Ceramics are undergoing a surge in popularity in high end coffee shops: from Ben Medansky’s hand thrown excellence at Go Get ‘Em Tiger in Los Angeles to Heath Ceramics’ midcentury inspired design at Blue Bottle in San Francisco and Weekend in Dallas, hand crafted mugware is showing up in design-forward shops across the country. And in Denver, the kiln-fired trend is making its way into brewing equipment with Veak Ceramics and their handmade ceramic pour over sets.
Modelled after the Hario V60 pour over cone, Veak Ceramics’ pour over devices and accompanying mugs are wheel-thrown and finished off with colored glazes created by owner Sarah Veak. The dripper and mug set have a warm, rustic-meets-midcentury aesthetic, a sharp derivation from the white ceramic or clear plastic more commonly associated with Hario’s most popular brewer. “I have always been partial to modern, clean lines,” owner Sarah Veak tells me by electronic mail, “but I strive to always keep rustic elements in my collection.” The pour over set is designed to be a centerpiece, a functional and eye catching locus around which people can congregate. “I want to foster a gathering of community with my work, and frequently, these sorts of assemblies are done over food, tea, coffee, whiskey, etc. I want my work to be a conversation starter and something that brings people together.”
Veak’s previous collection of wares includes quite a bit of coffee paraphernalia–mugs, espresso cups, cream and sugar sets–with the pour over set marking the first move into the brewing side of things. The mugs are currently being carried at various stockists around the country, but the pour over set is slated to make its first of many in-store appearance at Denver’s Thump Coffee, the Capitol Hill café and roastery that is home to other design-heavy coffee gear like the Slayer espresso machine and Alpha Dominche Steampunk brewer.
Handmade brewing devices are part of the ever-growing list of implements for shops looking to customize the experience they provide their customers, and they can add more than just visual appeal. A unique design may be the perfect ice breaker to begin the much sought after customer-barista interaction that can help turn an occasional patron into a regular. And perhaps there is room for innovation as well. Instead of giving an aesthetic touch up to already existing designs, ceramics makers can work with baristas to modify brewers or even create entirely new devices. For now, though, inviting creations like those by Veak Ceramics offer a handsome alternative from the white ceramic ubiquity.
Zac Cadwalader is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.
Photos by Jennifer Elrod unless otherwise noted.