A Look Inside BLK \ MRKT In Traverse City, Michigan

BLK MRKT Traverse City
The greatest joy of working in coffee is not having access to industrial grade equipment or even the incessant supply of free espresso. Instead, it’s the interesting people you meet, serve, and work alongside of. Few people have made an impression on me like my first manager, Chuck Korson. Chuck and I worked together at a since rebranded café which straddled the line between specialty and commercial. Besides teaching me everything I know about wine and sheep milk cheese, Chuck showed me how to pursue excellence while recognizing one’s constraints. This passion for quality and service has stuck with me. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I heard Chuck had finally realized his dream of opening his own coffee shop in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. I haven’t been able to visit BLK \ MRKT yet, but I did get the chance to ask Chuck a few questions about his shop. 
Many baristas dream of opening their own shop, how long have you been planning BLK \ MRKT?
It have been dreaming of my own shop for about 10 years, but the actual planning phase of the business took about a month, followed by an almost seven month build out.
The pictures we’ve seen look gorgeous. Did you work with a designer?
Thank you so much!  I’m glad the shop photographs well.  I think it is a pretty awesome space in person too.  I didn’t work with a designer on the space (I would not have been able to afford one even if I wanted too).  I did the layout and decorating myself, but had a ton of help putting it all together.  I worked with an amazing carpenter, Eric Liggett, that did all of my casework, counters, and table tops.  My dad and brother put in a ton of work to helping with the shelving and all the little details.  They also were instrumental in helping turn the shipping container the Spirit was sent in into the communal table in the shop.

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Sourced: A Short Film About Rio Jorco in Costa Rica

Rio Jorco Costa Rica

Whether it’s filming the inside of a coffee roaster or conducting freakish scientific experiments with a moka pot, Hungarian coffee filmographers Kávékalmár love to explore unchartered territory. Their latest and most ambitious project, Sourced, offers an in depth look at Hacienda Rio Jorco and its sister company the Rio Jorco Processing Plant.

Rio Jorco Cupping
Hacienda Rio Jorco is a coffee farm in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica that has belonged to the Alfaro family for three generations. Today, Hacienda Rio Jorco is raising the bar for coffee quality, employee compensation, and environmental impact. Sourced follows the coffee being picked, processed, and bagged to be shipped to overseas markets. Along the way we get both an intimate look at the lives of the laborers on the farm and breathtaking ariel shots captured with a drone (which provides plenty of enjoyment for the Alfaro brothers). We’ve long enjoyed coffees from Costa Rica. Gábor Laczkó and company have us wanting to buy an airline ticket and see it for ourselves.

SOURCED from Kavekalmar on Vimeo.

Take a Look at the Hartmann Family Farm in Panama

Hartmann family

This last holiday season we splurged and got ourselves a special Christmas present: the Hartmann Geisha Series from Calgary-based coffee roasters Phil & Sebastian. The special seasonal offer featured one coffee variety processed three different … [Continue reading]

Andrew Klass: Coffee Photographer

Processed with VSCOcam with q3 preset

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If Andrew Klass is taking the photos, you can add to that word count.  Klass's work in many ways embodies the core values of the craft coffee movement: precision, intentionality, and artistry. We … [Continue reading]

An American Barista in Tokyo

Cabell in Alley (1 of 1)

In April 2015, three of the biggest names in the US competitive latte art scene traveled to Japan to encounter one of the most dynamic and exciting coffee cultures in the world. We commissioned one of them, John Letoto, to chronicle his … [Continue reading]

Gear Review: Orphan Espresso Lido 2 Hand Grinder

Orphan Espresso Lido 2

The most important piece of brewing equipment you own is your grinder. As we've written elsewhere, there are many great reasons to invest in a hand grinder. If, like us, your life philosophy is "if you're going to get wet you might as well swim," … [Continue reading]