On January 17-19, the best baristas on the entire East Coast descended on Durham, NC for the 2014 Big Eastern Barista Competition. Official online media sponsors Sprudge had the coverage locked down, but that didn’t stop us from snapping a bunch of pictures between downing shots of espresso brewed by …
Like James Hoffmann recently wrote, we’re going to assume you follow Dear Coffee, I Love You. If you don’t, you’re seriously missing out. Behind the groundbreaking blog is Brian Jones, a graphic designer and international man of mystery with a portfolio as impressive as his beard. In our exclusive interview we ask Brian how he got started, what inspires him, and, of course, what’s in his mug.
You’re the editor of one of the most prominent specialty coffee websites. What motivated you to start Dear Coffee I Love You (DCILY)?
I started DCILY (Dear Coffee I Love You) with the intention of sharing cool coffee related stuff that I began discovering more frequently online and in my travels around the world. It was also an outlet for me to share info about coffee with friends and family who had thought I was going crazy over coffee quality and trying to find increasingly better coffee. When I launched the site, I also noticed a lack of design on many of the other coffee sites I had come across. So being a designer myself, I made that a prominent focus of my content. In the last 4 years, the quality of design in the specialty coffee industry has improved dramatically, not just in branding but even products and café design. It’s a big win for everyone.
One of the many reasons your blog is so memorable is the clever title. How did you land on “Dear Coffee, I love You”? Were there other working titles you almost used?
Before the website was launched, I planned on …
Some might say that design, aesthetics, and creativity typify the specialty coffee industry. This caffeinated cultural zeitgeist has pushed creatives and craftsman in similar niches to partner with coffee industry professionals far and wide. Coffee intersects with cycling culture, craft beer, craft chocolate, and artisanal apron making, to name a few. Bradley Mountain’s collaboration with 33Books on the Coffee Tennyson notebook is one such craft artifact for the coffee lover in your life.
Coffee City USA
Grand Rapids, Michigan is home to some of the greatest brews in the country. “Beer City USA” may be its reigning title, but Madcap Coffee gives the city another brew to take pride in. Madcap Coffee Company, established only five years ago, has produced nationally-acclaimed barista competitors, a cavalier coffee series, and truly proven they are madcap about coffee….
Nostalgia in a Cup
The coffee shop holds a nostalgic piece of my heart as the place where I first experienced many cultural aspects of the city of Louisville. Like so many college students, I discovered the cafe environ as a place of respite, a cultural mainstay where society has no real expectations. A person can simply “be” in a cafe. I appropriated many cafes as study halls, although Quills Coffee stood out as one great oasis in a concrete desert of no-loitering zones. A few blocks from my house meant it could provide me caffeine and wifi for study sessions. It also provided a location for the romantic notion of meeting someone through some inexplicable fate. One should be young and dream.
Quills Coffee and Books
That cafe where I spent so many hours was closed …
Lugging a myriad of coffee apparatuses with me to work raises quite a few eyebrows. Generally my coworkers find it all rather customary for brewing until they see my coffee scale. Introduce a scale into your brew ensemble and you might as well have rolled up with Jesse Pinkman and a 5000mL round bottom boiling flask.
Here are 5 reasons to bear the ignominy….
If you ask my wife about traveling with me, she’ll tell you that while I enjoy seeing new places, my ultimate motive during road trips becomes the search for a great coffee shop. When you find yourself in a new place, it comforts me to know that craft coffee is there, if you search it out. Boxcar Coffee in Boulder, CO, is one such place that any weary oxygen-deprived traveler can go to sit, sip, and take in the literal breath-taking views of the Rocky Mountains.
Roasting miles above the rest
Boxcar Coffee Roasters’ Pearl Street location in Boulder, CO was opened in September 2011 by Cara and Vajra Rich. Vajra, who roasts the coffee along with Janos Porps, learned much of his roasting from Paul Songer, Head Judge and technical director for Cup of Excellence, who’s office resides in the same building as Boxcar in Boulder. The staff serving up my drinks had impressive backgrounds, including …
The Coffee Compass exists to help you navigate the world of craft coffee. It just so happens that we live in Louisville, the home of the Kentucky Derby. If you’re in town for the Run for the Roses this year, we have a trifecta of coffee shops for you to visit, all surprisingly close to Churchill Downs.
Sunergos Coffee Espresso Bar and Roastery – Woodlawn
We love Sunergos. The business made its debut back in 2004 with the opening of its Preston location near UofL and now in 2013 has three Louisville locations. Their location closest to Churchill Downs, Sunergos Woodlawn, is nestled just south of the Watterson Expressway on a small business strip between 3rd street and Southern parkway. The shop is the main roasting headquarters and showcases what Sunergos is all about:
Throughout the life of Sunergos we have enjoyed participating in a diverse community of people who regularly come together around coffee. Out of the fabric of this daily coffee community, people have emerged to join us in our work, enriching and being enriched through working together. The work of Sunergos continues to grow as each person engages their craft, from the roastery to the espresso bar. – www.sunergoscoffee.com
The shop has a paddle-group La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, two Kompaq K10 grinders boasting one blend and one single origin espresso, manual pour-overs (Chemex or V60), and has two rotating Sunergos coffees on their Fetco automated drip brewer. There is plenty of seating and depending on how far away you park for Derby events, might just be within walking distance!…
The diversity of coffee gear is vast and entices a certain discontentment among coffee aficionados. This pining for the latest brew device begins as a peaked interest in a friend’s home coffee setup and progresses to symptoms of unceasing blog surfing, café hopping, and in extreme cases, visiting a coffee trade show. You might find that coffee junkie persona coming from your folks here at the Coffee Compass, but we find ways to satisfy the hunger through novel and innovative brewing techniques.
Enter the VChemSexy.
Cabell Tice shocked the competitive latte art world when he won the Latte Art World Championship Open at CoffeeFest, NYC as a first time competitor. We sat down (digitally) with the reigning champ and asked him a few questions about latte art, being a barista, and where to drink coffee in Bean Town.