Ministry of Supply’s Coffee Infused Socks

07/11/2013

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Ministry of Supply is a fashion start-up founded by MIT engineers, designers and material scientists intent on revolutionizing business clothing. Founded in 2010, they’ve already tackled work shirts, trousers and undershirts, but now they’ve turned their attention to the wardrobe workhorse we all know as the sock.

Being MIT engineers, MOS has used all sorts of thermal mapping, pressure mapping and mapping mapping to design Atlas, a sock they claim fits and flexes like a second skin. The best part, they’ve infused carbonized (think really dark roast) coffee into their recycled polyester thread that is supposed to work like a filter for bad odors, effectively preventing your feet from smelling after a long day at the office, or working bar pulling shots.

Odor control is difficult in socks. As such, we turned to nature to find an effective way to create a fresher sock, leading us to coffee. Atlas uses carbonized coffee which has been reclaimed from coffee roasters and shops, and is processed through a pharmaceutical process to remove the coffee oils (so it won’t smell like coffee!) and is then infused into our recycled polyester yarns. –MOS

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The innovative new socks are being pre-sold through Kickstarter and the initial goal has already been surpassed four times over. So if you love a fresh pair of socks as much as a good cup of coffee, you may be interested in checking them out.

Atlas Socks on Kickstarter

CreativeMornings with Tim Wendelboe

07/10/2013

Tim Wendelboe, the Oslo-based coffee roaster and former World Barista Champion, was recently the guest for Oslo’s very first CreativeMornings event. CreativeMornings is a monthly lecture series that was founded in New York by the well known designer/blogger Tina Roth Eisenberg aka Swiss-Miss.

CreativeMornings includes a small breakfast, networking and a 20 minute TED-style talk that encompasses inspiring people from a broad range of professions. While it began in New York City, the event now takes place in over 50 city chapters around the world. Oslo just happens to be one of the newest chapters, and it’s really awesome that their first talk was about where great coffee comes from.

Tim spends nearly 20 minutes talking about the journey coffee takes from its origin country to his shop in Oslo before ending briefly with tips for better brewing. He continues to emphasize the point that quality coffee depends on many steps before it even gets into the hands of the person brewing it.

There’s a lot to learn in this video so grab a fresh cup of coffee and enjoy.

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Public Bike & Saint Frank Coffee

07/10/2013

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While San Franciscans await the opening of Kevin “Tex” Bohlin’s new shop Saint Frank, later this summer, you can get a small taste of what to expect by visiting the Public Bike showroom in South Park. Bohlin has partnered with Public, a European inspired bike company started by Rob Forbes (who also founded Design Within Reach) to open a small pop-up coffee bar on Public’s front porch.

Bohlin, former Ritual Coffee employee and US Barista Championship competitor, will be serving up coffee drinks now through July 20th to customers and passersby who stop by to say hello. The culture of coffee, bikes and design have always fit together quite well and Rob Forbes clearly recognizes that. So partnering with Bohlin to pair great coffee with Public’s smartly designed bicycles is a well-made match.

Mention “Honduras” and get your first drink free.

Public Bikes
123 South Park
San Francisco, CA 94107

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Recap: SCAE’s World of Coffee 2013 in Nice

07/09/2013

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Last week I returned home from attending the annual Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s World of Coffee event in Nice, France. The 3-day event was host to more than 100 exhibitors as well as the World Latte Art Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship and the first ever World Coffee Roasting Championship.

The event itself felt a bit small following so shortly after the World Barista Championships in Melbourne, with several notable companies absent. This however didn’t take away from the great weather, the great people and of course the great coffee.

Below is a recap of my favorite parts of this year’s event.

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One of only a few new products that were announced at the event was the Moccamaster Cup-one. It’s a miniature version of the company’s popular home auto-drip machine that brews a single 300ml cup of coffee. It’s an interesting approach to what seems like a small market, unless their goal is to compete directly with one-cup capsule machines, which is growing dramatically. There’s no price yet for the Cup-one and it’s expected to begin shipping in Europe this October (no date yet for the US).

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Robert Thoresen, founder of Kaffa in Oslo and the first World Barista Champion, is working with a Japanese company that specializes in industrial filters to help them develop a dual layer metal filter for coffee brewing that hopes to replicate rather than differentiate from the taste of paper filters.

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There were cuppings all day long focusing on many different things. Some featured new offerings from coffee buyers while other’s were more experimental—focusing on tests with nitrogen flushed coffee or different processing techniques. You could easily fill most of your day cupping really fantastic coffees.

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Hario had their new syphons on display, including the fancy new Sommelier. They were also showing off metal V60 cones and the new Largo tea brewer, which may soon be available with a coffee filter—think “glass Clever brewer.”

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Marco’s plus-shaped brew bar was back after last year’s debut in Vienna, featuring the coffee of 16 roasters from around the world using various brew methods.

