As the specialty coffee world has grown and expanded, so has the design around it, from cafe interiors to coffee making tools. These days, coffee and design seem to go hand in hand, stimulation coming as much from the visual aspects related to coffee and its consumption as from the caffeine intake.
One blog that has been following that evolution is Dear Coffee I Love You, run by Brian W. Jones. A designer by trade, Jones is well-respected in the specialty coffee industry, melding his love of coffee and design into a path that includes everything from coffee branding to co-founding AKA Coffee to writing the book Brew: Better Coffee at Home, with the occasional contribution to Sprudge along the way. Based on the west coast of Sweden, he’s well tapped into the buzz of the Nordic coffee scene, but work also has him spending a lot of time in the coffee-centric San Francisco area. Bridging the two continents, and traveling everywhere in between, leads to a lot of visual inspiration, which you can follow on his popular Instagram feed @DCILY.
We caught up with Jones to learn more about his process and what keeps him inspired.
How would friends of yours finish this statement “Brian is….”?
Always drinking wine.
How did DCILY the website get started? How has it evolved since then?
The website began as a way for me to feed my growing curiosity around coffee and to share my discoveries with family and friends. After having that first “aha moment” with good coffee, I wanted to know everything there was to know about it. The site was also an outlet for me as a designer to focus on a specific subject that I found steeped in creativity explore the trends and patterns that I saw happening at the time. As I learned more about coffee, it became a way for me to encourage better appreciation for coffee and inspire people to drink better coffee.
How does your Instagram feed fit into that evolution?
Instagram wasn’t around when DCILY first launched, so it actually took me a while to separate my personal Instagram account and create one dedicated to just coffee. I had a few friends who complained about seeing too many cups of coffee (and now complain about all the glasses of wine), so I separated the two accounts. My personal account almost never shows coffee any longer. But IG has been a way to continue sharing things with people that don’t necessarily require an entire article written about them. I’ve noticed the attention span of many readers has decreased a lot (including my own). Instagram plays into this trend and allows people to engage with visual content, new cafes, packaging, products, without needing to read a lot about them. People can discover things easily and discuss in the comments if they want. It creates a much more interactive forum for certain types of content.
Why do you think that Instagram has become such a popular platform for the community?
I think it’s an easily digestible format, whether for inspiration or just keeping up to date with what others are doing, drinking, brewing with, etc. From a business side, it’s a very easy way to project your brand and share your newest products with customers.
What are some of your favorite images that you have done in the last few months?
I posted an image just last week while I was having coffee at home in Sweden. The morning light was just perfect and I captured the feel of the coffee with such clarity. It’s such a simple image but makes me crave another cup. The images I capture while traveling to new places are usually my favorites. I was recently in Tokyo, and several of those pictures really sum up the magic of Japan, the people there and why I love it. Then there are those really well-composed overhead shots that are incredibly cliché, but still look great. I kicked off my trip to the SCA Expo in Seattle with one of those.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your creative process?
I don’t really have a creative process for my Instagram photos. All of the content I post is mine and captured mostly with an iPhone. I do some light editing with a photo app called Afterlight, but it is still very raw compared to some of the coffee accounts out there. I don’t repost other content and it is very much a visual diary (this is what coffee I’m drinking today, this is the cafe I visited recently). The primary purpose is to simply inspire more coffee lovers and occasionally promote/cover an event or share products that I’m honestly enjoying and excited about. I was hesitant at first, but I’ve grown to love IG stories and the ability to share more fleeting moments with them. I find boomerangs incredibly hypnotic, so I prefer them to videos.
What are some of your sources of inspiration?
I love cabin porn and architecture photography. Also a lot of tattoos and sneakers. Drone photography also really makes me happy and I’ve been trying to justify getting one myself, but so far I’ve talked myself out of it. Generally, I try to look entirely outside the realm of whatever I’m working with for inspiration.
What coffee are you drinking right now?
All this week I’ve been brewing some Catuai from Finca Takesi in Bolivia that The Coffee Collective roasted in Denmark. It’s one of those coffees that has such a unique flavor profile that it makes me really question what I love about coffee. It’s very different than the Geisha variety that Intelligentsia offered from Finca Takesi, but it is still wonderful and I’m always excited when I can get a hold of coffee from this farm.
Favorite coffee shop?
Koppi in Helsingborg, Sweden. I would live there if Anne and Charles ever let me to set up a bedroom in the basement.
If you could drink coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
This is ridiculously hard to answer. I would probably want to keep it casual, so definitely a comedian. I know Jerry Seinfeld beat me to it, but I would love to have coffee with Aziz Ansari. Also, both Grace Parra and Samantha Bee would be great coffee companions for talking politics, while still laughing about it.
Anna Brones (@annabrones) is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in the American Pacific Northwest, the founder of Foodie Underground, and the co-author of Fika: The Art Of The Swedish Coffee Break. Read more Anna Brones on Sprudge.