Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
June 7, 2013

Pourover stands come in many shapes and sizes. The beautiful and simple “Clive Stand” from Clive Coffee is made from salvaged Oregon Black Walnut, and hand made in Portland. The Hario Acrylic Stand is similarly shaped, made of clear acrylic, allows for a transparent brewing experience, and is specifically designed to fit snugly onto a Hario Drip Scale.

Landing somewhere in the middle of the two is a brand-new prototype from the folks at Craighton Berman Studio. Boasting a glass, double-walled casing , and a solid wooden base, the MANUAL Coffeemaker is “designed to be left out on a counter for fast access, less set up, and aesthetic consideration.”

This isn’t just a stand with a hole in it, either—the conical design is such that it encourages a slower extraction time, akin to an immersion method such as a French Press. A bit more from the Craighton Berman site:

Similar to a pour-over stand used by coffee shops, brewing happens directly into the final drinking vessel. The glass construction allows full visibility of the process, while the “double-wall” design retains more heat which helps maintain ideal extraction temperatures. The wooden base is designed to provide a ‘home’ for the glass piece, as well as fit over a kitchen scale. The base insulates the mug from thermal loss and catches any errant drips during the process, over time developing a patina, like that of a cutting board.

 

Prototypes are currently being tested and a Kickstarter campaign (of course) is in the works. Stay tuned for more details on the Craighton-Berman Studio Website.

Hat tip to DunneFrankowski. All photos are originals from the Craighton Berman website.

January 2, 2013

Last year was a big year for me—I intersected two of my favorite things (coffee + drawing), traveled all over the US and Europe, and in September, my wife and I moved to Italy.

I’ve met a ton of great people this past year, and have been humbled by the support of many within the coffee industry. I never would have thought that something like doodling would take me anywhere, but it’s given me an interesting ride since last January, and has put me on a pretty exciting path. To be completely honest, when I started doing these filter doodles, one of my first goals was to make it onto the DCILY website—something that is a bit funny and embarrassing, but a real testament to all that Dear Coffee, I Love You entails.

Here are some (coffee related) highlights for me in 2012 (in no particular order):

1. Multiple collaborations with Clive Coffee—a video project, as well as providing the illustrations for “The Craft of Espresso.
2. Artist Series Poster project with Able Brewing
3. Collaboration with Batdorf & Bronson and Kaldi’s Coffee on the “Collabrewation” blend
4. Mug and T-Shirt designs for Kuma Coffee
5. T-Shirt design for Cup Coffee in Australia
6. T-Shirt design for 40 Weight Coffee
7. Design for the Flatlander’s Barista Cup
8. Organized and competed in the Northeast Regional AeroPress Championship
9. Attended “Coffee Con 2012” and heard fantastic presentations from Geoff Watts and George Howell
10. Appearances on DCILY and Sprudge
11. Coffee tours of both Seattle and Portland

I trust that 2012 held excitement for you as well, and that you can point to the areas in your life and craft—whatever it may be—that you’re proud of. Here’s a doodle to bring in the new year.

Clive Coffee’s Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Chemex: 40g:660mL

20130102-192522.jpg

Posted by: 2 Comments »

Categories: Coffee

Tags: , , , , , ,

July 18, 2012

I’ve written about Baratza before. I love their grinders, I love how helpful they are, and I love how collaborative and encouraging they are. I’ve had the privilege of owning three different Baratza grinders—the Maestro, the Encore (Encorn, to some), and the Virtuoso. Each performing amazing.

Having a consistent grind is key to making great coffee.  If you’re anything like me, you started getting more serious about coffee by grinding your own beans with a blade grinder—I’ll always remember blade grinders by the high-pitched “whizzing” sound they make as they brutally chop up the coffee. While the heart behind grinding your own beans is great, this shotgun approach to blade grinding only allows for randomness and inconsistency in your grind.

The thing that sets Baratza apart begins with their use of quality conical burrs. “Burr coffee grinders are designed to create a very consistent grind size by crushing the coffee beans between a rotating burr and a stationary surface. This gives you grounds that are uniform in size and shape, from which the sweet, smooth flavors of the bean can be extracted reliably.” -clivecoffee.com

I’m no expert, but one thing I have noticed is the difference a good grinder makes. Its night and day. If you’re just starting to venture down the path of brewing quality coffee at home, one of the first places to start is with a quality burr grinder. Although it’s a bit of an investment, the quality grind and resulting coffee that a well-made grinder will give you pays for itself.

I love my Baratza grinders, everytime I make coffee, it goes through my Baratza. Anything less is a disappointment and it shows in the cup.

 

Posted by: Comments Off

Categories: Coffee

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

July 9, 2012

Bonavita splashed onto the coffee market this year by offering one of the only, if not the only electric gooseneck kettle in the US, at an incredibly affordable price. Mixing quality kettles with layman’s prices, Bonavita provides a way for coffee fanatics to indulge in their hobby without having to break the bank.

Following the same pattern, Bonavita offers a great automatic batch-brewer. I’ve had my Bonavita BV1800TH Coffee Maker for about a month now, and have been pleasantly surprised at the coffee it pumps out. Since my discovery of manual brewing, I’ve had a pretty negative view on automatic brewing. Various conversations with coffee pros coupled with this thermal brewer, have helped me understand that automatic brewing isn’t inherently bad—if the same care and precision is used as is in manual brewing, the coffee produced by an automatic machine can be great.

Here are some notes on the BV1800TH—via Clive Coffee:

  • Designed for precise water and coffee contact time
  • High quality brushed stainless steel finish
  • 1400 watt heating element maintains ideal brewing temperatures of 195-205 degrees
  • Brews 8 cups (40 oz) in 5-6 minutes
  • German thermal carafe (steel housing, glass liner)
  • SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) certified
Photo from Clive Coffee

I’ve tried putting a Chemex underneath the showerhead, as well as a Hario V60, both with great results. Though I still enjoy brewing with a kettle, if you’re looking for an automatic machine for home or office use, I highly recommend the Bonavita.

Thanks to Todd and Tracy at Bonavita for being kind enough to send this along. Be sure to look for the new Variable Temperature Kettle in August.

Posted by: Comments Off

Categories: Coffee

Tags: , , , , ,

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

20120525-132403.jpg

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.

20120525-132348.jpg

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.

20120525-132431.jpg

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.

20120525-132457.jpg

20120525-132512.jpg

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.

20120525-132531.jpg

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.

20120525-132544.jpg

 

20120525-132603.jpg

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.

20120525-132615.jpg

Heart

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.

20120525-132635.jpg

20120525-132723.jpg

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.

20120525-132735.jpg

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.

20120525-132745.jpg

20120525-132758.jpg

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.
 
 

Posted by: Comments Off

Categories: Coffee

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

20120522-233210.jpg