Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
February 29, 2012

One thing I’ve come to love about coffee is the amount of collaboration that takes place, and the combination of “efforts” that make up each cup. From the relentless care and passion of the farmers all the way up to the last drop from a kettle, the coffee that ends up in my cup has been through many different hands all over the world.

So, today, I wanted to show that. I felt like my doodles had been getting a little bit centered on an individual roaster or company, rather than the collaborative industry I’ve come to know coffee as.

I’ve had two different coffees today – Passion House Coffee’s Rwanda Buf, and Tonx’s Tanzania Mpito – made using two different brewing methods – Chemex and Aeropress. I used a Baratza Maestro to grind it up, a Bonavita kettle to pour water over it through a Kaffeologie filter, straight into a Dear Coffee, I Love You Keep Cup.

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February 29, 2012

This past Saturday, the guys over at Handsome took years of collaboration, creation, and effort, and turned it into the grand opening of their first location. If you were on twitter at all over the last couple weeks, it would’ve been hard to miss the fact that there was a lot hype leading up to this event, including a pre-opening launch party with privileged guests from all over.

I’ve been impressed with the careful  and thoughtful design Handsome has put into their bags and their site design – now they’ve taken their ideas, with the help of Woodsmithe, and created a beautiful storefront to settle into.

Congratulations to you all, and to everyone else who has the privilege to work behind the bar. You’re doing big things and living a dream. Enjoy it.

Make sure you check out this beautiful video about Handsome and Woodsmithe’s work together.

Handsome Coffee x WoodSmithe from WoodSmithe on Vimeo.

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February 28, 2012

A couple weeks back, I posted a review on a great shop in my hometown of Mansfield, OH. Relax, It’s Just Coffee draws inspiration and life from a combination of coffee, art, and community. This video does a beautiful job of showcasing what Relax is all about. Relax. Even if you don’t live close enough to visit, I think you’ll draw some inspiration from this video. I really appreciate what Paul and his crew are aiming for.

“The team at Relax believes in revolution, restoration, & renovation. They aim to incite progression where we are, with each other. That’s why they took the best methods in home and commercial brewing, and offered them in a setting that celebrates the arts and human spirit.

Bringing life back to our area is a passion one must stay awake for.”

Asleep No More from Jonathan Critcher on Vimeo.

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February 27, 2012

Groups like Coffee Common represent many of the reasons I love the coffee world. Gathering in LA, a group of coffee enthusiasts, baristas, and brewers are stationed to have meaningful conversation about coffee and to share with the group of TED 2012 attendees. The mindset behind what they’re doing is great. From the LA Weekly:

“Conceived by Stephen Morrissey of Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, Coffee Common is a philosophical outgrowth of Alex Bogusky’s collaboration-is-the-new-capitalism ethos, Common. If the medium is the message, a united front of high-quality coffee companies promoting the same values — ethical, transparent sourcing practices; direct trade with coffee farmers; and sustainability — speaks volumes.

We wanted to highlight the best qualities and talent and practices by roasters and farmers,” Coffee Common’s co-founder Sean Bonner says. “And give people the opportunity to see all that somewhere other than within a commercial context.”

That Coffee Common works outside this commercial setting is key. By creating this independent space, consumers can listen to useful information without hearing it as a sales pitch. “We just want to serve really good coffee and talk about really good coffee without the brand behind it. It makes that education legitimate,” Bonner says.”

Seeing the photos and all the chatter coming through their twitter feed, it’s obvious that some cool things are happening because of the hard work these guys and gals have put in. Today’s doodle is a bit of a tribute to them.

Baratza (whose Vario-W grinders are represented at the conference) explains it well:

“Coffee Common will be delighting the TED attendees with these amazing coffees, specially chosen for the event:

  • Detour Coffee – Ephiphanie Bufcafe Rwanda
  • Intelligentsia – Anjilanaka Bolivia
  • Counter Culture Coffee – La Frontera, Peru
  • Seven Seeds — Burundi Kiryama
  • Phil & Sebastian — Guatemala Zelaya
  • Equator Coffee — Ecuador El Batan
  • Stumptown — Finca El Injerto, El Tanque Bourbon
  • Heart Roasters — Rwanda Coko Cooperative

Physicists, a Space archaeologist, Writers, Futurists, Roboticists, Surgeons, are just a few of the presenters that will have the opportunity to be offered this collection of delicious coffees! We are delighted that Coffee Common has chosen the Vario-W grinders, with the integrated scales, to do all of the whole bean grinding for pour-over coffee service on the 5 TED bars in Long Beach and 1 in Palm Springs.

Check out some of the great photos so far from Coffee Common:

Make sure to follow @coffeecommon on twitter to see all the action.

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February 27, 2012

Congratulations to Katie Carguilo of Counter Culture Coffee, and Jordan Barber of Third Rail Coffee. Katie took home the NERBC Championship and Jordan took the Brewer’s Cup.

