Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
April 30, 2012

Not too long ago, Joyce Tombran-Tink got into hand-turning pens on a wood lathe. Joyce happens to be my mother-in-law, and it quickly became evident to those of us around her that she has a natural talent when it comes to working a wood lathe.

Joyce has turned some incredible pens over this past year, and uses unique materials in her work. She seeks out rare and exquisite materials to turn into pens – any where from a simple curly maple wood, to a block of green Jade from Tibet, to a rare, fossilized mammoth tusk excavated from Siberia. It’s become a bit of a running joke, because it’s not uncommon to hear her say “I want to turn that.” You never know what she might turn into a pen next.

Recently, she approached me about doodling on some pen blanks she had turned. She turned the wood and gave them to me to draw on – once finished she put them back on the lathe to finish with a few layers of acrylic, and topped them off with the pen fittings. THey came out pretty nice.

Thanks to Joyce for thinking of me – be sure to look for her work online in the near future. Check out the pictures below, including a really nice bowl she finished last week.






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April 27, 2012

I posted last week about a nice package of coffees and merchandise I’d received from Brian Jones of DCILY. One of the coffees in the box was this Kenya Nyeri from Drop Coffee.

I’ve mainly been woodnecking it at a 15:250 ratio, and it’s turned out wonderful. Tons of bright, juicy, sour cherries, leveled off by a bit of creamy something and an almost chai-like spice.

Pretty much the only exposure I’ve had to Drop Coffee has been through – surprise, surprise – a DCILY post, but they seem to be doing some really great things in Sweden.

Check it out, then get some friends together to place an order.


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April 26, 2012

Adam Lisagor is in love with his AeroPress. A few years back, for his 32nd birthday, his friends Neven and Christa gifted it to him and it was “love at first use.”

“It gives me a reason to get up every day,” he said. “Before the AeroPress, I didn’t care about the quality of my coffee. Now I know when its polite to literally pour a bad cup of coffee on the floor in front of the person who made it.”

Back in 2009, Adam co-developed an iOS app and created a video to promote it. The video caught on, and soon, companies started to ask Adam to make videos for their own products. This gave way to Sandwich Video Inc., whose impressive portfolio includes “neat” videos made for tech clients such as Groupon, Square, Flipboard, Yahoo!, and Instapaper, just to name a few.

Recently, Adam’s love for his AeroPress inspired him to shoot a video as a tribute to it. You may have already seen it, but it’s worth multiple views. Not only is it a beautiful video, but it also demonstrates the simplicity of making an AeroPress. I think Adam speaks for AeroPress lovers everywhere throughout this entire “AeroPress Poem Tribute.”

Check out more of Adam’s videos, including an insightful outtake of the “Puck Shot.”


April 25, 2012

Recently, I was approached by Synesso to work on a project for their warehouse. Its extremely exciting to be working with such a major player in the coffee industry, and only furthers the love I have for the collaborative nature of coffee folks. More details to come, including some nice photos and a longer post. Thanks to Synesso for the opportunity.


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April 24, 2012

Not too long ago, Handsome Coffee Roasters opened their doors in Downtown LA, bringing with them a talented team of baristas from some of the nation’s top coffee spots. Handsome has done a great branding job, projecting who they are and what they’re about through the use of packaging design, web design, and the opening of their new shop on Mateo Street, highlighted by this beautiful video. It should come as no surprise that when hiring baristas for their storefront, they would be hiring the best.

One of these talented baristas is Christopher “Nicely Abel” Alameda, who has a specialty coffee resume that dates back to 2005 at Espresso Vivace in Seattle, Washington, then on to Intelligentsia Venice.

It’s obvious that Nicely has talent when it comes to pouring latte art – just check out his Instagram feed - but something that’s clear to anyone who has met him or follows him on social media, is that he has a humble generosity that’s obvious and contagious. Seems like Handsome struck gold when they brought him on board.

He’s won multiple World Latte Art Championships at Coffee Fest, and has been knocking down drinks and making people happy at Handsome since they opened their doors. A couple months back, through a twitter interaction, we sparked the idea of a possible collaboration on a tattoo design. To be honest, it was quite humbling to even be considered for this task.

Drawing inspiration from Nicely himself, I tried to capture some places that are important to him, and came up with a design idea using the following phrase:

“NY State of Mind, NW Love, Cali State of Shine.”

