The chart masters over at Pop Chart Lab have just released an impressively comprehensive flow chart that diagrams the various elements required for all manner of coffee drinks. Including various types of grinders, brew methods, mixers, and the resulting beverages they create. The listed brew methods even include such new and notable options such as the Steampunk and Able Kone.
Overall, it’s one of the most accurate—and impressive—coffee illustations I’ve seen on the web. While obviously well researched, I noticed two glaring mistakes: the categorization of the AeroPress as an espresso maker and (most odd), connecting the “cupping” brew method to iced coffee. It may be too late for corrections, but either way, Pop Chart Lab will be printing 500 of them large scale, for wall hanging glory.
Zoom in and explore the full scale version at Pop Chart Lab
This poster was created with the same intention as the others I’ve designed—to simply express my own frustration with certain habits and trends within the coffee industry. While the first one (the dreaded x) was self explanatory, some of these need a bit more explanation. So let this be the first.
Bold: adj \’bōld\ 1) Fearless before danger. Daring. Adventurous. See ‘bold’ type.
I know that coffee fearlessly takes on each morning like an undefeated champion and gives us the courage to face the day. But there are many other ways to describe this revelation—and the taste of your coffee—than with a hollow descriptor that Starbucks practically own the rights to:
What Makes a Coffee Bold? At Starbucks we will call a coffee bold based on its flavor intensity. Bold can come from a combination of roast, flavor intensity or the complexity due to where is it grown. Some examples are the grapefruit notes in Kenya or the full body of the earthy and spicy Komodo Dragon Blend®. –Starbucks
By this definition, any coffee that exhibits “complexity, ” whether it’s a citrusy Kenyan or a spicy Indonesian constitutes being described as “bold.” Coffee by its very nature is an intense (some might say bold) beverage. The flavors, the aromatics, the body, the complexity, the caffeine—all create a unique beverage experience unlike anything else.
However, the word “bold” has been hijacked by marketing and used to describe everything from darker roasts, to higher brew ratios, to even implying there is more caffeine in bold coffee (which there isn’t). This creates confusion among customers, frustration among baristas, and puts pressure on roasters to participate in the erroneous descriptor circus, just to sell coffee to an indoctrinated market.
The industry is full of metaphor and sometimes rather curious coffee descriptions:
Sweet, just bracing enough, the coffee recalls nothing so much as getting out of the subway at Lincoln Center on an icy winter day with three dollars in your pocket, and saying “Yes. Today is the day I buy those honey-roasted cashews from the guy with the nut cart.” –Blue Bottle Coffee
But creative and indiscernible is better than vague and ambiguous. My suggestion, remove “bold” from your coffee vocabulary. Boycott bold. Begin to notice more specific characteristics of your coffee—do you like sweet, fruity, floral, citrus, spicy, smokey, nutty, earthy, chocolaty? These are some of the basic coffee flavors that can help you pick out what you enjoy about your coffee. You don’t need to discern Satsuma orange and rosewater to order a coffee you’ll like, but everyone will benefit if you avoid using bold.
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.
Good luck to everyone registering for the United States Barista Championship in the new year, and for everyone else, remember to tip! Cheers!
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.
See them all and place orders at the DCILY Store.
This is my latest print in an attempt to shine light on some of the common misconceptions that surround espresso. However, this one is questionable. I’ve read many studies that suggest that a shot of espresso has less caffeine than an 8oz cup of drip/pour-over coffee and others that state the opposite, depending on how it’s measured. I tend to think a 1oz shot is going to have significantly less caffeine, does anyone out there know otherwise? Please let me know!
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.
Archival prints can now be purchased here.
This beautiful print was done by Luzelle van der Westhuizen (aka mengsel), a South African designer based in London. While the Moka pot isn’t my favorite way to brew coffee, it is one of my favorite looking coffee objects—and seeing its form repeated makes a really wonderful pattern.
See more of Luzelle’s work on Felt and Wire
A new print by Jennifer Ramos at MadeByGirl. If blogs and coffee are her thing, blogs about coffee must really drive her wild.