During my trip to Portland last week, I got a few goodies from Stumptown. While sitting at The Annex, I picked up this nice collection of booklets and started reading through them. It was a set of beautifully designed and illustrated home brewing guides that included five books: Chemex, press pot, moka pot, cone filter (Melitta/Hario v60), and vacuum pot. My first thought was how smart it was for Stumptown to produce such an obvious product. After asking how much they cost—free—I thought how awesome it is for Stumptown to treat their customers this way.
Last spring when writing about Stumptown’s brand, I hadn’t seen these, but they are another great example of the company sparing little expense to produce cool stuff for customers. Aside from roasting great coffee, that’s who Stumptown is—the first guy in school with a Nirvana bootleg willing to share it with everyone before anyone knew what grunge was. I’ve never met Duane Sorenson, the founder of Stumptown, but I imagine everything I’ve experienced with the company is in some form a reflection of him personally. From the high attention of detail spent on the coffee and the cafes, to the tattoos on the baristas reflected in the artwork on t-shirts and storefront windows.
Stumptown embodies a love for coffee of the highest quality united with the cool-as-fuck attitude expected from the leader of a burgeoning music scene. In many ways, that’s exactly what they are—leaders (along with a handful of other great roasters) in a growing new coffee scene that our parents will scoff at while they continue drinking their Sanka.
Kids these days.
The books were designed and printed by the awesome people at Pinball Publishing, who also made Stumptown these cupping journals to showcase Scout Books, one of their customizable printed products.
I’ve had a lot of requests for prints of the Dear Coffee, I Love You posters that I’ve designed. Now, thanks to Society6, you can order your favorite prints! They are gallery quality Giclée prints on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. This is the real deal. They’ll look great and last as long as the Mona Lisa.
If you order thru this Sunday, Society6 is offering free shipping on all orders! So skip the mall on Black Friday and order some prints for your coffee loving loved ones. If you have a color request that’s not in the store, I will take custom orders.
After posting my last print, I decided to make a series of them that address many of the errors I encounter daily in the world of coffee. These are things I find annoying or just plain wrong, yet are continually perpetuated by marketers, and the uninformed. So think of these as Espresso 101 flash cards. There will be a test, so find a partner and study up!
I have a long list of coffee related agitations, but number one on that list developed during my years as a barista. The dreaded X that so many people use while confidently ordering their espresso makes me cringe every time. I can’t explain the severity of my reaction other than it’s such an obvious mispronunciation that’s too often repeated.
Recently at my local market, I heard a woman condescendingly attempt to school an employee about espresso, while continually referring to it as expresso. I stood quietly behind her biting my lip. I’ve designed this in response to eventually offer as a print for interested parties to proudly display wherever their shots are pulled.
The recent Seattle’s Best re-branding uproar has encouraged me to begin a series of posts I’ve had brewing for a while now. I plan to look at the leading coffee roasters and discuss their brand, packaging, and why I think they are or are not successful.
Coffee is a huge commodity, and for many people, buying coffee is as overwhelming as picking out a bottle of wine. When a customer can’t distinguish the subtleties in taste, they are left to rely on their remaining senses to help make decisions.
The way a brand of coffee represents itself in a cafe or on the supermarket shelf will determine how its perceived before you even have a chance to taste it. In the coming weeks I’ll discuss a variety of ways different coffee companies have positioned themselves to stand out in such a saturated market.
Float is a student project of Brazillian designer, Eric Pautz. It’s a fun take on the traditional pump pot used to store coffee. The problem with average pump pots, is that after pouring a couple cups, empty space forms above the coffee allowing heat to disperse. Eric’s design solves this problem by placing a silicone disc around the straw that floats on top of the coffee, preventing space from forming between the coffee as it decreases in the pot. Simple, beautiful, and super cute redesign of a traditionally boring coffee accessory.
Yesterday morning, Seattle’s Best Coffee unveiled a new identity(designed by Seattle-based agency Creature) and announced their ambitious plans to expand further into fast-food chains throughout the US—including Subway, Burger King, and AMC Theaters. The company was founded in 1970, but was bought by Starbuck’s in 2003—and for the most part, left to its own devices. However, early last year Starbuck’s decided to better utilize the brand and expand into new markets. Their new plan is to have Seattle’s Best Coffee in 30,000 locations by this fall. With so much visibility in order, a re-brand was imminent.
I’ve only seen the new logo in the context above, so I’m curious to see how the system will expand. My first impression is positive and I like the new direction. It’s simple and it makes me smile. The modern aesthetic is a drastic, but appreciated departure from the old characterless branding. The previous design blended into the grocery store shelves, right alongside Red Diamond, Community Coffee, and Folger’s. This will definitely help differentiate them as well as attract a new generation of customers.
As for the coffee itself, it’s most likely on par with Starbucks. Regardless, it will be a great improvement for places like Subway and the movie theater.
Last December we wrote about the Beta Cup challenge (still trying to raise money at that point), but since then, Starbucks has stepped in and offered to sponsor the competition. According to Core77, the contests media sponsor, there have been over 152 entries to rethink the current system for coffee to-go. You can view and rate the entries so var on Jovoto. There are a lot of great ideas floating around and it will great to see how quickly the winning solution can be implemented. Good luck to all the participants.
Bodum’s design has been moving in this direction over the last year or so, but most of their new products have been too bubbly for my taste. However, their recently unveiled Ettore Kettle is magnificent looking. According to Core77 it was designed in 1986 (during the Memphis period), but technical limits kept it from being produced until now.
Jørgen Bodum—the co-owner of Bodum and son of company founder Peter Bodum—worked with Sottsass Associates on the design, and shows it off for us below, pointing out a few distinctly Memphis moments, and the manufacturing problem that kept this off the shelves until now.