For many, video games are a way to relax at the end of a stressful day. Some are able to shut out the outside world and immerse themselves in an RPG adventure or an FPS kill streak. Not me. Gaming is stressful, thanks in no small part to my own controller-based ineptness (which one is the shoot button again? Am I crouching?) Sure, maybe you can relax by saving Pittsburgh from aliens or talking to spirits roaming inside a cafe, but that ain’t me. I need something much more… chill. And I think I’ve found it. Coffee Talk is a narrative game that “focuses on quiet conversations and good company.” Chill.
Coffee Talk takes place in “Alternative Seattle” and according to the article, the clientele includes orcs, elves, and humans, ranging from “intrepid journalists to star-crossed fantasy-race lovers.” A 13-minutes gameplay video shows the mostly-dialogue-based interactions with Freya, the intrepid journalist of note who is...
How often do you proudly display your empty coffee bags upon your fridge? If the answer is not often enough, you’re probably not buying coffee from Ann Arbor’s Stovetop Roasters. Each offering has its own whimsical drawing from illustrator Jared DeMeester (sea creatures, land mammals, third-place athletes, etc.) We think all coffee bags should be beautiful enough for the refrigerator, but until then folks like Stovetop Roasters are leading the way.
Tell us a bit about your company.
We are Stovetop Roasters, of Ann Arbor, MI. A bit about us and our beliefs: we care about the people who grow, serve, and drink our coffee. At Stovetop we believe great coffee builds quality relationships, and quality relationships inspire great coffee. We’re serious about design, sourcing, roasting, and brewing, but what excites us most is coffee’s great knack for bringing people together. It’s a conversational beverage, and we think that’s significant.
When did the coffee package design debut?
Our current design debuted in February of 2017. We print on a paper sleeve that hugs our stout bags, which allows each coffee to have its own personality.
Who designed the package?
Our design is all executed in-house by Jared DeMeester. Jared is an illustrator/designer,...
As it stands right now in California, all sales of roasted coffee are meant to come with a carcinogen warning because it contains acrylamide, a chemical that is a natural byproduct of the roasting process. For shops, this means posting some sort of signage stating coffee to contain carcinogens, and for roasters it means putting a cancer warning on their retail bags. This is due to a court ruling back in March where a judge ultimately decided that the coffee industry didn’t do enough to prove that the trace amounts of naturally occurring acrylamide aren’t toxic. It’s like innocent until proven guilty, but y’know, the exact opposite. As you might expect, this didn’t sit well with coffee companies in the Golden State, nor did it jibe with current research on the presence of the carcinogen in coffee.
But now, according to the New York Times, the State of California is intervening on the behalf of coffee (and general sanity). In a public hearing taking place today, August 16th in Sacramento, a government agency is proposing a new rule declaring that “not only does coffee pose no significant risk of cancer, it may actually have health benefits.”
The reason for the new rule is two-fold. One, there is a preponderance of evidence showing coffee to actually...
We love having repeat visiting to ye ole Build-Outs of Summer and that’s what we have going on today. Kind of. Spokane, Washington’s First Avenue Coffee is a sister company to Roast House, whose coffee kiosk inside My Fresh Basket we profiled a year ago almost exactly to the day. So let’s skip the rigamarole and jump straight to the good stuff, the lovely new First Avenue Coffee in Spokane, Washington.
As told to Sprudge by Aaron Jordan.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
First Avenue Coffee is a sister company to Roast House. Roast House values and sources only organic and ethically traded coffees from reputable and sustainable sources. Both locations are in the process of becoming Zero Waste and Green Certified.
Owner Deb Di Bernardo’s coffee education began while working for a local Spokane roaster. It was during this time that she started dreaming of a more sustainable and ethical model of coffee production...
Time now for the Build-Outs of Summer to once again hop the pond and head over to merry old England and check back in with Origin Coffee Roasters in Cornwall. If you’re having a bit of déjà vu, it’s because we’ve been here before, a little over three years ago, when Origin opened one of their two previous Cornwall cafes. In those three years, Origin has continued to rack up wins at UK Barista Championships, remaining one of the heavy favorites year in and year out.
For their new cafe, Origin will be setting up inside a Network Rail archway and serving breakfast, lunch, and all day brunch. In short, you can expect nothing but continued excellence from one of England’s premier coffee roasters. So let’s go check it out, shall we?
As told to Sprudge by Luke Caddel.
For those who aren’t familiar, will...
Slingshot Coffee is growing up. The Raleigh-based ready-to-drink cold brew and cascara maker founded by Brewers Cup-winning duo Jenny and Jonathan Bonchak have just moved into a brand new 13,000-square-foot facility. And to celebrate, Slingshot has announced the release of their new coffee soda.
