A Video About Caffeine (Not Coffee)

06.29

I’ve been sent this video by roughly 20 people and it’s been making rounds on the internet so hard that even Gizmodo has posted it. The video is interesting, and though not necessarily incorrect, I find it really annoying. Describing it as “everything you need to know about coffee in less than five minutes,” while only spending 8 seconds on the actual process from crop to cup, overlooks all of the work it actually takes to produce coffee. The rest of the video is little more than a 4-minute ramble about the effects of caffeine. There’s far more to coffee than caffeine. If that’s the only reason you drink it, you’re missing out on so much more. Just sayin.

posted by on 06.29.2011, under Misc., Videos

Clive Coffee Embraces Design & DCILY

06.27

I’d like you all to meet the newest supporter of DCILY—Clive Coffee. The first time I came across their website a year ago, I thought, “they’re doing everything I would do, if I were doing what they’re doing.” Clive Coffee is a number of things, and I love who they are because they’ve put design at the forefront of all of them.

Clive’s purpose is simple, to help you enjoy great coffee at home. They do this by selling a great selection of the top coffee and espresso brewing equipment for your home, leading classes that teach you how to use your new gear, and micro-roasting a nice range of single origin coffees. From the design of their website, to their gallery-esque showroom, to the beauty of their original products, they consider every detail.

I first wrote about Clive at the beginning of the year, after they launched their beautiful pour-over stand, but I didn’t take much time to talk much about the other great things they do, so I’m happy to finally share more of those things with you.

Aside from selling coffee gear, many people don’t realize that Clive is also a craft-focused coffee roaster. They sell individual 12oz bags, or you can create a reoccurring subscription with any of the coffees they offer mailed to your home or office. They sent me a sample pack of some coffee and I enjoyed a nice weekend cupping with my girlfriend, which led to a few fun tasting notes like “sun,” “marzipan,” “red,” “milk duds,” and “tar” (neither of us are very partial to Indonesians).

You will also find a lot of great information on the Clive Coffee website, including brewing tutorials, coffee 101, and a list of coffee definitions to help beginners or anyone else brush up on their knowledge. They have a palpable passion for coffee and design that comes across while talking with them and looking around their website. While I haven’t had the chance to visit their showroom in person, checking out their new space on a future trip to Portland is at the top of my to-do list.

For a limited time, save $10 on your first order from Clive, use code: TAKETEN

Visit Clive Coffee

posted by on 06.27.2011, under Design, Misc., Recommended Roasters

Stumptown X Wes Lang Limited Edition Mugs

06.17

Now available for purchase from Stumptown!

Stumptown’s support of indie art and design has always been a big part of their brand, it’s one of the things I really appreciate about it. There isn’t just one logo that’s applied to everything they produce, the look of the brand continually evolves and changes while successfully evoking a consistent voice and feeling of who they are.

The company recently teamed up with New York artist Wes Lang to produce a limited edition set of Stumptown mugs. Last night was the release party and one of many times I really wished I lived in Portland. Not sure how to get my hands on a set—anyone?

via OMFGCO

posted by on 06.17.2011, under Design, Products, Recommended Roasters

Coffee Common is Crossing the Pond

06.16

Coffee Common at TEDGlobal

After what seemed like forever, we’re back and we’re going international! Coffee Common will be gathering a whole new team to participate in TEDGlobal2011 this July in Edinburgh, Scotland.

For all the details, head over to Coffee Common.

posted by on 06.16.2011, under Design, Misc.

From Spro Down to Get Down at WBC2011

06.16

For those who missed the excitement of the WBC2011, it got even more exciting after Alejandro was crowned the new World Barista Champion. When your favorite baristas aren’t pulling shots they’re making the dance floor wicked hot.

Thanks for sharing Alexander!

posted by on 06.16.2011, under Misc., Videos

Kristyna Baczynski’s Java Jive

06.15

I really enjoy this animation chronicling the childhood and life of a coffee bean, set to the tune “Java Jave”—the 1940′s hit by The Ink Spots. The animation was illustrated and produced by Kristyna Baczynski, an artist from Leeds, UK. It also won the Digital Media Award in 2008 at the Northern Design Competition.

