There’s a new Nordic coffee roaster to keep your eye on in Ålesund, Norway named Jacu Coffee Roasters. I first met Anne Birte and Gunnar last fall when I attended a coffee and chocolate pairing at their shop, then called Brenneriet.
At the time, Anne Birte told me of their future plans to begin roasting and gave me a sneak peek at their new rebrand, which I loved from first sight. We kept in touch after I left Ålesund and she even used two photos of mine in the re-design of their shop—mounting them like pillars on the sides of their front door.
Jacu’s name refers to the Brazilian Jacu bird, who like the Civet cat in Indonesia, is known to seek out and eat the finest coffee cherries. While Jacu (thankfully) doesn’t sell bird poo coffee, its goal is to be just as discerning when looking for the best coffees to roast and serve to their customers.
The branding, done by Tom Emil Olsen, begins with a beautiful custom wordmark that with a slight modification transforms the letter “J” into a simple icon of a Jacu bird.
The system is very thorough, designed with modular elements and economic methods of branding various pieces of collateral. There are stamps, wax seals, and embosses that all add beautiful hand-touched flare to envelopes, coffee bags and business cards.
The matte black, resealable bags are labeled with printed kraft paper that share taste and aroma notes along with basic origin information. The bags look and feel elegant, while also capturing the warm colors and textures many people associate with coffee and natural foods—a feat that can be difficult to execute well.
The café (and now roastery) has been updated along with the brand, including warm walls of wood, shelves full of coffee and a shiny new roaster. Next time you find yourself in Ålesund, be sure to visit Jacu’s revitalized home for some of the best coffee in town.
So far, the coffees I’ve tried from Jacu have been quite enjoyable (especially the Honduras, Montana Verde). Although none of them were very unique or exciting, for a new roastery, they’re off to a great start. In a country known for its high quality specialty coffee and high coffee consumption, Jacu will have no trouble finding themselves in good company. I look forward to seeing what coffees are sourced and how their offerings develop in the future—maybe something from Nordic Approach.
Like Jacu on Facebook and view more photos of their lovely branding here.
To double-down on yesterday’s post about Starbuck’s deep pockets and their ability to build remarkable cafés—I present to you Starbucks: The Bank. Europe’s new flagship store will open this weekend in Amsterdam on the heavily trafficked Rembrandtplein. This giant new location will feature a bakery and “coffee laboratory” and was built inside the renovated vault of a historic bank.
The Bank has replaced the now-standard super-automatics with throwback La Marzocco Lineas and there will be a “Slow Coffee Theater” which will focus on brewing Starbucks small-batch reserve coffees with undisclosed “slow” methods. This will also be Starbuck’s first European location with a Clover system, though it’s not the first time they’ve been used by other shops in Europe. The “laboratory” will be used to try new concepts before sharing ideas that work with other Starbucks stores throughout Europe.
The design was directed by Ductch-born Liz Muller who worked with over 35 local artists and craftsman to add many of the details throughout the space. From vintage Deflt tiles, to bicycle inner tube art, and reclaimed Dutch-oak for all the trimmings, the space is warm and personal with an authentic localism that is hard for chain stores to pull off.
There are multiple levels throughout the space that double as stages for various events with the intent of having The Bank double as a cultural hub in the center of Amtersdam while also maintaining emphasis on the baristas.
The entire shop was designed to respect the architecture of the historic bank, but also to treat coffee as a theater. In fact, the store is constructed like a reversed theater; you can see the baristas the moment you enter the door, and as you move through the niches and platforms you never lose sight of them.
While I will never advocate drinking their coffee, I am continually impressed by the design, marketing and sustainability efforts that Starbucks continues to make. It’s a shame that all of it is done in vain when compared to their undrinkable coffee and heavy entrance into the instant coffee and K-cup markets.
With every move the company seems to make in the right direction, I give them another try. I’ve tasted their “Reserve Coffees” brewed on a Clover and I’ve sipped their “Blonde” roast brewed in a Chemex—but every time it’s the same sad story, burnt and undrinkable. At the very least these new concept stores will be a great place to sit and drink a cup of tea or hot chocolate while checking my email for free.