I have no idea if this will actually end up as ink on skin, but it was a fun project to work on. Thanks to Nicely for the idea and for being so, well, nice.

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April 23, 2012

When I tell people about Columbus, I tell them about Jeni’s Ice Cream. It’s easily one of the best things to come out of Columbus, Ohio, and is a source of pride among locals. Everyone in Columbus knows about it and people around the country are discovering this gem. Jeni Britton-Bauer started Jeni’s a few years back at the North Market in downtown Columbus using only farm-fresh ingredients, all natural, and hand-selected. Since then, Jeni’s has expanded with nine locations around Ohio (often with lines out the door and around the corner) and two locations in Tennessee.

Right now, Jeni’s is up for a James Beard award for “Best Cookbook: Baking & Dessert.

What makes Jeni’s unique is their passion for flavor and relentless quest for quality, perfect ingredients. I think many in the coffee industry can relate to this quest:

We create ice creams we fall madly in love with, that we want to bathe in, that make us see million-year-old stars. We devour it out of Mason jars, coffee mugs—whatever we can get our hands on. Handmade American ice cream = Bliss with a big B. Every single thing we put in our ice cream is legit. Generic chemist-built ice cream bases and powdered astronaut-friendly gelato mixes? No, ma’am. We build every recipe from the ground up with luscious, Snowville milk and cream from cows that eat grass. With that exquisite base, we explore pure flavor in whatever direction moves us at any moment, every day, all year. -Jeni Britton-Bauer

Recently, I had the opportunity to help Jason Dominy of Batdorf & Bronson in Atlanta with a coffee ambush at Jeni’s Headquarters. We hand-brewed coffee all morning for the crew at Jeni’s and had a ton of fun doing it. You can read more about that ambush, and Jason’s entire experience at Jeni’s on his blog.

Shortly after his visit, Jason and Batdorf made the official announcement that they would be teaming up with Jeni’s to produce “the best coffee ice cream out there.” From Jason’s instagram post in Portland:

Coffee Ice Cream Ambush at @nemohq! Yep, proud to announce officially our partnership with @jenisicecreams! Guatemala Finca El Valle makes this coffee ice cream the best out there. Coming soon, coast to coast!


After spending time with Jason, and with the team at Jeni’s, it’s clear that this is a perfect match. Each company places an emphasis on not only the quality of their product, but the story behind it. Head over to the Jeni’s site to order yours – doesn’t matter where you live — they ship.

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April 23, 2012

Congratulations to Katie Carguilo of Counter Culture Coffee on winning the United States Barista Championship and earning her way to the World Barista Championship in Vienna, Austria. Katie put on a cool, calm, and collected routine for the judges, serving delicious drinks and impressing everyone with her knowledge of processing and producing coffee.

It was an impressive field this year, as I’m sure it is every year, but many congratulations are in order for all of the baristas who worked tirelessly to get to the finals.

Taking home this year’s Brewers’ Cup was Andy Sprenger of Ceremony Coffee in Annapolis, Maryland. Congratulations!

Check out Sprudge’s complete list for twitter handles, names, and employers  of all the finalists.

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April 22, 2012

One of the biggest inspirations for my doodle project, and one of the many catalysts for my renewed love of coffee was the site Dear Coffee, I Love You.

Through this site, I’ve learned about a lot of great roasters from around the world. One of these roasters is Koppi, based out of Helsingborg, Sweden.

I’ve been anxious to try coffee from Koppi for some time – thanks to the kindness of both Anne Lunell of Koppi, and Brian Jones of DCILY, I was able to. A huge thanks to both of them for being willing to send this my way. It’s almost time for fika in Ohio!




April 22, 2012

Congrats to Charlene De Buysere of Belgium! Check out the details of the event on


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April 21, 2012

I’m in the beginning stages of what could turn out to be an extremely fun and fulfilling project. My mother-in-law is a wizard on a wood lathe, and has made it her hobby to turn pens and bowls out of anything she can find. She’ll make pens out of anything from a normal piece of oak, to a nice piece of ebony, all the way up to a fossilized wooly mammoth tusk.

She approached me and asked if I would doodle on some of her pen blanks she recently turned. Tonight, I made my first attempt and am relatively happy with the results. A bit sloppy and busy, but I learned some things and am excited to work on some more of these.

Who knows, maybe she’ll turn me a handle for an espresso tamper.




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