Kristyna’s whimsical, but refined illustration style reminds me of Ren & Stimpy with a more refreshing color palate, I love her unique take on comics and sequential art. Check out more of her work, shop her Etsy, or read a nice interview with her at Pika Land.

posted by on 06.15.2011, under Design, Videos

Review – Verve Ethiopian Worka

06.14

Verve Coffee – Ethiopia Worka, Dry-Process
12oz Whole Bean – $14.50
Santa Cruz, California
www.vervecoffeeroasters.com

I’ve known about Verve for a while, but I hadn’t actually tried their coffee until recently. I had been completely enamored with their packaging, so I’m not sure what took so long for me to order some. Recently, I met Josh Kaplan, director of wholesale for Verve, while I was in Houston and had planned a visit to Sweetleaf the following week in NYC—who brews Verve. So everything fell in place for me to finally experience their coffee.

After a great experience at Sweetleaf, where Rich served up my first cup of Verve, he sent me on my way with a bag of Ethiopian Worka. However, I wasn’t able to brew it until meeting up with Mike White a few days later. By then, the beans were slightly passed peak freshness—and though it was good, I felt like I missed out on what it really had to offer. After getting home, I ordered a bag of their Ethiopian Lomi Peaberry—and after a series of shipping mishaps—really enjoyed this sweet and effervescent coffee.

But after all the shipping issues, which weren’t the fault of Verve, they made up for it anyway by sending me a fresh bag of Ethiopian Worka and my very own OG mug. I now had a second chance to taste this coffee in its prime and it didn’t disappoint.

Aroma: After opening the bag, I was blown away with dueling characteristics of Booberry and Count Chocula cereals. Dry and malty, but incredibly sweet with vanilla undertones. Once brewed, the cold cereal aroma became a warm buttered blueberry waffle. L’eggo my Eggo, this cup was all mine.

Taste: When the coffee fills your mouth, you discover dabs of sweet maple syrup that have burrowed into the bluberry waffle’s grid-like caverns. The syrupy body coats your mouth like a spoon of Mrs. Buttersworth’s, followed by a finish that is clean and bright—like a final swig of orange garnished spring water as you leave the table after Sunday morning brunch. Heavy and sweet, but well balanced.

This coffee is really exceptional, one of my favorites in recent months. I have no idea why it took so long to try Verve, but I’m glad that I have and I’m looking forward to more of their coffee in the future. Everyone I’ve spoken with at the company has been really awesome and I’ve found out first hand, just how much they value customer service.

It’s also very clear—once you’ve held a bag of their coffee in your hand—how great of an understanding and appreciation they have for design. There are few, if any, coffee bags that could rival the intricacy and production value of theirs. It feels nice in your hand and looks great on your counter. The best part is, the complexity and quality of the package reflects that of the product inside.

Order some Verve Ethiopia Worka

Design by Chen Design Associates

posted by on 06.14.2011, under Coffee Reviews, Design, Recommended Roasters

Dialing in to Common Grounds TV

06.13

Last fall, two friends embarked on a cross-country road trip to experience and capture Canada’s independent coffee culture. What resulted was a 20 episode series called Common Ground TV that highlights the many different places, personalities, and perspectives within the Canadian coffee scene.

I know very little about Canadian coffee aside from the names of a few roasters and a couple baristas I met during Coffee Common, so I’ve learned a lot during the first six episodes. The 10-minute episodes have featured everything from interviews with coffee notables like Zane Kelsall and Sevan Istanboulian—to a trip to the Canadian Barista Championship. There’s also a bit of cultural insight and good clean fun along the way.

The two hosts, Nik and Edan, spoke with DCILY about their project, what they learned during their journey, and what the future holds.


What spurred you to make this trip? Have you always been so enthusiastic about coffee?

NIK: Ever since about 16, I’ve had an addiction to coffee. I’ve always had a decent surface knowledge of what makes a good cup. After being a barista on and off for about 15 years, I found the culture to be very interesting as far as the characters you meet across an espresso machine. People never set out to be baristas, they’re always led there and often times down some colorful paths. Those are the stories that we have been capturing. Ex-engineers, athletes—you name it—they’re often very eccentric and intense folks.

EDAN: When I was in high school, a cafe opened in Grand Forks called ‘River City’; they made really good coffee, and I started to appreciate the differences between gas station swill and proper espresso. When Nik opened his cafe, I got a chance to learn the finer nuances of pulling a good shot of espresso and how to steam milk properly. From there, Nik and I wanted to create a guide to the best coffee in BC, but I ended up doing my masters in architecture, and Nik got busy with film school, and we took a few years away from the project. Last year, we finally decided to stop talking about it and do it, and that idea ultimately turned into this film project.


What was the most enlightening thing you learned about coffee on the trip? Has it changed your perception of coffee since learning it?

