart and made it a new contender for the best automatic coffee brewer on the European market—and now it’s finally available in the US.

Wilfa has been around since 1948 and has a catalogue of products that include everything from waffle makers to air conditioners to coffee brewers and grinders. Until recently they were barely known beyond the Nordic region. But that all changed two years ago when they launched the Wilfa Svart Manuell with the help of former World Barista Champion, Tim Wendelboe. That product, was an attempt to offer an all-in-one package for customers who were curious about manual brewing, but overwhelmed by all the options and tools needed to begin. The Presisjon maintains a lot of the same design DNA as the Manuell but its a much more practical product for the average coffee consumer.

Before debuting the Svart Manuell, Wilfa made a strategic decision to enter the specialty coffee market with some innovative new products of their own. With Nordic people consuming more coffee per capita than most other countries, mostly drip-style, it made sense to focus on a great home brewer. From the beginning, Wilfa has worked with coffee professionals to make sure they were designing great products with coffee quality in mind. From partnering with Tim Wendelboe to demoing the products at the Nordic Barista Cup, there has been a lot of feedback from professionals. The result has been products that look and function very differently from most other existing products.

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The most noticeable feature on the Presisjon is the unique water chamber design. This clear tube detaches from the base so it can be filled easier with clean water from the tap. There are also recommended coffee ratios and water volume marks printed on the side of the chamber, which are quite accurate without the need of a scale. The water is then pumped out from the bottom of the chamber leaving it completely empty at the end of each brew, making sure that there is no water left sitting in the machine to cause problems in the future.

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One of the biggest shortfalls of most automatic home brewers is water temperature stability and an even saturation of the coffee. For a long time, the Moccamaster was one of the only brewers able to do these things, making it the only option recommended by baristas. Recently, new models from Bonavita have also added reliable choices with a more affordable price point along with a more standard coffee maker design. The Presisjon also has remarkably stable water temperature, even when being used repeatedly for multiple batches of coffee. Within seconds of the brew cycle beginning, the water is in a range of 197–205°F (92–96°c) and stays there consistently throughout brewing.

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The Presisjon filter holder fits a standard No.4 Melitta-style filter and can be fully detached for easy cleaning. It has a removable lid to maintain the temperature of the coffee slurry and it’s also outfitted with a unique aperture system that allows you to adjust the flow rate of the liquid based on the volume of coffee you are brewing. This allows you to better control the extraction rate when brewing two batches of different volumes. The flow rate is increased for larger batches (up to 1.25 liters) and decreased for smaller batches (250ml). When the coffee is done brewing, you can close the filter holder completely which prevents drip before removing the carafe—a much appreciated detail.

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While this has taught me to appreciate an automatic brewer, there are some things I would like to improve, namely, the carafe. It’s a pretty standard glass carafe with a coffee stirring funnel in the lid. I’m not a fan of the shape of the handle, or the way the glass connects with the plastic lip, which creates a small reservoir that always catches a small amount of liquid, making it harder to clean and dry than it should.

The carafe also sits on a hot plate that can not be independently turned off so you need to remember to turn off the machine once it’s finished brewing to prevent the hot plate from burning the coffee and making it bitter. Ultimately, you won’t be leaving coffee sitting around for too long—brew less and enjoy it fresh.

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I’ve personally been using a Presisjon that Wilfa sent me to test out for over a year now in various situations. I’ve used it at public events to brew large batches for 50 people at a time and I’ve used it at home for dinner parties and guests. The machine’s one button simplicity is easy for anyone to use but it’s quality and consistency is good enough that it can still be appreciated by coffee geeks as well. Thanks to the brewer’s unique design, you are also able to explore using it as a water delivery device for other brew methods like the Chemex, V60 and Kalita Wave—with great results. Surely something that will make coffee enthusiasts quite happy.

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After more than a year of only being available in Europe, the Wilfa Svart Presisjon has now found its way to the US exclusively through Williams-Sonoma. The Presisjon comes in two finishes, aluminum and a slightly more affordable matte black polymer version. Designed by the Danish firm, Designit, the Presisjon also won a prestigious Red Dot Design award, something that few products in the coffee industry can claim. Its form is a striking departure from pretty much every other home brewer available and every time I’ve used one around other people, they ask questions about it.

Williams-Sonoma is selling the black polymer Presisjon for $275 and the premium aluminum version for $363 on their website and in their stores. This is definitely an expensive home brewer, but it’s in the same range as a Moccamaster and still less than the forthcoming, albeit US-made, Ratio Brewer. If you’re in the market for an automatic coffee brewer and appreciate great design, this is definitely worth looking into alongside the other options available.

As the resurgence of considerate batch brewing is finding its place in more top coffee shops around the world, the automatic home brewer has also become less of a device to be loathed, and instead is one to be enjoyed on lazy weekends. With the proper technical attributes provided by the latest home brewers, combined with the knowledge of brew ratios and access to better, fresh roasted beans, a quality automatic brewer like this Presisjon can yield fantastic and consistent results.

Check out a video of Tim Wendelboe demonstrating the Presisjon below:

Design Alert: Commonwealth Coffee


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Commonwealth Coffee is a new coffee roaster based in Denver, Colorado, founded by Jason Farrar and Ryan Fisher. The pair got things started last fall and I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan in Seattle at the SCAA Event in April. He sent me home with a stamped brown bag of their Ethiopian coffee that was one of my favorites on the post-SCAA cupping table and assured me that they had new bags coming out that would be fantastic. After seeing a couple process shots on his phone, I knew they were going to stand out—and that, they do.