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Last year’s second place World Championship Barista from Mexico, Fabrizio Ramirez was giving one-on-one trainings on Dalla Corte’s new Evo2 espresso machines throughout the event, while several espresso machine manufacturers were serving up espresso and offering hands-on demos of their latest equipment—which included a disturbingly high number of touchscreen controlled machines.

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There was also a lovely exhibit of Unic’s history of espresso machines. The French company who is based in Nice was also giving daily tours of their nearby factory—which I regret not being able to attend.

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There was vintage type on Probats, red shoes on Stephen Leighton, Norwegian faces on Norwegians, porcelain cups on walls and the chance to freebase vaporized coffee.

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Meanwhile, Tamper Tantrum kept the conversations interesting with lectures …

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… men in coffee banter …

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… and women in coffee banter …

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… and former World Barista Champions flipping the bird.

All of this took place while some of the world’s best coffee professionals competed for the title of “World Champion” in latte art, cup tasting, coffee cocktails and coffee roasting. You can read more about the winners of each competition on Sprudge.

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and of course there were the parties. Until next year, see you in Rimini!

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Coffee Supreme Wins Top Package Design Award

07/01/2013

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Coffee Supreme, the New Zealand-based coffee roaster, won first prize in the non-alcoholic beverage category last week at the annual Dieline Package Design Awards. The company, which has five locations in New Zealand and one in Melbourne, received a brand makeover last year from the NZ-based design agency Hardhat that included the development of an engaging system of take-away cups for their stores.

The new collection of cups include sixteen unique illustrations that are meant to capture the spirit and individuality of the company, referencing vintage etchings with a modern design approach. The system also includes three different cup colors to easily distinguish between different sizes—definitely a helpful feature for busy baristas.

In creating this collection of cups, each with their own characterful hand-drawn or painted illustration, we hoped to replace the somewhat thoughtless routine of buying a take-out coffee with a more unique and personal experience, encouraging you to take a moment to stop & reflect; to look at the detail and humor in the illustrations, to look forward to seeing which cup your coffee might arrive in, having a particular favorite.

Put simply, this was about re-connecting people with the great cup of coffee in their hands.  -Hardhat Design

I’m not a supporter of paper cups, but these are quite lovely and definitely distinguishable. If only they weren’t meant to be thrown away after such a short life.

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[via The Dieline]

 

Hario Sommelier Gives New Shape to the Syphon

06/26/2013

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The syphon (or vacuum coffee maker) is one of those brew methods that truly embodies coffee geekdom. Everything about it feels more like a science experiment than a morning coffee routine and it always creates quite a performance at the coffee shops who use them. The invention of the syphon coffee maker dates back to the early 1800’s, which makes it one of the oldest ways to brew coffee. While it’s taken many forms over the years, the modern syphon design hasn’t changed much—until now.

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Hario, one of the more prominent manufactures of syphon brewers, has just released an elegant and curvaceous new model called the Hario Sommelier. I saw what looked like a prototype of this in Portland last year which piqued my curiosity, so Hario sent me one of the new production models to try out. If you happen to be in Nice this week for the World of Coffee event, they will most likely have them at their booth.

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The new SCA-5 has left behind the glass globe from former syphon models and embraced a look that’s more familiar to wine aficionados. The new syphon bowls are handmade in order to achieve its extreme shape, but also contributes to its heftier price ($260). As the name implies, this syphon is meant to enhance the aromatic experience of the coffee, while also catching the attention of fine dining establishments.

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One of the primary differences with this syphon, aside from the shape, is its separation from the stand. This allows the coffee decanter to sit on its own, which changes the experience of pouring and presentation. The neck is also covered by a thick, finned silicone collar that can be easily removed for washing.

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Functionally, the Sommelier syphon works just like other vac pots, but Hario seems to have designed it to work primarily with their new metal filter. The filter is laser cut and works quite well, leaving behind sediment that’s comparable to the latest Kone filter.

The stainless steel and silicone filter is easy to clean and looks like it will survive a significant amount of re-use, however, the clarity of cloth filters is what I love most about the syphon. The Sommelier comes with both a cloth and metal filter, so you can decide yourself what works best for the occasion.

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There are two things I had issues with while using the new design that I’d like to point out. First, the extreme bell curve at the bottom of the decanter is meant to trap sediment when pouring coffee, which is great when you’re using the metal filter, but frustrating when you’re using cloth and want all the coffee to pour out easily.

The decanter needs to be tipped at a fairly extreme angle to get everything into your cup. The lip on the decanter itself is also fairly wide, so the control of the pour isn’t as precise as the woodneck or V60 decanters, but I assume this is a result of it being handmade.

