Over at our sister site Sprudge Wine we’ve got an appetite for good looking wine bottles…but a good looking bottle of coffee? Now we’ve seen everything! Foreigner Coffee founder Brandon Paul Weaver (seasoned barista competitor, bartender extraordinaire, and occasional Sprudge Writer) teamed up with Elizabeth Chai (award-winning designer, Coffee Sprudgecast guest host and Sprudge contributor) to make a coffee package that really stands out.
To learn more, we spoke digitally with Brandon Paul Weaver from his home base of Seattle, Washington.
Hi Brandon Paul Weaver! Tell us a bit about Foreigner.
Foreigner a little roasting project that allows me to stay involved in the coffee world but on my own terms. Because it is not my main source of income, the business does not have to bear the weight of sustaining a human and is thereby afforded a little more freedom than other coffee roasters to make ethically-minded choices. Essentially it is a repository for my idealism.
This is true in a few ways. Foremost, coffee itself is foreign. Unless you’re Ethiopian drinking coffee from Ethiopia (which is not my market), coffee is foreign. Yes, it grows in Colombia et. al. but it is not from there. It was put there by someone at some time. There is a story there and we often wash over these stories because they are not often pretty. My hope is that by implying this history, maybe we can start a conversation with consumers that can lead to a more equitable future for folks in coffee lands.
Second, people are foreign to each other. There is often some fear about people that are different from ourselves and people can react negatively to this fear. My hope is that we can use coffee as a means to facilitate interactions, share our stories, become familiar: “Let’s grab some coffee and chat!”
Ultimately, engagement with foreign-ness is embroidered in the fabric of the coffee world. For me, it is important to leverage this engagement toward a more equitable society. What if we confront the “foreign,” not with fear and rejection, but with earnest curiosity? Cultivating this sort of socio-cultural engagement with difference is the ultimate goal of this project.
Do you like the band Foreigner?
LOL. To be honest, I wasn’t super familiar with the band outside of some Arrested Development references. Certain people like to bring up the band when I tell them the name of the project. I like to note that as far as bands of that era/coffee companies go, I’m in good company with Heart and Slayer.
When did the coffee package design debut?
It debuted as a recipient of the Coffee Expo Design Lab Award in April of this year! I was thrilled that it received such an accolade with its birth. I also used Foreigner coffee in the US Coffee Champs, so the bottles were floating around that area too.
Who designed the package?
The package was designed by the incomparable Elizabeth Chai. She is a truly singular designer who has an astute understanding of the coffee industry and a tenacious ability to see projects through to their inception. I was honored that she took the project and am ecstatic with the results.
Brandon, the bottles are beautiful. But why bottles?
Because I look like a pirate! 99 Bottles of seeds on the wall, 99 bottles of seeds! No. Just kidding. A lot went into this decision beyond its aesthetic qualities and relative rarity. Part of my goal is to find creative ways to combat issues plaguing coffee. One of those issues is sustainability of products and the use of bottles allows me to buy back packaging from guests by offering them a discount on returned bottles. After cleaning them, I can reuse them and stamp them with a new coffee (like a passport) meaning that we have fully reusable packaging. This means you spend less, I spend less and we both generate less waste.
What coffee information do you share on the package?
I share a minimal amount of information. Basically just the farm, location, variety, and basic taste notes. I want the barrier to entry to be low for folks so that we can build a relationship before getting into the heavy stuff. I hope that people are taken by the beautiful design and that leads them to the deliciousness within. From there, hopefully, we are building some trust and maybe they will ask about the name and we can get into the nitty-gritty.
For the nerds, what kind of printy-labely-screeny process is it?
As per Liz Chai, “Labels are digital full color on Avon brilliant white, 80# classic linen text.”
I ran out of coffee. Can I get my bottle refilled?
Definitely. For local buyers who return bottles, I am happy to take a dollar off your next coffee. The more we recycle the more we all save!
Your website is selling out of coffee! When will more be available online?
There is more now! I just put up a fantastic washed Mexican coffee that is easily the best one of its kind I have ever had. It tastes like blackberries! I also have a Ndaroini from Nyeri, Kenya coming soon.
Where can I enjoy your coffees in the wild?
Thanks so much! <3
THANK YOU OMG YOU’RE THE GREATEST.
Country: United States
Design Date: April 2017
Designer: Elizabeth Chai
Coffee Design is a feature series by Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge. Read more Coffee Design here.