Making Reusable Desirable with Design

03.28

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.

[via The Dieline]

posted by on 03.28.2011, under Design, Products

Peace Coffee’s Resourceful New Shop

01.13

This summer I spent two weeks in Minneapolis and fell in love with it. They have the bike culture of Portland, coupled with a Norwegian resistance to cold, wrapped up in the beauty of 10,000 lakes. I never thought I’d want to live in the Midwest (again), but Mpls really made an impression on me. However, the coffee culture left me wanting something more—good news is Peace Coffee, one of the most prominent roasters in town, is working hard to fill this coffee void I experienced on my visit.

After roasting Fair Trade organic beans since 1996, Peace Coffee opened their first coffee shop last November in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The new shop carries all the principles I would expect from a company who delivers their coffee around town with bikes and biodiesel trucks.

Reclaimed wood was used to build benches along the exposed brick walls, while an old fire door hangs transformed above the bar as a unique menu board, and Craigslist finds help furnish the rest of the space. The companies quirky personality is reflected in the brightly colored mosaic (made with recycled glass) and with the support of a local artist, who’s little clay monsters are hidden in crevices throughout the walls.

The shop offers espresso, pour-over (one of only a few I know in the city), as well as pre-brewed for those in a hurry. But if you’re smart, you’ll stick around for the homemade pepparkakor (swedish gingerbread cookie) served with each drink. I was already planning another trip to Mpls but this gives me one more reason to go back.

Peace Coffee Shop & Peace Coffee

posted by on 01.13.2011, under Design, Recommended Roasters

Tiny Footprint Coffee

10.18

I’ve recently been having conversations with friends about the ecological impact of drinking coffee. No matter how you brew your fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee—unless you live at origin—your coffee is still being shipped halfway across the globe. The environmental impact of that journey can’t be offset by simply using a filterless, non-electric brewer (eg. French press or Presso). While they are responsible options to minimizing our impact, it’s still a losing battle.

For those who love the Earth as much as their coffee—meet Tiny Footprint Coffee, the world’s first carbon-negative coffee roaster. In business for less than a year, this Minneapolis based roaster offers light, medium, and dark roast blends, as well as decaf and espresso. They also offer a selection of single origin beans for purists like myself. TFC sources organic, shade grown beans from a variety of countries around the world and roasts them in small batches on a vintage Probat.

What makes TFC so unique is their efforts to offset the carbon impact of their coffee. They’ve done the math and figured out that 4lbs of CO2 are emitted during the harvest, shipping, roasting and delivering of a single pound of coffee. So for every pound sold, TFC plants enough trees in the Mindo Cloudforest of Ecuador to suck up 54lb of CO2. This endeavor makes each pound of coffee’s footprint, net negative 50lbs. Aside from absorbing CO2, TFC’s reforestation efforts also provide jobs to local farmers, improves local infrastructure, rebuilds water tables, reinforces soil conservation techniques, and provides habitat for rare and endangered bird species in the cloudforest. So not only is this a great solution to the eco impact of coffee, it also tastes pretty damn good.


Tiny Footprint Coffee: Organic Light Roast
Whole Bean
Minneapolis, MN
www.tinyfootprintcoffee.com

Aroma: While the beans were darker than what I normally consider a light roast, I wasn’t disappointed. The scent of the grind was pleasant with a sweet earthy smell. Once brewed the aroma transformed into a rich cocoa with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Taste: The first sip was very smooth with enough brightness to part the lips for more. After passing the initial spark of that first sip, the doors opened wide to a very unique mix of citrus, oak and pine, with a touch of clove. If there ever were a coffee that captured an early morning in the Minnesota (or Maine) woods, this would be the closest I’ve ever tried. The medium body brew brightened as it cooled and finished with a mellow taste of almonds.

posted by on 10.18.2010, under Coffee Reviews, Misc., Recommended Roasters

A New Caribou

03.01

Caribou Coffee, the second largest coffee chain in the USA, just updated their brand. While I think their coffee is just as bad as Starbucks, at least their refreshing identity will make you think otherwise until you taste it. This is a huge upgrade from their old branding which tried too hard to feel “rustic,” but I hope they use the hand drawn elements sparingly. It can become too much, too quick. I also find the coffee bean/caribou body to be a little forced, however cute. See more over at Colle + McVoy—the Minneapolis agency who worked on the re-design.

From the Press Release:

When approaching the logo redesign, we didn’t want to lose the important equities of the previous logo, so the new logo still includes a leaping caribou, a shield and the words “Caribou Coffee.” What has changed, however, is the look: from a Northern lodge theme to a fresh variation of the same elements, now rooted in natural textures and fluid graphics.

“Because coffee is the heart and soul of our company, the body of the caribou is formed out of a coffee bean. In addition, the caribou’s antlers now form the shape of the letter ‘C’.” Another significant change in the logo is the direction of the caribou’s leap. While the Caribou in the previous logo was leaping left, the caribou now leaps right, signifying the direction the company is heading — into the future.

“The shield element has been updated to resemble the shape of traditional national park signage. This is a nod to our founders’ hike in Alaska’s Denali National Park, where they were inspired to start the company,” said Alfredo Martel, senior vice president of marketing for Caribou Coffee.

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posted by on 03.01.2010, under Design, Recommended Roasters