Ingenious: Coffee Cherry Quality Bracelets

12.20

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Michael Sheriden, of CRS Coffeelands, just shared the story of a really awesome project spearheaded by Portland Roasting to help improve the quality of the coffee cherries being picked. The idea is a simple slap bracelet the color of a perfectly ripe cherry. Since picking coffee cherries at peak ripeness is an important part of producing better coffee (and coffee cherries on the same tree ripen at different rates), this is an ingenious device for helping farmers improve quality.

During the SCAA Strategic Leadership Summit in Seattle back in September, I noticed that Mark Stell of Portland Roasting was wearing a red plastic slap bracelet … The best 60-cent investment I have seen in coffee quality.  Mark bought them and distributed them to the workers who harvest the coffee on his estate in Tanzania as a quality-control measure.  The bracelet’s “Red 22″ color was carefully selected to match the red of optimally ripe cherry, so each time they reached for cherry the bracelet provided an instant quality check.  I have heard of lots of worker training initiatives and color-coded quality-control cards for use in the field, but they seemed expensive and clumsy in comparison with this elegant solution. – Coffeelands.

Even more awesome than the bracelet itself is that Mark Stell, from Portland Roasting, donated 10,000 bracelets for Michael to distribute among coffee farmers in Colombia who are participating in his Borderlands Coffee Project.

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posted by on 12.20.2013, under Design, Misc.

Video: Slo-mo Espresso

12.18

 

Mute the video above and play this simultaneously:
 
Do you need a reason to stop whatever you’re doing for a few minutes of procrastination? Here’s a hypnotizing viral video break from your daily routine. This great slow motion video of a shot of espresso was filmed by a barista working at Spyhouse Coffee in Minneapolis—the limited details are as follows. Enjoy.

A shot of Spyhouse Orion espresso being extracted from a La Marzocco FB80 @120 frames per second. Enjoy. Drink coffee. Mute the sound and put on your own music.

The track recommended above is:
The Adventures of Alvin & Lance by Explosions in the Sky & David Wingo

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posted by on 12.18.2013, under Misc., Videos

Tonx Talk: Making Do With A Blade Grinder

12.09

 
Tonx Coffee is a roaster based in LA who distributes their coffee through subscriptions delivered to your door. Their approach is a no fuss, no judgement, just enjoy great coffee kind of attitude. With little face-to-face interaction, they create nice illustrations and videos to help people get the best from their coffee.

One tip for getting the best from your coffee is purchasing a good burr grinder. It’s the most important tool for brewing better coffee, but good ones aren’t cheap. In the latest video from Tonx, they tackle the blade grinder—loathed by most coffee aficionados—it’s often the first grinder people buy because of their low cost.

I wouldn’t recommend one, however if you find yourself stuck with one, it’s a better option than stale, pre-ground coffee. With these tips from Tonx you might be able to make the best with what you have, while saving up for something better.

Tonx Coffee

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posted by on 12.09.2013, under Coffee 101, Videos

Epic New Coffee Dome To Open in Siberia

12.07

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Traveler’s Coffee is an international chain of specialty coffee shops from Russia with an impressive 76 locations in 5 countries (Russia, China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan). They are headquartered in Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia, in southwestern Siberia. The company is currently working with designer Anna Burles to renovate their flagship store inside of a three story geodesic dome—and it looks nothing short of amazing.

Set across three floors, the unique venue we are designing will feature a 3rd Wave Genius Bar, Espresso ToGo, retail shop and Sky Lounge which nestles underneath the building’s glass-domed roof.  The restaurant has 200+ covers and is the flagship venue of Travelers Coffee. -Anna Burles

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Anna and another designer John Barnett are based in London and have been collaborating on a lovely portfolio of projects in the coffee world, designing holistic brand and architectural experiences in the UK, Russia and China. They recently authored a great article in the Specialty Coffee Chronicle called, “Creating the Coffee Shop Brand Experience: a Designer’s View” that I highly suggest reading.