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Hario may have gained inspiration for the Sommelier (name and shape) from fine wine, but now they’re using their expertise to help elevate the coffee experience in fine restaurants as well. Whether Noma ever intends to switch from brewing delicious coffee on V60s or you just really want to impress your dinner guests, the Sommelier syphon definitely makes a gorgeous conversation starter about coffee.

Shop for a Sommelier Syphon

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Here’s a video of the Sommelier in action from Hario:

 

Baby Mugging

06/19/2013

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A new meme for coffee loving parents has started brewing on Instagram thanks to Ilana Wiles, the mommy behind Mommy Shorts, a blog that takes a humous look at parenting. The idea was originally a response to the Boston marathon tragedy, when Ilana was at a loss for words and just wanted to share something to make people smile. Two months later, there have been more than 1300 babes photographed in their parent’s mugs.

The baby mugging technique is simple: lay baby down, hold mug in front of baby (empty would be wise), take a photo. Now you can share your adorable offspring, your favorite mug and your choice in designer sheets simultaneously. This might give new meaning to the word babycino.

Post your own babies or baristas using #babesinmugs & #coffeebabesinmugs

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All photos link to their original Instagram feed. [ht BuzzFeed]

Välkomna! Koppi Pops-Up in Stockholm

05/30/2013

Tonight the partners of Koppi, a crown jewel of Swedish coffee, will open the doors to their new pop-up coffee bar in Stockholm. Until now, coming across Koppi in the capital city was relinquished to the occasional guest appearance on bar or recently at a multi-roaster shop like Mean Coffee. But after this evening, there will be a little bit of the Helsingborg experience available to everyone in Stockholm.

The new space shares a wall with the Denim Demon flagship store where you can try on a fresh pair of raw blues while you enjoy an Aeropress of Thunguri.

Stop by tonight from 18:00 to 21:00 for beer and coffee and congratulations.
Åsögatan 174, Stockholm Sweden

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The Portland Press: A French Press in a Jar

05/23/2013

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The Portland Press is a beautiful and responsible new approach to manufacturing a coffee brewing staple—the French press. This is the first product from Bucket, a two person startup in Portland, Oregon who wants to manufacture products as responsibly as possible while creating relationships between customers and the craftsmen who make their products. The coffee market seems like a good place to start.

Bryan Kappa and Rob Story wanted to develop a French press that was manufactured locally using materials from the US and wasn’t as fragile as the typical French press glass that most of us have probably shattered ourselves more than once.

The Portland Press is a french press for a Mason jar, made in the state of Oregon, out of materials sourced in the USA. It’s a simple, clean, practical design made out of fundamental materials: glass, wool, steel, wood. Most importantly, the Mason jar is easy to replace if it breaks, and the rest of the Portland Press is backed with a lifetime warranty. -Bucket

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While I continue to support the French press as a simple way of introducing people to the joys of brewing fresh coffee at home, I do wish Bucket could have partnered with Espro to develop a next generation version of this lovely product.

Responsibly made also doesn’t come cheap, and $100 for a 24oz French press positions this on the high end of the price spectrum. Maybe the lifetime warranty will help offset the sticker shock or maybe the beauty of the Oregon maple lid and the wool sleeve are enough to persuade you to part with your money a bit easier.

Bucket is currently taking pre-orders at Crowd Supply.

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KeepCup Salutes the Reuser

05/21/2013

This week at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo, thousands of people will gather to watch the World Barista and Brewers Championships and wander through endless aisles of the latest coffee equipment. There will be meetings with coffee exporters from around the world and new product demos, all accompanied by a limitless number of drinks served from a myriad of complimentary coffee bars.

Usually all this free expo coffee leads to lots of wasted paper cups, but the homegrown Australian company KeepCup is going to try and limit that waste. Coinciding with the launch of a new global campaign called “Salute the Reuser,” KeepCup will manage three wash stations at this weekend’s coffee expo where they’ll wash reusable cups (of any kind). Beyond just keeping your mug clean, they will be donating 10 cents for each cup washed to Coffee Kids, a non-profit that supports families in coffee growing regions.

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As the official Sustainability Sponsor of this year’s expo, KeepCup is tackling an issue that often gets discussed, but rarely addressed at these types of events, “how to reduce disposable waste.” I’ve used my KeepCup on planes, trains, boats and mountains—wherever I don’t have easy access to ceramic or glass, my KeepCup is there. I’ve been an advocate of the KeepCup for some time (and even sell DCILY versions), not just for the practicality of the product, but for the authenticity of the brand and the contributions the company has made to the coffee community.  This is a a great initiative and we should not only salute the reuser, but also KeepCup for their continued efforts.

KeepCup has also worked with some of the world’s best letter artists, Jessica Hische and Timba Smits, to create several versions of their mantra for the campaign—they’d look great on a reusable tote. Salute the reuser and damn thy disposable.

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