WTF Is Happening In This Oatly GIF

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Can someone please explain what is happening in this gif? Like, we know what it’s depicting: a 1-kilo container of Oatly original oak milk has a steam wand jammed in it, spewing foamy alternative milk everywhere. But what is happening here? The Sprudge team has been scratching their collective heads over the last half hour or so about it, thereby invoking our corporate Slack Rule: if it wastes more than 20 minutes of company time, we must write about it. So here we are.

The incredibly disturbing moving image came to our attention via the Twitter account of Kristina Jackson—creator of the Boston Intersectional Coffee Collective and Intelligentsia shift lead—with the appropriate caption: “WTF is this GIF?”

WTF indeed. Here’s what we know or think we know. Based on the bubbly mess, the foamin’ was foamin’ long before the start of the gif. We believe the machine to be a La Marzocco GB5. There was a bit of internal debate as to whether it was a GB5 or one of those older Nuova Simonelli, early-phase Aurelia-type espresso machines, but the metal attachment on the rounded base under the drip appears like it could say “La Marzocco,” and that’s exactly where it would appear on a GB5.

But what we don’t know—and really the most pressing questions of the day—is who and why? Wasn’t there an Oatly shortage? Who would be so cavalier with such a sought-after commodity? Is this coffee’s version of those beer bros who buy $100 bottles only to film themselves pouring them down the drain to righteously piss off other beer bros? The production quality of the gif is pretty good; is this perhaps a Wendy’s/Moonpie-esque #viral Twitter marketing strategy? “This ain’t your granny’s oat milk,” the ad says, before panning out and it’s actually your specific grandmother. Is this some sort of Infinite Jest-ian samizdat? We can’t stop watching it, so we think it might be. Is it Daniel G?

We don’t know, but we really, really need to. If you have any information about this truly befuddling gif, we implore you to contact us at 1-888-55-SPRUDGE. We must know more.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via Kristina Jackson

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Source: Coffee News

Adult Cafe Not What It Sounds Like

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Kids are the worst, am I right? Sure, my almost-two-year-old daughter is the light of my life, each day bringing me a new but exhausting joy, and I love her more than anything else in this world (myself included, a turn of events that even I didn’t see coming), but woof. Well, one new cafe in Ireland has put the kibosh on the kiddos; The Old Barracks Coffee Roastery and Coffeebar in Birdhill has a strict adults-only policy.

Opened in July, The Old Barracks is “the destination for coffee curious adults,” per their website. This means no kids, though the exact age limit does not appear to be posted anywhere online. I know a lot of 20- and 30-year-olds who are very much still children, but I imagine they meet the baseline criteria for entry. According to a press release, owner Alan Andrews’ idea is to “filter out the noise of children” in order for adult-aged patrons to enjoy the “relaxed atmosphere… and the engagement from the baristas on all things coffee.”

“People are just enjoying the space and enjoying their coffee in peace, without distraction from their kids – or other people’s kids. We’re really happy with the response,” Andrews states. And statistics seems to back up that sentiment. polled 11,000 people, with a whopping 74% saying they would take advantage of an adults-only cafe like The Old Barracks.

As the press release notes, there have been some negative reviews, calling the experience “pretentious” and “overpriced.” Some have even taken to Facebook and TripAdvisor to express their disappointment with being turned away at the door when they arrived with their children, presumably unaware of the quirky rule.

But the overall public seems to be taking to The Old Barracks, with ratings of 3.7 and 4.0 out of five on Facebook and TripAdvisor, respectively. For a better idea of what The Old Barracks is about (beyond just being kid-free), check out this 25-minute video of The Old Barracks’ Marketing Executive Rachel Leahy interviewing Andrews.

The real question remains: will The Old Barracks serve me, an ostensible adult, a babyccino? What about a babycano for when I’m already feeling a little foamy and bloaty and don’t need the extra milk? My ability to get either of these drastically affects my attendance. And whether or not the babysitter is available.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via The Old Barracks Coffee Roastery and Coffeebar

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Source: Coffee News

SAME CUP Is Diversifying Australia’s Coffee Scene

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Australia is widely known as the place for coffee—and if you weren’t aware already, the Melburnians will tell you so. As an American living amongst all this self-proclaimed greatness over the last year, credit where it’s due: the coffee here is consistently sweet and delicious (though I make better filter coffee at home). But when I walk into my neighborhood cafe, or any cafe in Melbourne for that matter, most of the baristas slinging shots are men. When attending cuppings, technical skill trainings, competitions, and panel discussions, they’re majorly attended and led by—you guessed it—men. I’ve had batch brew mansplained to me on multiple occasions.

In a world where equality and equity are increasingly taking precedence—an especially hot topic in the world of coffee—why does Australia look so behind? How does an entrenched dude-bruv masculine coffee culture work towards change? At least one new organization has made this their pointed focus heading into 2019 and beyond. World, meet SAME CUP.