EDAN: We started the trip as reasonably well informed coffee drinkers, but we soon learned that there is just so much more going on behind the scenes when it comes to getting the most out of green coffee beans. Sevan Istanboulian of Cafe Mystique showed us a lot: from the temperature and humidity the beans are kept at during transport to the roaster, to the exact conditions of roasting, to blending—before a barista ever has a chance to grind, tamp and extract a shot, there is a tremendous amount that goes into ensuring the roasted beans are absolutely the best they can be.

NIK: Personally, I learned, or at least reinforced my belief that the scenario affects the cup. As much science, heart and energy obviously dictates the flavour, taste, profile, etc—the scenario really is what rounds out the experience. We visited cafes that weren’t as highly regarded as others but the staff and locations would be so nice that they would supplement the overall enjoyment. Counter to that we visited a couple of the countries highest regarded and found people to be arrogant and unwelcoming thereby ruining the experience.

I’ve always dreamt of doing something like this in the US, do you plan on taking your crew abroad anytime soon?

NIK: We are currently prepping both Series Two on the West Coast of the USA and we’re shooting Series Three in Europe shortly there after.

EDAN: The US West coast is extremely appealing right now, and we are starting work on establishing connections to cafe’s and roasters from Seattle to San Francisco, and we are hoping for a summer launch. Europe, we hope, will happen in the fall.


What’s the connection between Global Authority and CGTV?

EDAN: The notion of ‘Global Authority’ was a tongue-in-cheek response Nik and I had while driving around BC a few years ago in the midst of a highly opinionated caffeine-fueled rant. It morphed into a proper company in 2010 in order to give ‘Common Grounds TV’ a proper business foundation, and Nik and I remain the primary members.

NIK: We have found great success across numerous intertwined industries including photography, film-making, reporting, small business and architecture. Global Authority is the umbrella under which we operate and explore avenues that interest us. We recruit also, if we feel we aren’t as good as we can be in an area, we refer and outsource work to driven creative types. We have a network of incredible sound techs, sound designers, graphic designers and marketers. Our biggest thing is that we work with nice, driven creative people. Life’s too short to work with awful people and by varying our interests we’re never stuck in a position of dealing with unsavory folks for extended periods. When you drink this much caffeine, outside aggravation has to be kept to a minimum.

You have a couple big sponsors, including Krups, how did that relationship form and what role did they play in the project?

NIK: They’re certainly the biggest name we’re associated with and their sponsorship made the logistics that much more possible. We certainly don’t reap a wage from Series One but being able to cover gas and hotels to minimize our personal outlay is a godsend and we couldn’t have done it without them. They certainly took a chance on us but we feel we are able to reach their target demographic with our humour, content and fanatical approach.

EDAN: Basically we needed someone to fill the gap between the funding Nik and I had ourselves, the the amount needed to pay for the trip (food, gas, gear, etc) without bankrupting us completely, which is where Krups came into play. They had confidence in the concept early on, and with their help, we found a way to take the time off our ‘real jobs’ to make the show.


Thanks for taking the time to talk with DCILY. Good luck with the upcoming seasons.

Watch more episodes of Common Grounds TV
Fan Common Ground TV on Facebook
Get more info at Global Authority

posted by on 06.13.2011, under Interviews, Misc., Videos

A Wooden Coffee Mug

06.10

Just incase you were looking for the perfect mug to match your wooden espresso machine, Japanese designer Oji Masanori has created the Kami mug.

Kami means paper, and the Kami mug is hand crafted in a workshop in Hokkaido Japan by Hidetoshi Takahashi. The cup is made from Castor Aralia wood, shaped using a potter’s wheel and coated with a food safe resin. It is very pleasant to drink from.

This mug is absolutely beautiful. The designer has taken such a simple but iconic shape and combined it with a material almost completely foreign to such an everyday object. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a mug so much as I want this one. However, with a price of $75, I think I’ll be sticking with ceramic for the time being.

Buy them at Mjölk.

[via CMYBacon]

posted by on 06.10.2011, under Design, Misc., Products

Stumptown Speaks—A Note from Duane

06.08

Duane Sorenson, founder of Stumptown, has finally spoken more regarding new investment into the company. While he doesn’t answer all the questions many people are asking, as I said before, I take him at his word. Keep supporting farmers and selling great coffee and nothing else matters.

At a time when it’s difficult to find the financing to grow, run and operate a quality driven and sustainable business, I am pleased to announce that Stumptown has found an investor to help us offer opportunities and take care of our employees, farmers and customers like we’ve never been able to do before. I have been lucky enough to find an investor that will let me continue to run Stumptown and focus on the coffee.

Read the rest at Stumptown

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posted by on 06.08.2011, under Recommended Roasters