Tonight is the Grand Opening Party for three fellows in LA who couldn’t stay out of the news if they tried. Handsome Coffee will be opening to the public very soon and they’ve released this stunning video that shows all the work that’s gone into building out their flagship coffee bar and roastery. Good luck to Handsome as they open their doors to the world and I look forward to walking through them in a couple weeks.
More photos on Cool Hunting
Coffee is a wonderful thing. But it takes a vast amount of resources to bring us our daily cup(s). The least we can do is try to minimize that impact. In an ideal world, everyone has the time to sit down with a ceramic mug and enjoy their coffee until it’s gone. However, in real life people have things to do and places to go—so they take their coffee with them. All of those cups add up (500 Billion per year) and they do a great job of ruining the drinking experience as well.
For the last year, I’ve been trying to find the best travel cup for my coffee. Ceramic tastes the best, but it’s too heavy, too fragile and those rubbery lids are worse to drink from than plastic ones. Stainless steel would seem to be the most “sustainable” but you still end up drinking through a plastic lid and they’re a costly investment. So after weighing the benefits of several different option, including the overall design, cost, functionality, taste, etc.—the KeepCup is my favorite option available for mobile coffee drinkers.
So I partnered with the Mug Users Guild to bring DCILY fans a reusable cup that works great, looks great and lets the world know how you feel about all those paper cups.
The 8oz (black) is my favorite and holds the perfect amount for an AeroPress on the go. The 12oz (white) will let you carry a bit more but still has markings for both 8oz and 12oz volumes on the inside of the cup. These also fit under the grouphead of most espresso machines, which means the barista won’t need to waste a cup, just to transfer the drink. The lids are splash proof—not spill proof. So you can walk or drive around without spilling, but don’t take it rock climbing or throw it in a bag with coffee inside. [also great for poolside cocktails when there's no glass allowed]
While a KeepCup isn’t the same as drinking from a ceramic or glass mug, the taste differences are more of a perception than a reality and the rounded design of the lids make drinking from them far more enjoyable than a standard disposable one. KeepCups are BPA free, recyclable at the end of their life and have been tested for up to 1000 uses (more technical details).
The DCILY KeepCups are limited, so get them while you can! Make 2012 the year you stop throwing away coffee cups and damn thy disposable.
Order one from the DCILY merch store.
When I was last in the US, Handsome Coffee had yet to release their new packaging—so until now, I had only seen it via twitpics and Instagrams posted by all the lucky ones drinking it. But it was immediately obvious they made a fantastic choice working with Sissy Emmons, at PTARMAK in Austin, to capture the Handsome brand.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of browsing the aisles of the SCAA tradeshow with Tyler and we talked a bit about the importance of a brand and how great packaging can make a huge impact on a company. I knew then that Handsome was working with PTARMAK and I’m really pleased to see the the outcome of their relationship so far.
Yesterday, Handsome’s new bags were featured on The Dieline—the internet’s top package design website. The featured photos give a much better look at some details I hadn’t previously seen. The new packaging combines the right amount of handcrafted illustration and wit with enough modern typography to give the handsome ruggedness a refined feeling of quality. Great work to everyone invloved.
We employed color, shape and a little figure ground to differentiate between the lines and categories. The color system was developed loosely around a 1940′s craftsman—workshirt blue, denim, utility orange, metallic copper, crisp white, no-nonsense black and a rich black-brown… in honor of the coffee.
Illustrations line the sides and are what we like to call the manly-man items—objects that share the Handsome dedication to a by-gone era where handmade craft and a dedication to quality were a labor of love as well as a way of life. A dip of copper at the bottom of the bags is a continuation of the copper counters in the Handsome shop and on the Handsome Traveler. It adds just a touch of elegance to the otherwise practical bags. The system is intended to be humble and utilitarian with every detail lovingly applied. -PTARMAK
Read more about the design and see all the images at The Dieline
There’s been a lot of buzz in both the design and coffee worlds this past week about an innovative take on the disposable cup called, Compleat. The concept was developed by Architect Peter Herman and refined by graphic designer Daren Bascome, both based in Boston. The problem behind it is a persistent one that many people have attempted to solve—reduce the waste from disposable cups.