Designing a coffee shop isn’t just about getting the right look. Or serving the best coffee. It’s about creating an experience which not only shouts about the amazingness of your coffee, and how that makes people feel good, but also an experience which gives a double-shot boost to your brand…

It’s a crowded marketplace for sure, with an ever-growing breed of artisan coffee brands opening up shop in our towns and cities. So what makes us (or you) choose one brand’s coffee shop over another? And how can we as designers use our professional and personal insight to help you as a client stand out in a way which makes consumers stay loyal to you? –SCAA Chronicle

As a designer who does a lot of work in the coffee industry, it’s always great to hear the perspectives of others who face the same challenges and are doing great work to elevate specialty coffee experiences around the world. This new Traveler’s Coffee location, when it opens, will be high on the list of places to visit.

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posted by on 12.07.2013, under Design

The Handsome X 3Sixteen Coffee Travel Kit

12.05

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LA’s Handsome Coffee Roasters are known for many handsome things—their coffee bar, their packaging and their owners to name a few. Now you can add this lust-worthy travel coffee kit to the list—a collaboration with LA outfitter 3Sixteen.

The gorgeous leather satchels are handcrafted by Teppei Teranishi in Vashon, Washington. There are three colors of supple Chromexcel leather to choose from—oxblood, natural and Havana brown—which will wear beautifully as Chromexel leather is known to do. Solid brass fittings add classy details to match the debossed seal on the top flap. What more could you want to protect your coffee  in transit?

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For $325, it’s not cheap, but the coffee gear alone makes up more than a third of the cost. It’s definitely wish list worthy and for the traveler, it would pair well with any of the bags from Tanner Goods (who also use Chromexel leather).

The kit comes neatly packed with an Aeropress, a 12oz bag of fresh roasted Handsome coffee, a Porlex mini grinder, an AWS scale and extra paper filters. The only thing missing for delicious coffee is hot water, your favorite mug and some place to go. Where will you take it?

Handsome Roasters X 3Sixteen Travel Coffee Kit

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posted by on 12.05.2013, under Design, Misc., Products

DCILY’s Coffee Lover Gift Guide 2013

12.04

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Now that the joyous weekend for tazing strangers and fighting over cheap towels has passed, it’s time for a more relaxed approach to finding the perfect gift for the coffee lovers in your life. This year’s wish list features some of the hottest products in the world of coffee and a few unique suggestions that you won’t find at your local coffee shop. Introducing the 2013 edition of DCILY’s Coffee Lover Gift Guide™.

1. Baratza Forte Grinder AP -$900- A gift for the one who has it all. Baratza grinders have always been a must have for anyone serious about brewing coffee at home. Their Virtuoso made the second edition of the DCILY gift guide and it still remains a great all around grinder. But for the person with everything, the Forte puts commercial grade performance into a home sized body. Touch screen, grind by weight and flat ceramic burrs. Shop for Baratza Forte AP

2. Kalita Wave Style Set -$70- A gift for your favorite couple. The Kalita Wave is one of several types of pour over brewing methods. This uses a wavy flat bottom filter that consistently brews great coffee. The “Style Set” includes a glass carafe and insulating collar. It brews enough coffee for a quiet Sunday morning around the house with the one you love. Shop for Kalita Wave Style Set

3. Hasami Ceramic Mugs -$25- A gift for the tactilely stimulated. Hasami ceramic has been made in Japan for over 400 years. These simple but elegant looking mugs will prove themselves once you pick them up. The texture, the weight and the balance will ensure you won’t want to put it down until you need a refill. The optional oak lids offer a lovely way to keep your coffee warmer for just a bit longer. Shop for Hasami mugs

4. Hario Clear Coffee Grinder -$60- A gift for the morning person. A hand grinder is a wonderful thing, but for some people the morning is way to early to have to do so much work—especially before drinking their coffee. But for the morning person who wants to save money or energy, the newest hand mill from Hario is a lovely choice. The base uses suction to hold it in place on your counter and the handle nestles inside for easier storage.  Shop Hario Clear Coffee Grinder

5. MadCap NoPattern Tee -$25- A gift for the laid back. This shirt from MadCap Coffee is a next-level version of their classic tee, after designer Chuck Anderson went wild on top of it. The shirt is a charcoal grey, tri-blend t-shirt, 50% cotton, 25% poly, 25% rayon. It’s soft as butter and super fresh. Shop for MadCap NoPattern Tee