With a focus on the Australian specialty coffee industry, SAME CUP “will provide an avenue for networking, personal and professional development, education and increasing the visibility and power of the WHOLE coffee community.” The goal is to not only support women, LGBTQI+, people of color, and other marginalized communities as baristas, but offer training and access to higher-level positions too. Founder and New South Wales Account Manager at Five Senses Coffee, Demelza Jones, pens on their website:

When we don’t diversify our employees at all levels we are missing out on the wealth of knowledge that these people possess and ultimately we are missing out on the ability to genuinely connect with a broader audience.

Not only that, but we can provide marginalised people an opportunity to look up to and be inspired by someone that looks/thinks like them—it’s a win/win.

Founder Demelza Jones (left) and Right-hand Woman, Shirin Demirdag.

SAME CUP also has big plans to bring the popular Cherry Roast competition created by Amethyst Coffee Co’s Elle Jenson to the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in 2019. Additionally, they’re raising money to help support future events, and potential corporate sponsors are encouraged to jump on board.

Earlier this year, Australia saw a women-focused event, Barista Connect, come down under during the week of MICE. I see that as a potentially historic event; now we’re seeing its success and intent start to ripple through Australia’s coffee scene, inspiring even more women and non-binary coffee pros take a chance and change the face of coffee here in Australia. If the end result means I taste a little less macho in my morning cup of joey, well, good on ya.

You can learn more about SAME CUP and find out all the ways you can support them on their fresh new website.

Michelle Johnson is a news contributor at Sprudge Media Network, and the founder and publisher of The Chocolate Barista. Read more Michelle Johnson on Sprudge.

Photos by SAME CUP.

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Source: Coffee News

Firm That Invested In Stumptown Now Has Minority Stake In Dutch Bros

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Dutch Bros Coffee, the largest privately held drive-thru coffee chain in America, has just secured funding from TSG Consumer Partners. According to the press release, the total amount paid by TSG remains undisclosed but does give the company a minority stake in the business.

For those in the coffee world, the name TSG Consumer Partners may ring a bell; the firm invested in Stumptown, the funding heard round the world that kicked off a string funding announcements and acquisitions from big name specialty coffee roasters. And now TSG has turned their sights to another Oregon coffee company: Dutch Bros. Per the press release, the Grants Pass-based chain boasts 300 locations across seven states, and with the help of TSG, the brand has plans to increase that number to 800 in the next five years.

In the statement, Dutch Bros cofounder and CEO Travis Boersma had this to say:

TSG understands the vision of Dutch Bros and values our unique company culture and dedication to our people, customers and local communities. We’re continuing to invest in our people first, helping those who are determined and hungry design their lives and live their dreams. We have set ambitious growth and expansion goals, and we trust TSG to help us build on this momentum in the most strategic way possible.

Along with Stumptown, Dutch Bros now joins other beverage companies in the TSG portfolio including: Pabst Blue Ribbon, SweetWater Brewing Company, Brewdog, Vitamin Water, Voss, and Duckhorn Vineyards.

The full statement from Dutch Bros Coffee can be found here.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via Dutch Bros Coffee

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Source: Coffee News

Cell Phones! Robots! Frozen Espresso! At Ada’s Discovery Cafe

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In the future—not long from now, surely—each and every telecom data replenishment node will sport a far-out high-end cyber modified coffee experience. But here in 2018 there is Ada’s Discovery Cafe, a first-of-its-kind high-flying collaboration between Seattle local indie Ada’s Technical Books and multinational telecommunications conglomerate AT&T, open now at Broadway and East Thomas.

It’s a match made in Seattle, or at least the Seattle of today, where rising rents and influx of new money tech culture make successful cafe/bookstore/event space/coworking hybrids like Ada’s so very important. Founded in 2010—roughly an eon ago in the Seattle time scheme—Ada’s is the work of Danielle and David Hulton, an enterprising couple with deep connections in the international informations security and cryptoanalysis scenes. David co-founded a leading information security conference, ToorCon, in 1998, and sold his company Pico Computing to a larger technology firm in 2015. Danielle is a Seattle Pacific University graduate in the field of electrical engineering and manages day to day for Ada’s growing team including bookstore, events, co-working, and cafe staff.

Those operations now include Ada’s Discovery Cafe, opened in late September a block from the iconic Broadway strip running north-south through the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Once synonymous with the city’s bohemian music scene and LGBTQ community, not to mention coffee culture, today it’s a neighborhood in flux, with construction everywhere and a rapidly changing social milieu. (Walking to the cafe I passed a gentleman in skin-tight neoprene gym clothes and wraparound sunglasses, hitting his Juul vape and checking his iPhone, balanced atop a Segway MiniPro just so.) The Hultons are ardent advocates for Capitol Hill: they’ve lived here for 15 years and owned a business there for around half that time. “We’re passionate about the neighborhood,” says Danielle, and they see the newly opened Discovery Cafe as a way to further serve it.