Last year Starbucks sponsored the BetaCup contest on Jovoto, a forum for product design competitions, to develop a more sustainable to-go cup. The winner wasn’t a cup at all, but a game that served as an incentive to bring your own reusable cup. I found the winning solution quite admirable, but have yet to hear about it implemented in Starbucks stores.
The Compleat Cup is the latest attempt to solve one of the more annoying environmental problems in the coffee industry. While it’s a nice concept, I don’t think its ready for prime time and I wouldn’t expect to see them popping up in coffee shops around the world just yet.
While the main pitch is that you reduce the use of a plastic lid, which is of course a scourge in itself—many lids alone can be recycled. The cups are the problem, because the paper is fused to a thin plastic lining that most US recycling systems can’t handle.
Even if the lining used a bio plastic, those only degrade if they are properly disposed of, i.e. composted. Most places in the US don’t have compost programs in place. So while these cups will reduce part of the problem, it still leaves a pressing one that can really only be solved by bringing your own mug.
The design may be iconic, but what about the people—myself included—who prefer to drink without a lid? If you open the folds, I don’t see any practical way to drink from this like a normal cup.
When the cup is folded up to create a drinking spout, it forms a direct funnel into your mouth. While this may be a great idea for cold drinks on hot days, it makes me pause when considering hot coffee. There’s no longer a barrier to allow for the “is this going to scald my mouth” sip while drinking blindly.
Admittedly these observations have been made without having yet tried a Compleat cup, however, I feel that I’ve drank coffee from enough beverage receptacles to make an educated critique of it. Once I’ve had the opportunity to try one, I’ll be sure to follow up with the results.
The Compleat Cup
For all those Star Wars fans out there, designer Eric Beatty has designed the ultimate gift—if only it were more than a concept. This was developed for a school project asking students to design a new product for Urban Outfitters. While I hope the clothing boutique refrains from selling coffee, I’m sure there’s a very big market for something like this. Intelligentsia x George Lucas Collab anyone? The set includes Darth Coffee blend, Storm Trooper filters, and Chewbacca brown sugar. Truly wonderful…
May the force brew with you…
No, I am your barista…
He’s holding a thermal carafe!
Ok, I’m done.
I’m not sure how I’ve never come across this hand grinder from Hario until now, but I love the way it looks. It’s a nice hybrid of the traditional Zassenhaus grinder and the more modern Hario Skerton. With its steampunk aesthetic and a price range that falls in between the other mills, it’s very enticing.
However, I could only find two reviews on it, so I’m not sure how well it actually works compared to the other hand grinders out there. Does anyone have any experience with it? Would love to know what you think.
Hario Canister Mill
A few weeks ago a new coffee shop opened in downtown Vancouver that’s moved the Canadian west coast even higher on my list of “places to visit soon.” Revolver is run by the Giannakos brothers, whose family also owns Café Crema, in west Vancouver. The new venture takes a refined approach to offering great coffee with little excess.
Aside from wanting to see the space itself, designed by Craig Stanghetta, the coffee line-up at Revolver is pretty stellar too. They’re serving coffee from Ritual, Coava and Phil & Sebastian on a brew bar lined with Chemex Kones, as well as offering tasting flights. One option includes three different coffees brewed the same way, or you can try the same coffee brewed with three different methods. The tasting flights seem like a great way to allow curious customers to explore and coffee lovers to indulge.
It’s exciting to see more coffee bars taking such a comprehensive approach to quality coffee. If you’re in Vancouver and haven’t been yet, you probably should.
Photos by Kam Lau
Also, some amazing detail photos by George Giannakos himself on CleanHotDry.
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.
[photo via @timwendelboe]