Per the press release, the new coffee sodas will come in two flavors—Black Cherry Cola and Citrus Vanilla Cream Soda—and were “inspired by Jenny & Jonathan’s favorite fountain sodas.” Jenny Bonchak had this to say:Following in the tradition of Slingshot’s innovative approach to crafting the best-tasting cold brew products, our new Coffee Sodas reflect our modern twist on two classic soda flavors. And we’re thrilled to have our new Cold Brewery to help us add these incredible offerings to our lineup of award-winning Cold Brew products.
Each soda is sweetened only with real fruit juice and natural cane sugar, with an eight-ounce can only having 60 calories and 1/3 the sugar of a traditional soda. Cans of Slingshot’s new coffee sodas have an MSRP of $2.99 and will be rolling out through retail outlets in the Southwest throughout the month as well as debuting on the West coast.
Summer’s not over yet. There’s still time...
Did you know that coffee was first harvested sometime in the second century BCE? Did you also know that the first written instance of the word “barista” comes from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice? Or what about the fact that “spres,” the root of espresso literally translates in Italian to “spray?” If you were privy to all those factoids or knew from the jump that they were completely fabricated by my dumb brain (and best I can tell, most likely incorrect), then you may be just the sort of person that would kill it at Royal Coffee’s Coffee Trivia Night. Taking place at Oakland’s Awaken Coffee on Thursday, August 30th, it will be a night of coffee and coffee facts, and it’s all for a good cause.
Hosted by Royal Coffee’s Chris Kornman and Sandra Elisa-Loofbourow, Coffee Trivia Night will be a competition like no other. Sure, you can pour a 98-tier tulip in a thimble and maybe that would help you win a throwdown, but can you explain the fluid dynamics that make that pour possible? Because that’s what it’s going to take to win Coffee Trivia (well probably not that, because that’s really, really impossibly hard, but you see where I’m going here). Teams of up...
You may know Bentonville, Arkansas as the home of Wal-Mart, America’s real life Mega Lo Mart. Or if you are coffee-minded—which presumably you are—you may know B-ville as the home of Onyx Coffee Lab, the roaster/cafe that has taken the coffee competition world by storm the past few years. But Bentonville’s coffee conversation doesn’t start and stop with Onyx. And Airship Coffee would like to have a word.
Roasting on a 50-year-old Probat, Airship Coffee is looking to carve out their own corner of Northwest Arkansas by focusing on coffee and relationships. Having beer on tap certainly won’t hurt either. So let’s check in with the new kid on the block, Airship Coffee in Bentonville, Arkansas.
As told to Sprudge by Dakota Graff.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Airship Coffee started under a lime tree in Honduras, as farmers looked...
A new coffee brewing device is about to hit the market and it comes with a hefty price tag. From Salt Lake City’s Saint Anthony Industries—makers of coffee brewing tools like the Phoenix brewer and Filibuster dual wall glass decanter—comes the brand new Automatica. The cost? A cool $1,000.
Announced late last week via the company’s Instagram, the Automatica takes a decidedly manual approach to automatic brewing. It consists of a kettle sitting atop a pedestal that, once it has brought the water to temp, tips over gently toward a pour-over brewer and mug that is spinning slowly, mimicking a circular pouring pattern. From the Saint Anthony website:A machine for simple, precise, push button coffee brewing. It’s your easiest path to a world class cup of filter coffee. Simply fill water, add coffee, push the button, then walk away or enjoy the show. Once the kettle reaches a boil, the Automatica’s human like brain uses a seismic algorithm to flawlessly execute the perfect pour while controlling volume, flow-rate, and total time.
While not yet in production, the Automatica is available for pre-order on the Saint Anthony Industries website for $1,000, though only a $200 fully refundable...
Now that all the Rushes have been Crushed (well, almost. Denver still has a Rush to Crush August 14th), what’s there left to do but to listlessly run out the clock on the summer doldrums, right? WRONG! Europe’s raucous good time The Barista League is coming to America at the end of August! For the first time ever, the Scandi-lous coffee competition is crossing the Atlantic and will be making landfall in Portland on its way through a four-stop coast-to-coast tour.
Taking place over two weeks, The Barista League is a face-paced contest where teams of two baristas compete in three different skills challenges—barista skills, sensory skills, and a mystery round—for coffee dominance. To decide the winners and losers, VIP judges will be on hand at each event, and these VIPs know competition. We’re talking multiple USBC Champions (Laila Ghambari, Cole McBride, Kyle Ramage, Lem Butler), a multi-time Chinese Barista Champion (Jeremy Zhang), a Coffee Masters New York Champion (Erika Vonie), and a World Barista Champion (Pete Licata).