6. ThermaPen -$96- A gift for the coffee geek. There are a lot of variables in coffee brewing and one of them is water temperature. This detail is often overlooked by casual coffee drinkers but for the precision minded coffee geek, the ThermaPen is the ultimate pocket sized digital thermometer. With a 3-second read time, ±0.7°f/±0.4°c accuracy and a splash proof design, the ThermaPen is perfect for probing your AeroPress. Shop for ThermaPen

7. Rapha Chris King Tamper -$125- A gift for the bike riding barista champ. Rapha is the ultimate cycling apparel company known for romanticizing the journey and not the technical aspects of bikes. Chris King is a legend in the world of precision bike components. Together, they offer this unique tamper that will put a smile on the face of any cyclist pulling shots. Shop for Rapha Tamper

8. DCILY Watch -$40- A gift for the one who’s always late. DCILY recently partnered with Moment Watches in Hong Kong to design a watch inspired by the precision needed to brew a great cup of coffee. Details resemble grinder burrs and showcase the DCILY motto—love coffee, live well—the perfect way for a coffee lover to wear their heart on their sleeve. (Ships late December) Shop DCILY Watch

9. Intelligentsia X GSC Cycle Cap -$20- A gift for the weekend warrior. Intelligentsia has teamed up with the Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles for the second time to bring a new version of their Pace brand cycling cap. The brightly colored profile will let the hybrids know when you pass them by and the brim lets everyone know what coffee you prefer to drink. Shop for Intelli X GSC Cycle Cap

10. SodaStream Source -$99- A gift for the barista competitor. Nothing compliments a great shot of espresso like a refreshing palate cleanser and the SodaStream makes that possible at home or in front of the judges. Fresh sparkling water, coffee tonics and more can be had with the press of a giant button. All beautifully encased by renown designer Yves Behar. Shop SodaStream Source

11. Soma Water -$49 to $159- A gift for anyone who drinks water. Brewed coffee is somewhere around 98% water, which means whatever your water tastes like will affect the taste of your coffee. Some people live in places where the tap is just fine, but others need to rely on filters. Until Soma launched this year, the available options were pretty terrible. Soma’s glass carafe will match your Chemex and it uses a biodegradable filter that’s delivered to your door every 60 days. It would probably pair nicely with a SodaStream Source. Shop for Soma

12. Hario V60 Metal -$50- A gift for the nomad. The Hario V60 is a classic pour over cone from Japan that brews delicious coffee. It now comes in three shades of stainless steel for a travel worthy pour over companion. The handle is designed for clipping onto a carabiner and the detachable silicon base allows it to rest directly on your favorite camp mug. Time to hit the trails.  Shop for Hario V60 Metal

13. Joco Cup -$23 to $25- A gift for the conscious commuter. Drinking out of a paper cup is a terrible thing, throwing them away every day is even worse. Meanwhile, most options for travel mugs and reusable cups fall short. Joco, a new company from Australia, offers a new way to prevent wasting paper with their beautifully designed, reusable glass cups. 8oz & 12oz. Shop for Joco Cups

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After all of that, you might need some fresh coffee too. You can start by checking out any of the recommended coffee roasters on the right side bar, or sign up for a multi-roaster subscription service like Craft Coffee or Misto Box to discover new roasters each month. If you can’t find a local roaster in your town, ask DCILY on Twitter for help finding something nearby. Happy Holidays!

*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.*

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

posted by on 12.04.2013, under Design, Gift Guides, Misc., Products

The Acaia Smart Scale: Now Keeping Time

12.03

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By now, you’ve most likely heard about the Acaia digital scale that’s raising funds on Kickstarter. The scale is beautifully designed resembling the minimal simplicity of an AppleTV device and it offers several delightful features. It has 0.1 gram accuracy, it’s powered by a lithium-ion battery that charges with a micro USB cable and uses an advanced, updatable micro-chip that’s usually reserved for commercial grade scales. It’s smart, powerful and splash proof—but originally it had one major flaw, it had no timer.

