Last Week’s Winners And Losers In Coffee

Last Week’s Winners And Losers In Coffee


We’re having fun here playing with the weekend links format, while continuing to present original art by Ben Blake of Draw Coffee fame. This weekend, in the spirit of TV Guide’s long-suffering “Cheers & Jeers” feature, we’re presenting the winners and losers from the last week in coffee.

This week’s art is vintage Ben Blake, paying homage to his homeland, Buckeye State. Ohio’s kind residents are always winners in our book, and the coffee scene in Columbus, OH is particularly exciting right now, and deserving of natural attention. The state’s professional sports teams, however…

Winner: 731 Photo Illustration

We have no idea who 731 is, but we do know they’re responsible for this outrageous graphic attending this recent Bloomberg Businessweek feature on Starbucks buying a farm in Costa Rica. Gaze on at 731’s photo illustration glory:


This is a real thing that got published on Bloomberg. Other work in 731’s ouevere includes this photo illustration of Yahoo CEO walking on water, surrounded by doves, and this deeply American photocollage of donkeys, elephants, and luxury automobiles. Are they for real? Are they trolling? Whoocs, but there’s one thing we know for sure: 731 are winning the mainstream surrealist imagery journalism game.

Loser: The French Press

The poor, humble French Press had a rough week, getting bounced unceremoniously from its longstanding go-to status at Stumptown cafes around Portland. One place you’re also unlikely to see the French Press is at next weekend’s Brewers Cup Competition in Los Angeles, part of the impending Big Western festivities that we’ll be running ourselves ragged to cover properly over the next week. The French press has never been less popular for considered coffee service. But has its moment completely passed? Will someone bring it back in vogue? Perhaps its due for an ironic resurgence, like the cassette tape.

Winner: This Particular French Press

Check out the gorgeous La Cafetiere Lexi Bone China Cafetiere, designed by Allison Appleton. Equal parts press pot and art piece, this bone china dandy would look right at home at Downton Abbey (upstairs, of course). Let’s oogle it together.



We found this beauty while goofing around on the Seattle Coffee Gear website. Order one for yourself here.  

Loser: Dumb Starbucks 

A slow news week and the worst instincts of Los Angeles food blogging culture conspired together to create a media dog pile of “Puppy Bowl” proportions last week, all centered around a short-lived TV PR stunt called ‘Dumb Starbucks’. The cafe appeared out of nowhere in a Los Feliz strip mall, and was gone nearly as quickly as it appeared. But that didn’t stop some of journalism’s most hallowed shops from diving in face-first to the scrum (today’s 750 word New Yorker think piece borders on self-parody).


FWIW, we’re proud that Julie Wolfson’s coverage of the Dumb Starbucks hoopla very clearly called the whole thing dumb to its face. We aren’t the New Yorker – there’s no Mercedes ads on Sprudge yet – but Julie’s feature got it right where other’s didn’t. Here’s an excerpt:

Personally, I think it’s pretty “dumb” to make fun of Starbucks–after all, many of us drank our first cappuccino or latte or triple frappuccino thingy at a Starbucks. Let’s also remember that Starbucks employs more people than any of our wonderful little third-wave roasters could ever hope to in this economy. So how fun would it be if at the end of this “joke”, it all added up to something significant about job creation and the economy, maybe even about those issues for coffee farmers and not just for consumers? Or some other actually productive reason to have put this whole project together?

Don’t get me wrong, I laughed my sides off at the recent Starbucks SNL sketch–it’s funny that the machine talks and gets everyone’s names wrong and all–but calling Starbucks dumb seems pretty simplistic and kind of… dumb. Right?

Winner: Spokane’s Shirtless All-Male Coffee Stand 

Scantily clad barista culture has had a big last week or so, thanks to this feature from Lindy West over at Jezebel, but nothing could prepare us for the news that broke on February 11th. The Spokesman Review reports that this weekend is grand opening of Hot Cup Of Joe, an all-male drive-thru coffee service experience. The Spokesman Review’s article is gold, basically, with quotes like “We’re not going to be wearing thongs…There’s not going to be any implied nudity.” Hot Cup Of Joe owner Chris Mullins tells the Spokesman, “Most of the customers that come here anyway are women. Really I haven’t had a lot of male reaction.”

Not a lot of male reaction, huh? Let us proffer one:

Awooga, awooga! Hubba hubba. Yowza! (*pants like a dog*) Woof! Woof! And other assorted Tex Avery wolf reactions. 


Loser: A Schmuck In Philadelphia

We almost pulled the trigger on the first Schmuck Of The Week article of 2014, detailing the horrible story of William Houser  and his alleged role in a coffee-scalding incident at a Dunkin’ Donuts. The whole horrible scene was captured on film – from multiple angles! – by Dunkin’ Donuts security cameras, and is detailed here by NBC Philadelphia. 

Winner: Sprudge Readers and Coffee Enthusiasts In Houston

We’ll soon be announcing a huge events weekend in Houston, happening at the end of this month. Stay tuned Monday for more details.




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