When Tim Wendelboe announced the launch of the Nordic Coffee Culture blog, he also hinted at the unveiling of a new brewer that he had been working on with Norwegian housewares company Wilfa (and Europe’s largest design consultancy, Designit). When the top baristas from around Scandinavia gathered last week for the Nordic Barista Cup in Copenhagen, they had the chance to test out the new product.
The new brewer, called the Wilfa Svart (Black) Manuell, consists of a matching electric kettle and carafe with a funnel hanging above it. The funnel has a flow control valve which allows the user to pre-infuse the grounds and better control the extraction time. The kettle can also be pre-set to heat water in 10 degree increments—from 60° to 100°C. Making the kettle useful for more delicate teas as well various brewing preferences.
The Svart isn’t available yet on the Wilfa site, but I hope to demo one soon.
[UPDATE] This is still in prototype stage. Tim says they’re working on implementing a scale and timer + (addressing) some design issues.
There are many ways to brew coffee at home—as many bad methods as good methods. Aside from auto-drip, instant and K-cup machines, I personally think the worst cup of coffee one can make at home comes from a Bialetti. There are a few techniques to improve the coffee from a moka pot—like pouring pre-heated water into the lower chamber—but I still think the outcome is on par with burnt metallic sludge.
Coffee taste aside, the object itself is a beautiful and iconic part of design history, with a place in several major museums around the world. Which is why it looks great on posters, sitting on a kitchen shelf, or even oddly contorted into a ceramic mug.
Yesterday, The New York Times ran an article about the invention of the Moka Express that says 9 in 10 Italian homes own one—which is an incredible saturation of the home brewing market. But just like Italian espresso, ignoring progression in the name of tradition can limit the quality that good coffee can produce.
The moka pot is often referred to as a stove-top espresso maker, but it doesn’t actually make espresso. While, it does use pressure to push water through the coffee grounds, it’s a substantially less amount than what’s required for a proper shot (1-2 bars of pressure instead of the required 9 bars). In many ways it’s just a well designed percolator.
However, if you love using a moka pot as much as looking at one, atleast give the tips in this video a try to see if you can improve the taste. If you’re buying fresh roasted coffee, you shouldn’t sacrifice flavor for the sake of romanticizing an inferior brew method.
Barcelona based design firm cunicode, tasked themselves with designing and creating a new espresso cup every day for 30 days. The results are pretty incredible. From the clever, to the impossible, there’s a great range of creativity. The cups are made with white glazed ceramic and each demitasse can be purchased and manufactured to order—one of the benefits of 3D printing.
Today is the one year anniversary of Coava’s coffee bar and roastery in Portland and they’ve released photos of the new Able Disk (AeroPress filter) packaging just in time for the celebration. As I’ve mentioned before, I totally love Coava. Their continued innovation, attention to design, stellar baristas—not to mention great coffee—make them a truly inspiring company in the world of coffee.
Since opening the doors of their shop a year ago, they swept the Northwest Regional Barista and Brewers Cup competitions, released a new and improved version of their popular Kone filter and spawned a second company, Able, which will focus solely on creating quality, sustainable coffee brewing equipment that’s made in the USA.
The packaging itself mirrors the thoughtfulness that exists throughout both companies. The package doubles as an envelope for easy shipping and the custom designed postage stamp nicely illustrates an adept attention to detail. The generous use of white space, simple color palette and solid typography make it lovely all around. Who wouldn’t want to pull this from their mailbox?
There’s a new coffee doctor in town, Dr.Drip, whose medicinal looking product aims to combat the virus of instant brew across the land. Each pack comes with five “pop-up” pour over stands and five packs of pre-ground coffee—available in four mediocre sounding blends: Organic Blend, Premium Signature Blend, Dark Sumatran Blend, and Decaffeinated Premium.
The product was created by Gordon Grade Coffee, a father/son company who wanted to develop a simple and portable single-cup brewing device that didn’t need any fancy equipment. Its a good looking product. Sadly, they’ve chosen to market their product in the most trite sounding terms available, using every catchphrase of the moment:
All of our Gordon Grade Coffee is made from 100% superior quality Arabica beans, carefully selected from the world’s best growing regions. Artisan roasters escort the beans through the roasting process, crafting rich, flavorful all natural, fair-trade or organically grown blends before the beans go on to receive a precision grind.
I haven’t personally tried these, and won’t have time to before leaving the country, but they piqued my interest for two reasons. First, I think the design, although very pharmaceutical, is kind of nice. I’m a sucker for simple geometric illustrations. However, the perpetuation of marketing coffee as a drug is rather annoying. Second, they reminded me of the Kalita Katan disposable drippers that Wrecking Ball Coffee sells (and for much less). A pack of five Dr.Drip pouches costs $9, while a pack of 30 Kalita drippers costs only $8—but you must supply your own questionable pre-ground coffee.
