counter culture draw coffee

Ben Blake spent some time at the Counter Culture Coffee training center in Durham this week, and came away inspired to make the above doodle. It was an exciting, and by and large inspiring week at the Sprudge forest redoubt in Portland as well, despite the crazy sunshowers. 

Sprudge editor Zachary Carlsen introduced me to Jaymes Young recently, and you should all go listen to his album Dark Star if you like chill hazy kind of whistful good times somewhere between Jamie Woon, Miguel, Black Keys and Blood Orange. Likewise, the coffee internet this week was an interesting and enjoyable mix of standard  tropes and cutting edge twists.

Two highly cutting-edge twists to the established coffee narrative dominated the news here at Sprudge, with Neil Day’s Perfect Coffee startup unveiling its technological vision of mass market quality coffee adoption via delicious pre-ground coffee to the world, and Blue Bottle founder James Freeman announcing the company’s plans to expand to Japan.

Good Vibes – Two chefs at Box Kite are having some fun

Cutting edge food at top coffee establishments may be approaching standard in some regions of the world, but here in North America, this article on the tasting menu chefs Dave Gulino and Justin Slojkowski are doing at Box Kite Coffee in NYC is a rare delight.

advert but first coffee cookbook now available


“When the record player is on and Sharon Jones is giving you what you want, and the barista is dancing, you can tell that in these 300-square feet of the city, a few people are doing exactly what they love.”

A Precision-Built Manual Coffee Grinder Paves the Way to a Perfect Cup

The Orphan Espresso Lido grinder continues to get mainstream love, with this Gizmodo piece coming on the heels of last week’s in depth look at the Lido design and manufacturing story over on Fast.Co. Not surprising, considering how thoroughly the Lido nails some standard coffee story tropes: bearded coffee obsessives, precision equipment, passionate garage tinkering R&D story, etc.

Coffee price is no object in United States

This story really runs the gamut of coffee price trend piece standbys, from this guy at Blue Bottle:

“I don’t drink wine and alcohol,” Cappelli, 52, said after buying the $3.25 drink at Blue Bottle Coffee at San Francisco’s Ferry Building, in the shadow of the Bay Bridge. “Coffee is one of my pleasures in life. I would pay double.”

To this woman at Philz:

“I need it — it’s like crack,” said Lindsay Cooper as she stood in line for her morning cup at Philz Coffee in Mission Bay…

But it does include some good background issue on the looming changes in the coffee market:

Brazil’s unexpected dry spell sparked concern that global demand for arabica will exceed production for the first time in five years. … Southeastern Brazil is having the driest summer since 1972.

And it ends with this interesting factoid about Starbuck’s financial operations:

Coffee accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the cost of goods sold and 10 percent of store operating expenses, he said.

What Does Our Staff Do on the Side?

In all of the recent Blue Bottle newstravaganza, this little blog post kinda slipped by. Which is a shame, because it’s a really great idea–telling a company’s many online fans about all the other great things your staff does, and making it clear that you should contact them and pay them money for their services–and Blue Bottle did it in a classy way. Check out a sample entry below, and many more on the Blue Bottle blog.

Jamie Vasta, Barista/Artist

Jamie Vasta uses glitter and glue on wooden panels to create figurative paintings that explore dynamics of beauty and power. Her work counters glitter’s kitsch and camp with explorations of mortality, gender roles, sexuality, and violence. She is represented by the Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco, which recently mounted her fourth solo show. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Crocker Museum in Sacramento and the Berkeley Art Museum.


See Jamie’s work

Learn About Coffee By Eating Apples

Meister does a great job of demystifying and explaining the concept of “acidity” in coffee over at Food and Wine, even walking readers through a tasting of different types of apples to better understand their own palate preferences.  A fun, informative read that’s perfect to send to any budding coffee appreciators in your life. Plus it has this amazing gif:

via Food and Wine
via Food and Wine

Alex Bernson is the assistant editor at Read more Bernson here.

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