Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
May 28, 2012

Just last week I was in Portland enjoying coffee from Coava in their beautiful shop. Luckily, I was able to take a bag of their coffee home with me thanks to the wonderful people at Clive Coffee.

I’m a huge fan of the simplicity that Coava gives off as a brand – from their shop set up all the way to their bag design.

This coffee from Ethiopia is full of intense blueberries and is extremely sweet, tart, and rich. I’ve been enjoying it through a french press filtered through a V60.

I’ve been finding that I love the depth and characteristics that a 4+ minute brew time provides, but I also like the clean, brightness that the filter provides.

It sounds like a lot more trouble than it is, and some have told me that it’s basically the same idea as a Clever.

If you’re interested in trying it out, here’s the recipe:

1. Boil water (you need a total of 375g)
2. Rinse paper filter with hot water
3. Heat French press or Soft Brew with hot water
4. Grind 27g coffee coarse (31 on a Baratza Virtuoso)
5. Pour 90g water evenly over grounds, “bloom” for 20 seconds.
6. Start timer for 4 minutes
7. Pour remaining 285g of water over grounds in a circular motion
8. Give it a quick stir
9. With about 1 minute left, break the crust
10. Plunge at 4 minutes
11. Pour through a V60 filter (it won’t drain all the way)


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May 25, 2012

Last weekend, I traveled out to the Pacific Northwest to work on a project with Clive Coffee in Portland. I’d never been to Portland, but I’ve obviously heard tons about it thanks to social media, conversations with friends, and yes, through Portlandia.*

Last month especially, Portland was in the spotlight thanks to SCAA. As I sat back and painfully watched the event unfold via twitter from Ohio, I was able to gather some pretty good coffee suggestions that got me excited to visit.

It was an extremely short trip that put me in Portland for a total of 40 hours, but while I was there, I got to visit some great spots I’d wanted to get to for some time.

Clive Coffee Showroom


I met Mark Hellweg a few months back at Coffee Con in Chicago. We had chatted before the event about collaborating on a project, so it was nice to reconnect in Portland and actually see the project come to fruition.

I had some time on Friday to browse the showroom with Jenn, a worker at Clive. Jenn is talented on a letterpress and has found a niche at Clive working in the office and designing labels, bags, advertisements, etc. She talked about about her love of coffee and how working at Clive has really taught her a lot about espresso.


The Showroom itself is beautiful, and is very much set up like an Apple store in that you can browse, look, and use the equipment before you purchase. The right wall is lined with shiny home espresso machines that any coffee lover would like to have, and other displays show porcelain pourovers, espresso tampers, kettles, and other equipment.


Water Ave. Coffee

After a short visit to the showroom, Mark and I went next door to Water Ave. to grab a sandwich.  The actual shop portion of Water Ave. is a bit of an experiment and an extension of their Coffee Education classroom and roasting facility.



While we were there, we took part in a cupping with some new coffees from some of the farms that head roaster Brandon Smyth visited. It was a great experience, and I learned that I am subpar at cupping. Everyone else seemed to have a very audible and pronounced technique that left me in the dust and coughing a lot. Regardless, it was fun to compare coffees with the roaster, and to get different perspectives from the others involved.


Coava Coffee

I left Mark back at Clive and walked up a few blocks to find Coava, one of my must-sees while in Portland. I had a nice chat with the barista while she made me some Reinelio Lopez from Huila, Columbia in a Kone. The shop itself has a really cool, workshop feel, partly because it shares its space with Bamboo Revolution, a manufacturer whose design and products utilize bamboo.




Besides the beautiful brew bar area, and their exclusive use of the Able Kone for drip brew, one thing that sets Coava apart is their open space which features a an exposed roaster, as well as old bench tools used for tables. A beautiful space with beautiful coffee. One of the best I’ve been to.



I met up with Keith Gehrke of Able Brewing and we headed over to Heart Roasters for a chat and some coffee. I ended up not taking any pictures, but really enjoyed my time here as Keith talked through his philosophy on brewing, why he designed the Kone, and what’s next for Able Brewing. Keith has a real passion for the products he makes, and I was blown away while he explained the many steps that a Kone goes through before it ends up in your Chemex. I’m really excited about his latest project, the Kone Brewing System, which is currently featured on Kickstarter and is accompanied by a fantastic video.

