What’s in a name? A spro by any other name would taste just as sweet. In this 4-part series Sprudge staff writer Zac Cadwalader explores the fascinating back story behind some of specialty coffee’s best brand names. Don’t miss an installment, catch up with Part 1 here!
1. Dear Green (Glasgow, Scotland)
“We are named ‘Dear Green’ Coffee Roasters as we are based in Glasgow (or Glasgu) in Scotland. The city’s name is Gaelic for the ‘dear green place.’ When I was setting up Dear Green, there was no specialty coffee culture in Scotland yet. I wanted a name that locals could identify with and be instantly loyal to in order to create a following and introduce a new coffee culture. I was also inspired by the Woolloomooloo blend at Toby’s Estate (where I learned to roast) as well as Square Mile and Stumptown, all geographically-inspired names. And it’s a nod to green coffee.” – Lisa Lawson, owner
2. Everyman Espresso (New York, New York)
“The origin of Everyman is derived from the play Everyman. Our original location at 136 E. 13th Street is shared with the Classic Stage Company, an off-Broadway theater that seats 200 people. The play is a medieval story about “the Everyman,” a character that represents all of mankind. The Everyman attempts to bribe death in exchange for everlasting life. Though I didn’t give the shop its name, I feel it is especially intriguing because of my identity as an F to M transsexual. I do find it to be very fitting and I am happy with the discussions it sparks about gender, culture, and life.” – Sam Penix, owner
3. Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors (Austin, Texas)
“Figure 8 is a classic ice skating maneuver. It’s difficult to do, but when mastered, it appears effortless and graceful to the observer. The Italians call it sprezzatura. We called it Figure 8. It is the ability of the barista to display an easy facility in accomplishing a difficult task: crafting the perfect shot of espresso, cappuccino, coffee, etc. The idea behind Figure 8 is essentially a representation of the ritual of coffee. It is a habit, for most it becomes a part of a routine. And come on, Figure 8 is Elliott Smith‘s Abbey Road. What a killer record.” – Ryan Hall & Kathleen Carmichael, owners
4. Five Elephant (Berlin, Germany)
Owner Kris Schackman may try to tell you a few stories about how he chose the name because of the role “five” has played in music, geometry, religion, etc. And he may even try to convince you that he chose the “elephant” as a nod to Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope, Brooklyn, his former home. But if you press him long enough, Schackman will tell you the real story behind the name:
“One day in Idaho, I couldn’t believe my eyes. An elephant’s tail was flying through the air with an elephant running behind. The tail led him to five continents where he learned to pick coffee, and this is why we call him Five Elephant.”
5. Ipsento Coffee (Chicago, Illinois)
The name “Ipsento” was created by the company’s founders. By combining two Latin root words—“ipse”, meaning “self”, and “sentio”, meaning “to discover”—they wanted to represent the idea of “self-discovery.” Ownership has changed hands since the naming of the shop, and current owner Tim Taylor has his own take on the name. “I view the concept of ‘self-discovery’ as one of ‘journey’.” The coffee getting from a farm on a different continent to a café in Chicago, the progression of a barista in their training and devotion to coffee, the growth and expansion of a shop—all are journeys Taylor mentions when redefining the “ipsento”.
Zac Cadwalader is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Dallas, Texas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.