Coffee beans, coffee cups, coffee bags; these are all materials in Ria Sim’s works of art that she features on her Instagram account @coffeecakescafe. Most of us just take a picture of our daily cup of coffee, maybe with an artistic beam of morning sunshine or a well-worded caption, and then call it a day. Sim, however, takes things to a whole other level. Her Instagram feed is a collection of unique works compiled with a variety of items. Coffee—be it in bean, drink, or bag form—is always a main feature. For example, a paper cutout of a piece of pie, whose filling is made with coffee beans. “I create and post things that amuse me and I didn’t realize it led my Instagram to be different, entertaining, and comical at times,” says Sim. Sim will often take inspiration from other accounts, be they coffee roasters, cafes, or just coffee lovers. She aims to do two of these “shout outs” a week. “I will feature what inspires me and captures my attention in some way,” says Sim.

✔️✔️✔️✔️ A photo posted by R I A S I M (@coffeecakescafe) on

What makes Sim’s account feel authentic and genuine is exactly that; she posts what she wants to, and what she’s excited about. Though she does get requests to do work in exchange for payment, she’s strict about wanting to keep her Instagram account “a fun place for me to visit, versus a business.” Sim wants her feed to be “a place where visitors can discover information, a quick laugh, and maybe a place filled with inspirations.” In an online world that’s filled with latte art and overhead photos of cups of coffee on a breakfast table, or in a bed of rumpled sheets on a lazy Sunday morning, Sim’s feed is refreshing, and something totally different.

  Finally, a cup big enough for my coffee consumption ???   A photo posted by R I A S I M (@coffeecakescafe) on

I caught up with Sim to learn more about her, her work, and her favorite San Francisco coffee haunts. How would friends of yours finish this statement “Ria is….”? “A breath of fresh air whose art brings a smile to my face everyday.” “She’s naturally happy and it’s catchy.” “She’s sweet, generous, and modest.” Some of your pieces are very involved, on average, how long would you say one of your posts takes? Depending on the detail, some can take five to 10 minutes and some can easily take half a day to a full day of illustrating per post. What are some of your sources of inspiration? My inspiration is really “life” in general…my city (San Francisco), family, friends, and other cities, countries I love. Honestly, ideas pop into my mind when I’m not thinking of anything. When I overthink things…nothing really catches. What coffee are you drinking right now? This week I’m drinking Uncle Joe’s Purple Haze and Booskerdoo Peru.

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?Happy Valentine’s Day ☕️ lovers!❤️ #happyvalentinesday A photo posted by R I A S I M (@coffeecakescafe) on

Favorite coffee shop? This is honestly a really difficult question to answer. There’s so many aspects to why I love a certain cafe. Also, I’m fortunate enough to live in a city that sells amazing coffee!

  ⚡️’I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’ -David Bowie   A photo posted by R I A S I M (@coffeecakescafe) on

Sim’s SF picks:

For the architecture: Sightglass. For the vibe: Four Barrel. For the friendly baristas: Paramo. For the waffles: Blue Bottle. For the avocado toast: Mazarine.

But, overall, my go-to for great coffee and amazing eats is Jane on Fillmore!

If you could drink coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

The Dalai Lama and God…so I can see what kind of coffee they drink.

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.

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