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.
I planned on saving up a years worth of coffee bags, but when I recently packed up to move abroad, I choose not to save them any longer. So here is roughly six months of coffee consumed at the DCILY headquarters—minus a few bags I gave to friends.
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?
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.
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.
Last summer I wrote about a prototype of a cement espresso machine, and this year I’ve come across one on the opposite end of the materials spectrum—built with Norwegian Poplar. The Linje, as it’s called, has a much softer presence and feels more refined than the cement model, but there’s probably just as little chance of it ever being produced. I really appreciate the natural finish of the wood, it appears much softer without the toxic shine of heavy varnish. The finish combined with the smooth profile of the machine make me want to reach out and touch it.
Simon Ålander is a Digital Media student at Hyper Island in Stockholm, Sweden. Hyper Island is basically the future of creative education and anyone who attends, will most likely have their choice of opportunities after graduation. Simon emailed me a few months ago with a typography question and recently sent me this—a coffee inspired poster he designed—leading me to believe there’s nothing new I could actually tell him about typography. Incredible work.
Minneapolis based design firm Sussner has created one of the best looking reusable “paper cups” I’ve seen. The cup was designed as a gift for friends, clients, and new business leads and makes me want to hire them or befriend them quick!
Along with the nice graphics printed on the cup, they also designed a beautiful package to contain it and supply each recipient with a cup of coffee via a pack of Starbucks instant VIA (which is a bit disheartening, but I can understand the logistics that most likely prompted this decision). Great job making reusable, desirable. With a mug like this, I’d gladly deal with the “inconvenience” of carrying it and washing it, just to be seen with it.
While I’m kicking off the week at Coffee Common here in Long Beach, I’m ending one that included a lot of tight printer deadlines and chats with Stephen Morrissey at Intelligentsia in preparation. During one of those conversations, I was reminded of this signature mug that Intelligentsia designed and recently released in their stores.
When it comes to mugs, I like a solid one that will retain heat, but I also appreciate a delicate form that doesn’t look clumsy. I have a few classic diner mugs which are heavy enough to double as a lethal weapon, but they lack the elegance I sometimes prefer. This mug seems to solve both problems with thick walled porcelain and a profile that could easily become a modern icon. I haven’t personally used one yet, but for only $12, I see a pair of these beautiful mugs in my future.
This is going to be my last post of 2010 and I want to dedicate it to the talented baristas who make every visit to our local cafés an experience we cherish. Wether they’re hypnotically circling the bloom of a Chemex, pouring latte art that makes us smile, or pulling a shot that’ll have our eyes roll back in our head—this goes out to all those who love coffee so much, they’ve made a career out of serving the best cup they can.