The murderer’s row of judges is intimidating enough, nevermind the multiple US Barista and Brewers Cup Champions (Andrea Allen, Dylan Siemens, Jenna Gotthelf) and a 2018 USBC finalist (Sam Neely) competing. Sorry about...
Tucked away in the small mountain town of Pinedale, Wyoming you’ll find Pine Coffee Supply, a little coffee bar with a growing reputation. Open since summer 2017, the shop has already garnered national attention—Food & Wine Magazine called it the best coffee in Wyoming in March of 2018. Roasting happens in house, and a lot more besides—this place is a fascinating and beautiful expression of coffee culture set at the foot of the Wind River Mountains.
Sat on a corner lot on the city’s main street, Pine Coffee occupies a former mechanic shop. An extensive remodel was undertaken by shop founders Jim and Cody Hamilton, a father and son duo with deep Wyoming roots, which included hand-built pine furniture, benches, and accents. They kept the original garage door and leave it open on warm summer days opening up their bar to a patio. Their front room wall is adorned with a hand stenciled mural of all things coffee, while further back in the shop, you’ll find a cozy couch in front a fireplace and around the corner a huge pine community table and space...
In July, Intelligentsia teamed up with Root Capital to put on the first-ever ECWx, an offshoot of the coffee company’s Extraordinary Coffee Workshop (ECW). Longtime readers of Sprudge may recognize that acronym; the weeklong “signature innovation” of Intelligentsia’s Direct Trade takes place yearly in producing countries all around the world, and we have been covering it since 2011. ECWx, the TEDx to ECW’s TED, as Intelligentsia’s Michael Sheridan calls it in his most recent blog post, took place in Nariño, Colombia and focused on issues relevant to local smallholder farmers with a “deep-dive on all things Colombian.”
Now in its 10th year, ECW wanted to do something a little different in scope, something smaller. Thus, ECWx was born. According to the Sheridan’s post, “ECWx was created explicitly and exclusively for smallholder coffee farmers.”We believe specialty coffee’s clearest path to improving social impact at origin is through the inclusion of the coffee chain’s two most marginalized groups of participants: smallholder farmers and coffee farmworkers. Contributing to greater participation and profitability among smallholder farmers, and...
Boone, North Carolina, named for pioneer Daniel Boone, is like a smaller version of nearby Asheville, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains. Here, the focus of nearly every business is local and sustainable. Boone’s population is mostly students of Appalachian State University, and also includes some seasonal and year-round residents, all of whom lend the area a distinct funkiness.
Every college town needs a coffee roaster to caffeinate its masses, but Hatchet isn’t exactly what you’d expect. Located in an unassuming warehouse on the way to Rocky Knob Park, Hatchet shares space with Center 45, an indoor climbing gym. This is just one indicator of what type of customers Hatchet serves: lovers of adventure.
Opened by friends Jeremy Bollman and Jeremy Parnell nearly two years ago, Hatchet’s menu is both expansive, with options like nitro cold brew, and approachable. Every drink is $4 and under.
The coffee supply chain is something many people in specialty think about and interact with on a regular basis. But it isn’t necessarily something those outside of coffee have really given much thought to. For all they know, coffee starts over there and ends up over here and everyone is paid fairly along the way (that’s why coffee is so expensive nowadays, right?). As many start to think more globally, though, an interest in the coffee supply chain—and its impact on everyone involved—is coming more into focus for those who want to know where their food comes from. That’s why World Affairs is hosting CONNECT with COFFEE later this month in San Francisco. Featuring Equator Coffees & Teas Director of Coffee Ted Stachura, CONNECT with COFFEE will break down the coffee supply chain and ways consumers can have a positive impact on those producing their favorite beverage.
Taking place Friday, August 24th at the World Affairs Auditorium, CONNECT with COFFEE is just one of over 100 yearly events put on by World Affairs, a non-profit organization that brings together “thought leaders, changemakers, and engaged citizens to share ideas, learn from each other, and effect change through in-person experiences,” per Julia Levin, World Affairs’ Program Officer. Past speakers have included, authors, filmmakers, and former US ambassadors Mike McFaul and...
Stop me if you’ve heard us say this before, but good coffee can be found anywhere nowadays. In 2018, places like Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Portland have thriving coffee scenes sure, but that’s not the full story anymore, not even by a long shot. Now there’s just as much excitement around a new cafe in a city of 50,000 as there is a city with a few more zeros tacked on to the population. And our next stop is one of the former.
Mural City Coffee Company is the newest edition to a revitalizing downtown Dothan, Alabama, population: 60,000. They are setting up shop (and home) in the nearly century-old three-story building, where they are hoping to become a community gathering space for customers of all ilk. Good coffee, a community library, and an old freight elevator, Mural City Coffee wants to be Dothan’s home away from home… but also the owner’s home not away from home.
