This week we take a look at the packaging design from Wesley Andrews Coffee based in Minneapolis. The roasting company set out to create packaging that was “sustainable, modern, and informative.” They worked with a team of designers to create a delightfully minimal orange and cream branding. We spoke with the team at Wesley Andrews Coffee digitally to learn more.

Tell us about Wesley Andrews Coffee! When did y’all get started? Who’s on your team?

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The whole thing started when our two founders, Jared Thompson and Johan Podlewski, started roasting coffee as a hobby back in 2014. Two years passed and lots of hard work had gone into what had seemed like a crazy idea, but the cafe finally opened in 2016. We tried to take our time and ensure we were making good on our vision of sourcing respectfully and honoring our partners at origin before we dove into all that a shop entailed. Things have grown, and we’ve learned a lot along the way!

Right now we have an amazing team at the shop that we are really grateful for the opportunity to work with. Johan and Jared are our co-owners, as I mentioned before—they do a whole bunch of different things for us, as small teams usually require. Sam Nargan is our Q Grader, Director of Coffee, and our Graphic Designer. Ashley Brunkow is our Cafe Manager and generally keeps everything together. Andrew Shoemaker is our Head Roaster, so he’s doing all the heavy-lifting with production. Hannah Garcia helps us out with photo and social media work, Harrison Taylor writes for us and leads our upcoming blog we’ve been working on, and Josh Leininger is our newest all-star barista. Everybody on the team helps us out in a couple different ways, but we’re also really thankful that everybody is also a barista—we’re all still willing to brew the drip.

Who designed your packaging?

I designed it in-house with some illustration elements from artist Paul Contreras of @xbrewsleepdrawx and local designer Joel Velaz.

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wa bag front

What are some of the inspirations behind the packaging?

We’re really inspired by minimalist aesthetics—both Japanese and Scandinavian—and some semblance of that influence flows through a lot of what we do. Although our packaging has nothing to do with electronics, I’m also really inspired by Dieter Rams. Our goal was to create packaging that was sustainable, modern, and informative. We really believe coffee is an important ritual for us to help slow down. Without it, we find ourselves too easily forgetting to take time, breathe, and enjoy something delicious. So we wanted to create packaging that others would pick up and appreciate as a part of their everyday routines, as well as introduce them to the farmers and other contributors whose passion and hard work bring beans all across the world. I hoped that the simplicity of the design would do both.

Tell us about the elements of the packaging—what kind of bag, what kind of label wrap is used?

The bag is meant to be explored—the first thing you see is the name of the farmer or co-op who grew the coffee, and some of the tasting notes we found in the cup. There’s some specific details as you rotate the bag: brewing parameters, variety, harvest season, and so on. We worked with MTpak to design a compostable bag that breaks down after 12 weeks in a home compost. Even the one-way valve is compostable! So all you need to do is remove the tin tie and recycle the sleeve. We are really happy with the overall look and feel of the packaging—but sustainability was our main pursuit, so the fact that we found a producer that would work with us on both fronts really excited us. Oh, and as a final side note—we also nitro-flush all of our bags to maintain freshness and prevent as much oxidation as possible, so the bags do more than we’ve ever been able to do before in brightening the experience of brewing at home.

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Where is your coffee served/available?

Our partners are growing all the time! We’ve been very lucky to work with all sorts of cafes and shops. Here are some of our favorite places that our coffee is available:

Rustica Bakery
Kierans Kitchen NE
Canopy Hotel
American Bistro Bakery
Sencha Tea Bar (multiple locations)
Foxwell Edina
Ace General Store

How would you recommend we spend a day in your neighborhood in Minneapolis?

Whittier is such a lively neighborhood, it’s tough to cherry-pick just a day’s worth—but here goes. If it isn’t too biased to suggest—you might start the morning with coffee or tea with us at the cafe! The morning is a great time to head over toward the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and take a stroll in the park. Pimento Kitchen is an incredible Jamaican street food joint just down the road—it’s a perfect lunch stop. You can browse the aisles of vinyl at Cheapo Discs or pick up some threads at B Resale, and round out the night with dinner and a show at Icehouse, or with a cocktail from Eat Street Social.

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