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The branding and the bags for Commonwealth are the work of notable designer and typographer Kevin Cantrell, whose intricate work looks like its from the bygone era of Freemasons and royal charters. The design is meant to reflect the core of Commonwealth Coffee, which represents unity between the quality of product and service. On the back of each bag is a quote from Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan which argues for the value of the social contract:

This is more than mere agreement or harmony; it is a real unity of them all. They are unified in that they constitute one single person, created through a covenant of every man with every other man… -Hobbes, Leviathan

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The detailed line work wraps the entire bag in gold patterns, filling nearly every inch of empty space between the custom, typographic logo. Laced between the patterns and the flourishes you will find details of the coffee. Each country of origin also has be assigned it’s own custom typographic treatment that is just as well crafted as the logo itself. The details are tremendous. If Baz Lurhmann made a modern period film about coffee, this would be his bag of choice.

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Enjoy the photos here and then head over to Kevin Cantrell’s site to view much more of the design development. Order a bag of your own from Commonwealth Coffee.


Summer Coffee Videos by Florian Döring


For the past couple of years, Florian Döring has been producing some of the best short coffee films around the web for brands like Coffee Circle and Probat. Many of his videos have been featured here on DCILY, including the hugely popular MacGyver AeroPress, starring Hannes Fendrich.

Recently, Döring and Fendrich teamed up again to create a video of their own, bringing to life Fendrich’s own coffee-themed vision of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” music video–”The Coffeesweet Symphony.” As the star of the video, Fendrich comes off just as dickish as Richard Ashcroft did in the 90’s, performing flawlessly while brewing a French press on the streets of Berlin.

The film features several coffee heroes as well, with cameos from Cory Andreen, World Cup Taster Champion from Cafe CK and the newly opened Mockingbird Hill in Washington DC as well as Kris Schackman, from Five Elephant Coffee.

Also, just in time for summer holidays, Döring has released a short film capturing a relaxing journey into the wilds of Beerwalde in eastern Germany, enhanced by the joy of drinking fresh brewed coffee with a friend. Caution: this video will inspire you to stop whatever you’re doing and head for nature.

More from Florian Döring and his company Flughand Produktion on Facebook

A Moomin Cafe: So Much Better Than Cats



With the recent—and unexplainable—trend of “cat cafés” there seems to be a rise in these concept-driven (value-added?) ways to get people into a shop to sip coffee. While I think a cat café sounds like an incredibly awful and hair-filled experience, I would happily sit at a table with a large stuffed Moomin and enjoy a delicious cup—something that you can actually do in Japan.

If you haven’t heard of the Moomins, they are a family of hippo-esque creatures who live in Mumindalen and go on great adventures. They are the central characters in a collection of books, comics and cartoons from the Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator, Tove Jansson—and they are simply fantastic.


The Moomin Bakery and Café is located at Tokyo Dome City, an entertainment complex in the Bunkyo neighborhood. The bakery offers Finnish-style bread and lots of other food shaped like Moomin Characters to create a Finland themed café in the heart of Japan. While I can’t speak to the coffee quality, but does it really matter when you’re sharing a table with a giant Moomintroll?

Moomin Bakery & Cafe Tokyo Dome City
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 1-1-1 Tokyo Dome City LaQua 1F
T. 03-5842-6300



[photos via Business Insider]

First Look: Workshop Holborn Coffeebar



London’s Workshop Coffee Co. first opened its doors in 2011 as the European cousin to Australia’s St.Ali—sharing the same name. But in April 2012 the company rebranded (full disclosure: I worked with them on their rebrand) and they’ve since become a household name in London’s specialty coffee scene. The first two Workshop locations were always high on my list of recommended places to visit in London and their wholesale accounts have grown considerably since my last time here.

Last week, Workshop’s third retail location opened at Holborn in the bottom of the new Amazon headquarter building and it’s quite an amazing coffee bar. When you arrive, large front doors open to a bright and spacious area with ample room to place an order or form a queue once Amazon is fully staffed with their employees.



When you enter to the left, there’s a large mirrored logo that casts a glow on several high standing tables and a wall mounted bench reminiscent of the trams in Sweden. This half of the space is designed to accommodate shorter stays and quick shots of espresso, while the back half of the shop offers a more lounging environment where several groups of people were having casual business meetings.



The bar is literally split in two, providing the ability to close off the back of the space with a sliding gate for private events, while keeping the front half open to the public. The back bar also provides the resources to speed up service during rush periods.

The front and back bars are both outfitted with La Marzocco Linea PBs, Mazzer grinders and Uber Boilers. If you’re interested in filter coffee, you can choose from a selection of single origins brewed on an AeroPress or a quick cup of batch brew from a dialed-in Fetco. To accommodate employees operating the well-equipped bar, the space behind it is almost equal to the space in front of it, giving baristas a luxurious amount of room to work with, which everyone seemed very happy about.



The new Workshop feels entirely different than the previous two locations, which are unique from each other in their own right, creating three very distinct experiences depending on where you go. This shop feels like it was designed for speed and efficiency, likely anticipating the rush from Amazon employees and the heavy foot traffic on the street outside. But it also has a very fresh and modern feel in stark contrast to the rustic, wood heavy aesthetic of the Clerkenwell café.

With the growing number of choices to drink delicious coffee in London, the new Workshop offers a refreshing take on the experience that provides a more energizing environment. It feels Scandinavian, without feeling too homey and cozy without putting you to sleep. There are elements that remind me of my favorite coffee bars around the world, like Koppi in Sweden and Saint Frank in San Francisco, all while making its own unique mark on the London coffee scene.

Workshop Holborn Coffeebar
60A Holborn Viaduct 
Mon–Fri 7am – 7pm (closed weekends)