Happy New Year everyone! While looking forward to great things in the coming year, here’s a look back at 2012—a great year for drinking coffee. It was my first full year living in Sweden so there was a big shift in the coffees I was able to have on a regular basis at home. Thanks to a few trips back to the US and those generous and willing enough to ship overseas I was still able to get a fair share of coffee from US roasters as well, many of which the bags were given away to other coffee lovers on this side of the world.
A few things I noticed in 2012 that I’m looking forward to becoming even more prominent in 2013 are the continued variety of fantastic coffees from El Salvador and coffees from new areas in Ethiopia, which taste great, but nothing like Yirgacheffe. I can also confirm that every coffee I tasted from Sumatra was still absolutely terrible.
All of the coffee bags above can be browsed in large scale on Flickr (or Pinterest)
Three weeks ago, I shared the announcement of Coffee Collective’s new roastery and coffee bar opening this summer in Copenhagen. Since then, I’ve been down to Denmark to meet with Klaus and tour their beautiful new flagship in Frederiksberg.
The new roaster is warming up, the Über’s been installed and a lovely row of stools are lined up at the brew bar waiting for customers to wear them in. As soon as the final permits are received, this incredible new space will be open—for what I imagine will be the most unique coffee experience in the city. Stay tuned.
ST.ALi, one of the newer additions to the London coffee scene, is going through a bit of a change. They announced yesterday that they are parting ways with their sibling in Australia to blaze their own trail in London. I’m excited to have worked with Tim to help create the new face of Workshop Coffee Co., who will continue adding great value to specialty coffee in London at both their Clerkenwell and Marylebone locations.
Yesterday, the following announcement was shared on the ST.ALi website:
Friends, there are some changes a-foot.
In April 2011, we opened our Clerkenwell cafe under the same banner as some friends in Australia. Following shortly after, we opened our Marylebone coffeebar under the same arrangement.
The response from local customers and visitors alike has been wonderful, overwhelming and humbling, due in no small part to our fantastic team, and the guests we take care of everyday.
However, due largely to the constraints of an arrangement stretched across 10,000 miles, the time has come to blaze the trail on our own. On April 16th, the London operations of ‘ST. ALi’ and ‘Sensory Lab’ will undergo a name change, becoming Workshop Coffee Co.
So, aside from the name, what changes? Well, nothing else changes. The same friendly staff and the same dedicated owners continuing to develop, refine and improve what we do. The same great food, and the same delicious coffee.
We look forward to seeing you soon,
I’ve visited both locations in the past year and wrote about one of them last August. Both shops are a must visit when coffee touring though London, and Clerkenwell is great for a meal as well. All my best to the team at Workshop as they begin writing their new story.
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.
Ben Blake wants to learn everything he can about coffee—and he plans on doodling all the details along the way. The Ohioan started the blog, Draw Coffee, to capture his inspired coffee moments in a state that could benefit from new coffee energy.
The drawings, usually done on coffee filters, range from minimal depictions of daily brew methods to intricate homages of the coffee being brewed. Coffee Common and DCILY have both been doodle subjects, along with Intellisgentsia, Handsome, Verve, Coava and Kuma—who are even using some of Ben’s art on their new mugs.
DCILY was founded on the principle that coffee inspires creativity and Draw Coffee is one more example of that idea coming to fruition. So grab a fresh cup and start browsing through the archives, below are a few of my favorites.
Koppi is one of my favorite coffee roasters in Sweden. Not only because the coffee is great, but its run by two of the nicest people to be around as well, Charles and Anne. Their roastery and café is just a short train ride south of me in Helsingborg, Sweden and I’ve been planning to visit for months.
This lovely video, made by Tim Ciasto, shows the Koppi team in action at their beautiful café. It’s all the motivation I need to book a ticket once I return from NYC. For those of you who aren’t in Sweden, Koppi recently opened a webshop as well. If you order 6+ bags for international delivery, shipping is free! I told you they were nice.
The growth of small roasters and independent coffee companies in the USA is a great thing. I remember a time when everyone thought Starbucks would put all the independent coffee shops out of business, and it some places they may have come close. But it also inspired a revolution among smaller companies to experiment, progress and offer something the chain coffee shops weren’t—better quality.
As these companies become more prevalent, more of the mainstream media outlets will attempt to write about them—generally using every coffee pun and nickname they can imagine. However, any press is good press and CNNMoney has recently prepared an oddly numbered list of the USA’s 17 best small coffee makers. Really, why 17? While I agree with most of the list, there are a few shockers as well as some glaring omissions.
Read more about the companies on the list at CNNMoney.
What’s better than New England in Autumn? Coffee in New England in Autumn! This year’s MANE (Mid-Atlantic/Northeast) Coffee Conference in Rhode Island is the best way to enjoy both. What began years ago as a barista jam started by Gerra Harrigan of New Harvest Coffee and Troy Reynard of Cosmic Cup Coffee, has transformed into full a on coffee conference for baristas, roasters and coffee industry professionals. There will be speakers and forums and workshops oh my!
Kicking off the weekend with words of wisdom from Gwilym Davies himself, the weekend will progress into selected tracks for baristas, advanced baristas, roasters and owners/managers. Each track will offer specific skill building workshops from industry professionals with some intimate hands-on experience—who doesn’t love that? There will also be an opportunity for baristas to take a BGA Level 1 Certification test while they’re in Providence.
Gwilym Davies – 2009 World Barista Champion Jay Caragay – Spro Coffee Dan Streetman – Irving Farm Coffee Trevor Cortlett – MadCap Coffee Scott Guglielmino – La Marzocco Tommy Gallagher – Counter Culture Coffee
just to name a few…
Since I’ll be in the States in October, and I love foliage season, I’m be taking a weekend trip to Providence to take part in the fun and share some collective coffee wisdom from an often overlooked part of the country. The cost of registration is only $75, so if you’re in the industry and live along the Eastern seaboard, sign-up now and I’ll see you there!
Another visually stunning look into the world of coffee bars and roasteries made by Charley Voorhis for Olympia Coffee Roasters in Washington. I never get tired of watching these. Take a coffee break and enjoy!
If you haven’t seen the others, check out the videos from MadCap & Doma.
There’s been a lot of great news coming out of Scandinavia in recent weeks and with the Nordic Barista Cup this weekend, there’s likely more to come. Following the recent launch of Nordic Coffee Culture—a collaborative brain trust of leading nordic coffee minds—Tim Wendelboe and Morten Wennersgaard have announced their new coffee importing company, Nordic Approach.
With a strong focus on cup quality, transparency, and direct farmer relationships, Nordic Approach will make some of the world’s best green coffees more accessible to the emerging quality-focused roasters in Europe.
Tim’s knowledge, whose self-titled company is known for its exceptional coffee, as well as the expertise of Morten, green buyer for Solberg & Hansen another Nordic gem, create a dynamic duo who will continue creating more value and understanding for exceptional coffee and the farmers who grow it.
Congrats on the new venture!
While this all may seem inconsequential to those in the US, it should be noted that one third of Handsome Roasters is currently in Norway this week, presumably learning a bit about the Nordic approach to roasting and how to export some of that knowledge back to the handsomest new coffee company in the States.