Barista PDX

We finished our drinks and headed across town to Barista, where Tyler Stevens prepared our drinks. Coincidentally, Barista was featuring Kuma Coffee in their espresso while I was there. I’m a big fan of Kuma, so it was nice to have their coffee pulled by such a talented barista.



Tyler shared his love for peanut butter pretzels and poured a perfect macchiato. Really enjoyed the shop overall — it has a bar-like atmosphere to it, and the baristas are extremely professional and approachable. I wish I could have visited their other location as well, but time was short.

Sterling Coffee

My final coffee stop in Portland was to Sterling Coffee, a small stand outside of a local Trader Joes. I’d heard great things about them from some baristas, as well as my hosts, Ryan and Liz.


What Sterling lacks in size, it makes up for in personality and appearance. The baristas were dapper in vests and ties, and served up drinks on a one-group Synesso in what felt like a living room from an old estate. We enjoyed a flight of espresso – which was basically a pairing of two espressos. Our visit was short, but I really appreciated the conversation with the guys and was excited to hear about an upcoming roaster partnership they’re taking part in. Should be some good stuff down the road for Sterling.



Portland was as unique and weird as I expected it to be, but I loved it. Everywhere I went, it seemed that people took pride in what they were doing. Thanks to everyone who took the time to talk with me and take me around – it’s much appreciated. Hopefully, I’ll be back out to the Pacific Northwest soon.

 *I assumed people in Portland would be annoyed that I watched and enjoyed Portlandia, but was surprised to find that most people I talked to also enjoyed the show.

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May 25, 2012


Not too long ago, I was approached by the Synesso team, based out of Seattle, Washington, about a possible project collaboration.

Apparently they had around 100 side panels for an older model espresso machine  laying around the warehouse. Rather than trash them or let them sit around the warehouse, they wanted to do something that could give the warehouse some unique character.

After some back and forth, Henry Erikson – Synesso’s Social Media Director – decided they would be cool to utilize a large beam in the warehouse to hang powder-coated side panels from – each panel designed and decorated by a different artist.



I came up with a design of the Synesso Hydra on a typical Hario filter. They then took the drawing and blew it up onto a large clear sticker and applied it to the side of a stainless steel panel. I think it turned out pretty nice and am excited to see more panels from other artist.

I’ve heard a lot about Synesso, and while in Seattle and Portland, I’ve seen and had shots pulled from their machines. It’s a privilege to work with Synesso and really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this new warehouse project. It’s exciting to know that while the Synesso team is in the warehouse creating wonderful machines, a doodle of mine will be hanging out above them. Hopefully some other artists get involved.




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May 23, 2012

I had a great, albeit brief, visit to Portland this past weekend and got to experience some of the best shops in town. Portland is a great town and has an amazing selection of coffee roasters and shops, with some of the most beautifully designed spaces anywhere. More photos to come.


May 21, 2012

I’ve tweeted back and forth with Outback over the last year or so, and have seen a few art or doodle contests come through their account. For whatever reason, I never entered.

My first job was actually at an Outback, and the social media side of the company has a pretty unique relationship with one of the guys who I work with, Dave Parsons.

For a cool story, and to see how Outback has used social media to really connect with people, check out this post from Dave about his birthday surprise, and then be sure to check out how that came full circle later on. It’s pretty cool stuff.

This quick doodle (it isn’t much) was inspired by a recent visit to the restaurant, and a tweet that came through from Outback. Mix that up with a sunny, hot afternoon, and you get this.



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May 14, 2012


I’ve been using Bonavita as my primary kettle for about 4 months now, and I love it. Not only does the electric kettle have a quick boil time (5 minutes) but it has a great gooseneck spout that gives great control over pouring speed and location.

At only $59.99 for the electric, and $39.99 for stovetop, Bonavita has balanced the line of quality coffee brewing equipment and affordability for home users.

