Storyville – Chapter 2: Coffee

12.21

After Storyville’s essential hardware is in place, then comes the Storyville software—two bags of coffee packed as delicately as a cashmere sweater. The same design detail found in the hardware packaging is present throughout the coffee as well.

The clear plastic, resealable bags are printed in metallic ink with a knockout of their logo, allowing a preview of the product inside. The typography is nicely considered and the roast date is printed right on the front of the bag—just as large as Storyville’s name—making it easy to find and stressing its importance.

Nestled underneath the coffee was a nicely wrapped DVD with the videos from the website teaching you how to brew the perfect press pot as well as the short film about “Big Coffee” and the burnt bean cover-up.

The coffee itself wasn’t as exciting for me as everything else. Not that it was bad, I know a number of people who this would make a great gift for, but I’m not usually in the market for a comforting, earthy morning blend.

The aroma is nice, full of chocolate and spice. There’s also a bit of cinnamon, a hint of clove and honey sweetened nuts that make their way out of the cup. The coffee is full bodied with a bit of a dry mouthfeel. Spiced walnuts are the most prominent flavor, while some lemon zest add a bit of brightness to the cup. As it cools, the coffee smoothes out and ends with a red wine finish.

The last thing I want to share about Storyville, which could be another post in itself, is their Storyville Live initiative. Chad Turnbull, Co-President of Storyville, calls themselves a “for profit, for good” company. What this means is that their success is not determined by profit alone, but also by how they can contribute back to society. I am a big proponent of this type of business. When I’m not writing about coffee or doing design work for clients, I’m actually a bit of  a social entrepreneur myself.

Storyville Live is an intimate concert in the home of a generous host, completely organized by the company with the help of a guest list. During an event, fresh coffee is served up to fuel the live music and conversation that ensue, which allows Storyville to personally introduce new customers to their product. This intimate setting also gives them an opportunity to share their passion for another cause—to see an end to human trafficking and slavery. While this seems like a heavy topic, what better place to discuss an important global issue than over coffee with friends? What’s better, is all of the proceeds made from coffee and hardware sales go directly to the International Justice Mission, who are fighting to end such oppression.

There are many coffee companies who use their sales to promote the well being of people in coffee growing regions (which is fantastic, we should all be doing that), but I find Storyville’s unique approach to raise money for an unrelated issue, a very sincere effort to improve the world we live in. Storyville’s heart is clearly visible in everything they do. From the studio they roast their coffee in, to the way it’s presented when you receive it in your home, it’s obvious that Storyville cares deeply about what they do, which is not only great business, but a great way to live.

visit Storyville

posted by on 12.21.2010, under Coffee Reviews, Design, Recommended Roasters

Brew a better world with Project 7

10.06

Project 7 changed the way people perceive bottled water and the impact is can on lives around the world. Now they are hoping to do the same with coffee. The company realized mass consumption isn’t going away, so they’ve embraced it, and turned it into an engine for good. They are a for-profit company who use their profits to fund charities around the world. Project 7 continues to use great design and marketing to further their mission, while also giving the consumer the power to choose which cause they support. They focus on seven areas of need:

  • Quench – provides a year of clean water for a person in need
  • Heal – provides medicine for a person suffering from malaria
  • Hope – provides a day of counseling for a child of war
  • House – provides food, education & healthcare for a day for an orphan
  • Feed – provides 7 meals for the hungry in the United States
  • Teach – provides schooling for a week for a child in Africa
  • Save – plants 10 fruit bearing trees

Each product is named after a respective cause, so you choose which one you support with your product selection. The coffee is only offered through a subscription program, but you can start with just 3 months. You can allow for a new coffee (and cause) to be sent each month or you can select a specific blend yourself. The coffee is all organic and Fair Trade certified, and they mention buying direct when possible.

The video, illustrated by Darren Dunham, fits well in the Project 7 vernacular, but also distinguishes itself as something new. From the beginning, Project 7 knew that design would be a valuable component of success and invested early. It’s paid off. There are many coffee companies who donate to many causes, but Project 7 has an established brand and a successful model in place that’s driven by a well communicated story. Their new video is engaging, informative, and well executed. I’m excited about their new venture and look forward to trying the coffee.

They are currently offering the first month free. Enter “CATALYST” when checking out.

More on P7 Coffee and Project 7

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posted by on 10.06.2010, under Design, Misc., Products, Recommended Roasters, Videos