I wanted to praise it, I wanted to back it, I wanted it on my counter now, but If I had to pull out my non-splash proof smart phone to keep time after being spoiled by the Hario Drip Scale, I wanted nothing to do with it. For a Kickstarter price of $59 (and retail of $89 for the white model) the Acaia isn’t cheap. With a price point that high, it made no sense to lose a feature that seemed to “revolutionize” brewing scales just a year ago. So it was discussed on Twitter and in the Kickstarter comments and Aaron Takao Fujiki, the Acaia designer, listened.

Here is an exclusive first look at the timer function on the Acaia scale.

I spoke with Aaron who told DCILY this was only one solution for a timer, and that he is also testing a dual display that shows both the weight and time simultaneously (which you can see below).

Aaron also pointed out the additional “magic” provided by the mobile app that syncs with the scale via Bluetooth. Apart from displaying and recording the weight data, it also allows for advanced settings control. For example, with the app a user could toggle between the dual timer display or the manual timer function and even update the firmware of the scale if necessary.

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Currently all the possibility of this scale exists in a few prototypes and just like most Kickstarter products, there’s no guarantee it will work as advertised (or even be delivered). So if you have money to spare, like to support innovative designers, or are simply crazy over the latest coffee gadgets, this might be worth supporting now before the price jumps to its higher retail price. If you’ve been waiting for a better scale to come out, this offers a lot of attractive features and looks quite fast (responsive) based on the videos.

However, if you’re looking for something right now, or for a holiday gift—the Hario scales have come down in price, function well and look just as nice on your counter. If you don’t mind using a separate timer, there are loads of other capable scales that serve the important task of weighing your coffee and water without all the extras featured on the Acaia.

Learn more about the Acaia scale on Kickstarter

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posted by on 12.03.2013, under Design, Products

A Year in Review: DCILY Turns Four

12.02

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Four years ago today, Dear Coffee, I Love You went live. Back then, it was little more than a way to share the inspiring cross section of coffee and design that could be enjoyed over a morning cup. Since then, its purpose has remained much the same, but it has grown in a few significant ways. Years ago, DCILY launched several products of its own, like shirts and mugs and original art prints and recently got to design its own watch. DCILY has also been asked to help other coffee companies and organizations improve and develop their own brands—helping connect the mission of a humble website to real world projects.

This site is still a place that shares interesting projects related to coffee, but it’s also become an outlet for inspiring those who drink coffee, to enjoy much better coffee. Whether it’s through the discovery of new coffee shops, coffee roasters or ways to improve your home coffee brewing, DCILY has become a resource to introduce regular coffee lovers to the world of specialty coffee and provide a better understanding of coffee in general and all the people involved in bringing it to you.

Overall, I think the quality of the content on DCILY has improved in the last year, despite there being a decrease in quantity. This hasn’t been for a lack of things to share, but for a lack of time needed to give proper consideration to the myriad of things I discover or that fill my inbox daily. Having well considered content has always been a top priority for this site and that can sometimes lead to gaps between posts due to time constraints. This is not a full tiem job for me. When I’m not writing for DCILY, I’m completing a Masters degree, running a design studio, traveling to various coffee events and helping start a new company—so thank you for your patience. Thank you for coming back to read new articles even when it’s been weeks between them—your continued support is what keeps this site going.

Cheers to another year. Love coffee, live well, give back and inspire others.

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A few year-end stats for DCILY
53 New Posts
Visits from 189 Countries
45% female / 55% male
61% between 18 – 34 years old

Social Stock
63,750 Facebook Fans
10,050 Twitter Followers
1450 Instagram Followers
1500+ Referring Websites

Top 10 Posts
Love Keurig? Nope.
The Bialetti Moka Express
Coffee Touring: The Best Coffee in Amsterdam
The Espro Press: The Rebirth of the French Press
The Hario V60 Coffee Machine
The Hario Drip Scale
Coffee at Noma: The World’s Best Restaurant
Brew Method: The Chemex
Hario Sommelier Gives New Shape to the Syphon
First Look: Saint Frank Coffee in San Francsico

Top 10 Countries
United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Netherlands
Germany
Sweden
South Korea
Singapore
Norway

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posted by on 12.02.2013, under Misc.