There are now over two thousand five hundred coffee roasters listed on our #StillRoasting Coffee Map that continue to operate—fueling essential workers and soothing those sheltering in place. Superlost Coffee out of Brooklyn, New York is among the 2,500+ roasters that continue to roast for their wholesale clients, grocery stores, online, and via pick-up (and, according to an April 1st Instagram post, delivering coffee by drone).
Superlost Coffees are bagged in stand-up white kraft paper that are hand screen-printed with Speedball ink using designs commissioned by artists like San Francisco-based cartoonist and illustrator Levi Prewitt. Prewitt designed the company's latest offering—a singled origin coffee from Limu Kossa, Ethiopia (pictured above).
We caught up with co-founders Craig Deahl and David Roa via email to learn more.
When did the coffee package design debut?
When we launched Superlost in late 2017 we did so with our only goal being matching specialty coffee with limited edition art. Our debut product was a white kraft bag with screen printed artwork by our friend Michael Zolla using 3 screens. The idea was to come up with packaging that was incredibly unique and interesting enough where people would want to keep the bag as art even after they’d drunk the coffee.
Tell us about the approach to working with various artists for coffee releases.
In the beginning, we tapped into our existing personal networks since we both knew many artists, but as time went on we started getting an influx of artists reaching out to us via Instagram. The way we work with artists is fairly straightforward. We give them the coffee origin and tasting notes and they can design anything that inspires them off of that. We then offer two compensation plans, one for money upfront, or one where they get paid per bag in perpetuity.
We’ve always been big fans of art and, in our opinion, coffee packaging was really safe and boring. We wanted to have our bags stand out wherever they were and provide something to keep after you’ve enjoyed our coffee.
Tell us about the look.
The look of our bags has one intention, stand out. We want our packaging to look like a blank canvas that an artist can express themselves on. We treat our packaging more like the beer/wine industry than the coffee industry. In fact we actively do everything we can to not look like anyone else in the coffee industry.
What coffee information do you share on the package?
On the back of the bag we have:
Origin: Starts with as granular as the farm then going up to as broad as the region and country.
Process: We love displaying the process because some of our favorite offerings are natural skin contact coffees that maybe most people aren’t even aware exist.
Altitude: This we provide for our customers who subscribe to the idea that coffees growing at higher altitudes are generally of better quality.
Roast Date: Key because we want to focus on when we roasted and not on when it should be consumed by.
On the front we have:
Origin Distinction: Someone can quickly see whether the coffee came from a single farm or a single region.
Any artists out there you wanna work with next?
Complete daydream fantasy artists would be David Choe, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, and Nathan Pyle. Realistically, anyone with passion and exciting artwork.
Where is your coffee available?
In coffee shops throughout Brooklyn with our main ones being Copper Mug and Brooklyn Larder, and in Whole Foods in the coming months! Most importantly SUPERLOSTCOFFEE.COM we offer free shipping on our entire site and no minimums.
Superlost Coffee is selling coffee for the staff of two New York hospitals. You can support Superlost Coffee and the medical staff of Bellevue Hospital and NYU Langone Hospital by purchasing the coffee for $14 here. According to the website, any unused funds will be donated to Feeding America.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.