I’ve had the chance to talk with Todd Larrabee from Bonavita a few times, and I’m always impressed at the passion, excitement, and creativity he envisions for the future of Bonavita and for the coffee industry.

Part of that excitement can be seen in the Bonavita’s recent explosion into the coffee scene with their coffee brewers and kettles.

Last year, Bonavita introduced an affordable gooseneck kettle to the mix – this year they’ve expanded on that idea and showcased Bonavita’s newest innovation: a variable temperature kettle.

From Clive Coffee:

We are happy to report that Bonavita has once again provided an excellent product at a rather unbelievable price. The internal microprocessor keeps the water within .5 degrees of the set temperature and will hold it there for 20 minutes. The gooseneck pour spout offers the control you need for pourover. One of our favorite features is the solid state memory, which means the kettle will recall your presets even when unplugged. For a fast, accurate electric kettle, we feel the Bonavita variable temperature unit offers a great value.

I’m excited about what Bonavita is doing, and look forward to trying out some new, innovative products.

You can grab one of the new kettles from Clive Coffee starting in July.

*Variable Temperature Kettle photo from


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May 9, 2012


I grew up with the Indians. I was born just before the golden age of Tribe baseball, setting me up with a childhood full of exciting pennant races, record setting home sell-outs, and a team that I lived and died by.

I remember sneaking a radio under my pillow on school nights when the team was on the west coast just to hear Tom Hamilton call the game. I clapped along at home during Tribe rallies, prayed for a homerun before each Albert Belle at-bat, and stood with 43,000+ screaming fans as the Indians clinched the pennant in 1997.

To me, it will always be Jacob’s Field. I’ll always be disappointed when there isn’t a sellout. There will never be as great of a home run call as Tom Hamilton’s “A swingandadrive!”

My childhood is all wrapped up with the Cleveland Indians, and they gave me a ton of great memories. Here’s to the Cleveland Indians – of past and present. All the players, coaches, announcers, stadium workers, fans, and Slider. Together, you gave me moments I’ll never forget. Looking forward to what’s in store.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the great Cleveland Indians fan site, Let’s Go Tribe!




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May 9, 2012

I had a brief moment of inspiration today when simultaneous tweets came through my feed from Homage – an Ohio based vintage style sports clothing company – and Grantland – a Bill Simmons project.

Really enjoyed doing this – I rarely color my drawings, but the basketball was begging for it.




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May 9, 2012

Not many brewing devices call as much attention to themselves as the Chemex. Its aesthetically appealing shape, materials, and design only further sweeten and enhance the end result that comes out into your cup.


The history of the Chemex is outlined and written about in this awesome article by Brian Jones of Dear Coffee, I Love You.

It was designed in 1941 by a German chemist, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, who immigrated to the United States in 1935. The modern hourglass shape of the Chemex, hugged in the middle by a wooden collar and leather tie, became a part of MoMA’s permanent collection in 1944—just a few years after its invention.

The Chemex was my first Pourover brewing device, given to me by my cousin as a wedding gift. Its easily remained one of my favorite ways to make coffee because it looks pretty and produces a sweet, smooth cup of coffee.


Thanks to the good Doctor for being interested in blessing coffee lovers all over the world with his invention.

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May 8, 2012

January not only marked the start of all of this doodle stuff for me, it also marked my introduction to all things specialty coffee.

Pretty early on, I was introduced to Sprudge when they kindly featured some of my doodles on their site.

Since then, I’ve come to know the gang at Sprudge not only as highly entertaining and funny writers of coffee-related stories, but also as extremely passionate, dedicated, and respected ambassadors within the coffee industry. No matter the event, you can almost guarantee that the Sprudge guys will be there – and all of us around the country and world who follow along on Twitter benefit greatly from it.

Thanks for all the work you guys do to keep us on all the latest coffee happenings. It’s much appreciated.**


*this awful, self-depreciating attempt at humor is why sprudge is completely necessary in the coffee industry, to keep it laughing and not rolling its eyes

**unless you’re Todd Carmichael


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