How often do you proudly display your empty coffee bags upon your fridge? If the answer is not often enough, you’re probably not buying coffee from Ann Arbor’s Stovetop Roasters. Each offering has its own whimsical drawing from illustrator Jared DeMeester (sea creatures, land mammals, third-place athletes, etc.) We think all coffee bags should be beautiful enough for the refrigerator, but until then folks like Stovetop Roasters are leading the way.
Tell us a bit about your company.
We are Stovetop Roasters, of Ann Arbor, MI. A bit about us and our beliefs: we care about the people who grow, serve, and drink our coffee. At Stovetop we believe great coffee builds quality relationships, and quality relationships inspire great coffee. We’re serious about design, sourcing, roasting, and brewing, but what excites us most is coffee’s great knack for bringing people together. It’s a conversational beverage, and we think that’s significant.
When did the coffee package design debut?
Our current design debuted in February of 2017. We print on a paper sleeve that hugs our stout bags, which allows each coffee to have its own personality.
Who designed the package?
Our design is all executed in-house by Jared DeMeester. Jared is an illustrator/designer, focused on art with story-worthy soul. In 2015, Jared started a website called I Tried My Best, featuring hand drawings that occasionally lack skill but make up for it with charm. This concept laid the groundwork for Stovetop’s quirky aesthetic.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.” As a team, we hope our design choices align with Vonnegut’s statement. Keep making, brewing, drawing, singing, dancing, or whatever it is that gives you life.
What coffee information do you share on the package?
Our packaging shares standard yet important info about origin, processing, elevation, and varietals, along with:
A sourcing note, which provides some short facts about the coffee’s origin, farmers/staff, sustainability practices, etc. It’s our opportunity and privilege to share something that gives the coffee’s producers a heartbeat.
An “ideal drinking location” and “drinking music,” gives us an opportunity to communicate our appreciation of sound and space. Most of our fondest coffee drinking memories reflect both coffee and the sensory details: where we are, who’s with us, what we’re hearing.
Our blends include an “imaginative tasting note,” a short blurb we derive from what we experience internally as we sip the coffee. For example, our summer blend talks about riding around on the back of a butterfly sipping nectar from flowers with straws. Emphasis on the “imaginative.”
The inside of our sleeve features small illustrations and recommendations for several different brewing methods/ratios.
Our last piece of information is “a note from the artist.” Each Stovetop coffee has its respective character, and the artist’s note helps us give the character voice and feeling.
What’s the motivation behind that?
Our motivation is always to give our product a sense of delight, honesty, and soul. Though we can’t sit at the table each morning with our beloved Stovetop customers, we can send them home with a bag that speaks to our favorite things: clean lines, dogs in clothing, coffee farmer shoutouts, smile-inducing haiku poems. We believe brand has the capability of bridging the gap between craft and non-craft drinkers.
What are some of the improvements made in the packaging?
The resealable zipper keeps coffee fresh and easily accessible for half-open morning eyes. We also love having the ability to design and print on all four sides of the sleeve. This gives us plenty of real estate for communicating who we are and what we do.
Why are aesthetics in coffee packaging so important?
It’s an invitation to the party! Our team at Stovetop has always aimed to grow the pie of specialty coffee rather than stealing someone else’s slice, so we constantly evaluate how we are branding these bags of beans. Jared says that if a coffee professional and his 88-year-old Grandma Alice can both pick up the back and feel delighted and engaged, his job is fulfilled.
Where is the bag manufactured?
Pacific Bag, located in Seattle, WA.
For package nerds, what type of package is it?
It is a 12 oz, side gusseted, aluminum foil bag.
Is the package recyclable/compostable?
Our paper sleeve is recyclable, though we notice many folks making use of it as refrigerator art. As we grow, we are exploring compostable options.
Where is it currently available?
You can find our coffee in shops across the Midwest. However, if you do not reside here, our website keeps tabs on all of our goodies. Stop in at our new cafe in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a hug. Thank you!
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Country: United States
Design Release: February, 2017
Designer: Jared DeMeester
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.