I think the drippers are a great idea for travelers, and they look sturdier than the Kalitas, though I’m not sure how they compare brewing wise. My suggestion to Gordon Grade Coffee would be to start selling just the drippers (at a more competitive price) and let the customer provide their own coffee. If the product performs, I bet they’d have a bigger market in Specialty Coffee than they realize.
DCILY Update: I’ve been having conversations with people in passing on Twitter recently, so I figured I would just do a quick post to announce some DCILY changes. The DCILY HQ will be upending itself from the coast of Maine and leaving the US of A (Happy 4th!). After traveling to the UK for Coffee Common next week, I will be traveling most of the summer in Europe before landing in Göteborg, Sweden.
I travel a lot, but I’ve never officially lived abroad and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I don’t plan on changing much in terms of content, other than I won’t be talking about US roasters as much. I’m excited to have access to some of the great Swedish roasters like Da Matteo, Koppi, Drop, Johan & Nyström, Love—and discovering others along the way. I’ll also be a short train ride from Oslo & Tim Wendelboe.
In the meantime, I have some things I need to get rid of:
Behmor 1600 Coffee Roaster (Sold)
1lb capacity home roaster, with 5lbs green coffee included. Owned for 1 year. Used for less than a dozen roasts—cleaned after each one. More info at Behmor
Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp Electric Kettle (Sold)
1.7 liter kettle w/ temperature settings & 30 minute “keep warm” function. More info.
DCILY 10oz Coffee Mugs ($10 each)
I’ve got a number of these left. If you want these in bulk for a café or store, I will cut you a very good deal, just get in touch. See them here.
“No X in Espresso” Shirts/Stickers ($25/$1)
I still have a few of these left in various sizes. Last chance to get them for the time being. Will be looking into future distribution in the US. See them here.
The money raised from selling this stuff will help me buy more of the same (only more expensive and with funnier looking plugs) once I settle in Sweden. Thanks for the continued readership and support. Looking forward to bringing you more coffee love from new parts of the world.
When I first saw this video I thought it was from The Onion. But it’s real. And for just $89.99 you can lug the most absurd coffee maker with you on your next camping trip! In just 18 minutes, this propane powered monstrosity will brew up to 10 cups of the same terrible drip coffee you love at home! The reviews are raving:
Way cool piezoelectric push button lite. Fast, modern, safe homestyle coffee. Almost as easy as carrying a thermos bottle of coffee. Keep it in the trunk with your lantern for coffee anywhere, anytime, no stove necessary. –Lloyd
Almost as easy—except for it being twice the size of a thermos, needing a propane tank, and taking 18 minutes to brew your coffee. I’m honestly baffled that something like this not only left the idea phase of the product development department, but was actually produced and found its way to market.
If you’re a big outdoor person, camper, hiker, picnicer—try a stainless steel French press, an AeroPress, a Melitta. While these won’t make 10 cups of coffee at once, I’m sure you could come close with 18 minutes to compete with.
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?
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.
Sometimes I forget how far I’ve grown in my relationship with coffee over the years and I often catch myself speaking to someone as if it’s standard to grind and brew fresh roasted coffee at home. Well it’s far from standard, and I often come off sounding like a giant nerd or a pretentious jerk—neither of which are the intention. Those of us who love great coffee get very passionate about it and just want to save our family and friends from drinking anything less—to share with them the joys of truly great coffee.
Recently, I was sent a blog post that reminded me to appreciate the simplicity of the French press. While this is no longer my preferred way to brew coffee, it’s a gateway drug to coffee appreciation that shouldn’t be underestimated. I was given a vintage Chambord French press, as a house warming gift from a good friend, which introduced me to home brewing years ago. Prior to that, I was spoiled by my proximity to Intelligentsia’s Broadway café in Chicago—where I spent a lot of money on coffee, but it was always good. Even as a barista 8 years ago, the batch-brewed beverages I made, never compared to what was now possible at home, made simply with a French press.
So if you’re reading this and have yet to decide how to begin brewing great coffee at home, don’t overlook a French press. Even with all the recent talk of pour-overs and fancy Hario equipment, the French press requires no special technique, fancy kettles or paper filters. Just fresh coffee, a decent burr grinder, hot water and 4 minutes of patience.
This beautiful video and the photos above are from the original Sprouted Kitchen post that reminded me how intimidating the coffee world can be to beginners who just want to brew better coffee at home. There’s a lot of information that can quickly overwhelm consumers and most of it is unnecessary. Start simple and go from there.