As told to Sprudge by Destiny Hosmer.
For those who...
Internationally speaking, the Iranian coffee community has fallen on some hard luck. When the Specialty Coffee Associations of America and Europe joined forces under the singular SCA banner, the global group became an IRC 501(c )(6) organized under the laws of California as a mutual benefit corporation. That means the now unified international association is subject to all applicable United States sanctions—including those currently in place against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This has had the unintended result of isolating the burgeoning Iranian specialty coffee community from the rest of the coffee world. We have heard stories about trainers in Iran as well as barista certification attendees losing access (and registration fees) mid-session. And with new sanctions being passed down just with week by the Trump administration, relations between the two countries grows icier.
But locally, the Iranian coffee scene remains as vibrant as ever. For proof, look no further than the second annual Iran International Coffee Festival, taking place in Tehran August 19th through 22nd. After a wildly successful inaugural event last year, the second Iran Coffee Festival is shaping up to be bigger and better in year two.
Taking place at Goftogo Park, this year’s event is certainly keeping with...
It’s an exciting time for the specialty coffee community in Lisbon. While still rather intimate, the movement toward quality keeps growing as familiar faces, such as Copenhagen Coffee Lab and Fábrica Coffee Roasters, as well as new initiatives expand. Olisipo, a roastery in the Ajuda neighborhood, is next in line for the city.
“Coffee is a connector of people and is therefore about relationships, which are built on trust,” says owner Anthony Watson, who alongside his partner, Sofia Gonçalves, intend to involve members of the local community as much as possible in the establishment of their space.
“We value our role in the community as a local roastery,” Watson continues. “And believe it is very important to build good relationships with our neighbors, but also within the growing specialty coffee movement in this vibrant city.”
Coffee is an energy drink, this much we can say for sure, but it’s not really the sort of beverage people think of when they hear the words “energy drink.” Red Bull, Monster, and regrettably, Four Loko all come to mind first. But there’s a new energy drink now on Kickstarter that is looking to take a more plant-based approach rev up your engine. It’s called Nomad Energy and it’s made with cascara.
And not just any cascara. According to Forbes, Nomad Energy chose to use coffee fruit from the famed Finca Las Lajas micromill in Central Valley, Costa Rica (featured here on Sprudge), perhaps best known as the first Costa Rican producer to use the natural processing method. Though they have other cascara-based products, Max Keilson and Jon Esptein—owners of Nomad Trading Co, the makers of Nomad Energy—are hoping to challenge Red Bull in the energy drink market by offering consumers a natural, plant-based alternative that lacks “the sugar-crashes and jitters that accompany the energy-boost of most mainstream energy drinks.” Along with cascara, Nomad Energy only contains water, lemon juice, maple syrup, Himalayan pink sea salt, and a little carbon dioxide for effervescence, all while still packing a...
Whither the multiroaster?
That paragon of speciality coffee retail models, once so in vogue, has been struck a major blow today as Go Get Em Tiger—the fast-expanding coffee bar brand from Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski—have announced the upcoming launch of their own coffee roasting brand. After five years spent championing the multiroaster model, GGET’s own brand of coffee will become the exclusive offering served at GGET cafes across Southern California—a transition that happens “next week,” according to Kyle Glanville. The duo also own G&B Coffee, a coffee bar in the downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market.
The brand’s roaster expansion dovetails with a successful round of private micro-investment and the acquisition of a new brand headquarters, a sprawling 16,000-square-foot building containing a production HQ and offices in Vernon, a neighboring industrial city just south of the LA Arts District.
After five years in business helping grow and innovate the Los Angeles coffee scene, some jitters today should be expected. “Aside from it being nerve-wracking, I think this all feels like the validation of a process that we’ve really tried to honor,” Glanville tells Sprudge. “We feel nervous because we’ve truly put so much time into learning how to be good at this, and teaching ourselves for the first time what our...
The charms of a small town are often the siren song for urbanites looking for a little change of pace. Especially if those urbanites are looking to raise a family. But instead of pulling the out-of-towners straight into the rocks, it may just pull them into a coffee desert, a place where no specialty coffee shops have yet to put up stakes. And this is the story arc Ryan and Stephanie Baughn found themselves in when they and their four sons moving from Seattle, Washington to Stoughton, Wisconsin.
Coming from a world-class coffee city, the Stoughtons did what any reasonable person would have done: start a coffee shop of their own. At the urging of friends and family, they fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened Wildwood Coffee. With an eye for design and good coffee, the Stoughtons DIY’ed their way into a lovely space, complete with a fully customized La Marzocco Linea/Strada Frankenspresso machine. It’s definitely a family affair at Wildwood. Thankfully, they have four baristas in training.