Check out Sprudge for more on the entire event.

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February 26, 2012

I’ll be writing a review over the next few days, but I wanted to get a doodle done.

Yesterday was a fantastic day of learning, networking, and all things coffee. Being able to meet and chat with George Howell and Geoff Watts was absolutely incredible. Those two have done so much not only for coffee, but for millions of farmers, workers, and producers around the world.

It was also great to hang around with Mark from Clive Coffee and to meet so many great people who love coffee. A big thanks to Kevin Sinnott for putting the event together, and also to Passion House Coffee Roasters for hooking me up with the Rwanda Buf I enjoyed this morning.

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February 23, 2012

Austin over at Augie’s Coffee Roasters in Redlands, CA was kind enough to send me some coffees this week. I’m really enjoying this particular Rwanda. I’m not a coffee note expert, and typically use the roaster’s description to pull out notes – I think the description is perfect: tons of vanilla, clove, and sweet citrus. Reminds me of rooibos tea sometimes.

If you’re part of the LA Coffee Club, I’m pretty sure this coffee is on its way to you right now. Very tasty.

Augie’s sent over three coffees: Rwanda Cokoco-op, Brazil Fazenda Rainha, and Guatemala. I haven’t tried the Guatemala yet, but the Brazil has a nice milky, almond taste to it. Brazilian has never been my favorite, but this coffee is a unique and stands out. I like the bright labels on the black bags:

“The color represents the growing region of that specific coffee. Red – Africa, Green – South America, Blue – Central America, White – Espresso Blend.”

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February 23, 2012

When I started this project almost two months ago, I was looking for a unique way to explore the love I have for coffee, and to do something creative with it that would somehow allow me to participate in the coffee industry. Thanks in large part to the amazing support of folks like you, I’ll get my first opportunity this weekend.

I’m heading west to Warrenville, IL (outskirts of Chicago) to participate as a VIP Blogger at Coffee Con 2012, hosted by Kevin Sinnott. The event claims to be the first ever international consumer coffee conference, and is centered around the idea of total transparency and hands-on coffee education for those who love coffee and love to brew it.

“CoffeeCON 2012 is an opportunity to journey into the world’s most amazing coffee varieties from around the world and learn about brewing, and even roasting, in every style imaginable. Top world amateur and professional coffee experts will present a wide variety of seminars and hands-on labs. Attendees will sample the world’s best beans and experiment with the latest brewing equipment. Exhibitors will include many high-end coffee roasters, coffee equipment manufacturers, coffee farmers and innovative coffee products.”

Registration is free and open to the public until Friday, February 24th – if you show up at the door on Saturday, you’ll have to pay $10 to get in. Brewing labs, coffee stations, and vendors will be around all day, and there are quite a few classes you can sign up for: AeroPress hacks, Beginner Home Roasting, Correct Grinding, Coffee Farming, and Chemex Brewing just to name a few.

The entire event seems like a great way to learn more about home brewing, different ways to brew coffee, and the entire coffee process from farmer to cup.


Kevin Sinnott

For me, this is a great opportunity to not only network and connect with those in the coffee industry, but to learn more about coffee as a whole. I’m especially excited about the opportunity to meet and interview Geoff Watts, (Intelligentsia), George Howell (Terroir), and Oren Bloostein (Oren’s Daily Roast). To some degree, these guys are legends in the coffee industry, so it really is a privilege to get the chance to chat with them. I’ll be taking pictures and posting updates via twitter throughout the day. If you’ll be at the event, I’d love to connect.

Check out the full Coffee Con Press Release.

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February 23, 2012

Big thanks to Vespertine Press for sending me a copy of the London Independent Coffee Book and Keep Cup. It was nice receiving a package in the mail with a large “Royal Mail” sticker attached – makes you feel more important than usual.

I love the design of this book. It’s small enough to carry around, easy to navigate, and really looks nice sitting on a coffee table. So far it’s been helpful to me as I plan my upcoming trip to London in early April. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the great coffee joints that London has to offer.

Dear Coffee, I Love You beat me to it, and has already put together a great post on the book. Make sure to go take a look, then head over to the Vespertine Press site to order your guide.

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February 21, 2012

I’m continually blown away by how diverse, unique, and complex the coffees I’ve had from Kuma Coffee are. I didn’t think the Honey Pot Espresso could live up to the Panama Elida Estate, Kenya Gichatha-ini, or Kenya Gethumbwini I tried from Kuma, but it does. Kuma continues to impress me and has really started to separate itself as a premiere coffee roaster.

Nice job, Mark.

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In case you haven't seen the great mugs I collaborated with Kuma on, you can check them out here:

On a completely separate note, the Bonavita electric kettle that @myBonavita was kind enough to send me has been a godsend. Before I had the luxury of a gooseneck kettle, I was basically splashing water all over my pourovers and chemex to brew coffee. Now, I get a nice, skinny, even pour that doesn’t require much tipping. Highly recommend this kettle.

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