I asked Danielle Hulton how it happened in the first place, that Ada’s would come to partner with AT&T, and the story is something like a corporate meet-cute. “They contacted us out of the blue,” she tells me, “and at first our event coordinator met with them—he meets with everyone—but very quickly he realized this was something more.” From there Ada’s had the opportunity to pitch their vision to the team at AT&T, and they swung for the fences. “We pitched this really ambitious concept,” says Hulton, “with coffee robots, super high-end third wave coffee, and a focus on being approachable to customers using storytelling. It was a two-page pitch with a few pictures, and a month later they called us back and said yes.”

Ada’s co-founder Danielle Hulton.

The end result feels fresh, new, highly enterprising, and still very much in the early stages of determining the optimal outcome (as they say in tech, one imagines). The hybrid relationship—is this a cafe? is this an AT&T store? is it both?—was still very much in public beta during our visit, which meant being greeted semi-aggressively by a small team of AT&T staff upon entering the cafe’s east entrance, imploring us to sign up for an app and get a discount on the day’s coffee. The app itself requires multiple intrusive permissions and repeated opt-ins; it also controls multiple massive televisions displaying DirectTV (tuned to Food Network during our visit). The store does offer a hands-off locker program to access AT&T purchases, as well as a self-serve kiosk to purchase further products, so the greeter-led fancy AT&T store vibe is still very much being dialed in. “They’re still learning the neighborhood,” Danielle Hulton offers. “They just want it to be a relaxed space.”

But your coffee purchase—indeed, the totality of your coffee interaction—have not been AT&T app-ified, and it’s very much Ada’s own staff, own menu choices, and own expression of playful, geeky coffee culture on exhibit here at the pop-up. That’s the key compound word here, “pop-up,” as Discovery Cafe is officially a three-year commitment in which Ada’s has complete creative control over the bar space. “We control everything from here”—pointing to the bookshelf, stacked with titles by Ursula Le Guin, Roxane Gay, and Cordelia Fine—”to here,” says Danielle, gesturing to the end of the coffee bar. Over the next three years, one presumes that AT&T’s hopes the space, a kind of ur-millennial New Seattle tech denizen AT&T store on steroids (or rather, nootropics), can make waves and shift units on Capitol Hill. In the meantime, we’ve got a very ambitious little coffee bar to enjoy.

Overseeing the insertion order for said ambition is Cole McBride, the 2018 United States Barista Champion and a career competition barista. The Hulton’s relationship with McBride extends back the better part of a decade, when McBride—in a previous capacity with Seattle’s Visions Espresso coffee supply and consultancy—helped train and set-up the couple’s first coffee bar, at the Ada’s Technical Books flagship store (at 425 15th Ave E, a few blocks straight up the hill). At the new Ada’s Discovery Cafe McBride has been given what appears to be free reign to design a challenging, surprising, playfully geeky take on the coffee bar menu in 2018, chockablock with flourishes from frozen espressos to cocktail riffs like the “Cannon Iced Coffee” made with Scrappy’s lime bitters (an ode to Pacific Northwest coffee professional Mike Cannon) to a series of drinks brewed on co-founder David Hulton’s own line of KYOTOBOT robotic coffee brewers.

Cole McBride with KYOTOBOT.

Shots drop into frozen espresso cups.

That frozen espresso? With its Igloo cooler full of billowing dry ice? It works. Made on my visit with Verve Coffee‘s Ethiopia Sakara, the shot offers loads of warm-cold contrast upon first sip (expect an icy lip mark on your cup), melding into a lovely sort of melted chocolate orange thing for the back half of the shot. It’s the drink we tried at Ada’s I could most see myself coming back for, as a civilian coffee enjoyer, to drink for fun on future visits to the neighborhood.

“Cole taught David and I everything we know about coffee,” says Danielle, “and through the years we stayed in touch online and we’ve followed his journey. He’s a really great fit for the space and for what we’re trying to do for accessibility, and we’re excited and proud to have him onboard.”

There’s that word again—accessibility—and so I asked Hulton to help dial it in. The menu at Ada’s Discovery Cafe is a lot of things: exciting, challenging, unabashedly weird, and oddly reverent to the coffee styles of yesteryear, with options like dry and iced cappuccinos and shakeratos. But I’m not sure the word I’d use is “accessible“, or at least not in the same way as, say, the massive hulking Starbucks Reserve store a few blocks down the road, whose presence at five years in now looms over any other new coffee project on the Hill. I feel like David and Danielle Hulton understand the question well.

Ada’s co-founder David Hulton.

“Accessible, in this context, refers to our approach,” Danielle tells me. “We own a technical bookstore, you know, and we want that to be accessible, but we sell books about quantum mechanics! The idea is, this is something anyone can get into, and we will make it really friendly for you without being snobby, and the same thing extends to coffee. The whole point of our brand is to be curious.”

That’s all well and good, and this notion of democratizing specialty coffee for the curious is something we’re hearing more and more of from new cafes around the world. Snobbishness, it turns out, isn’t great for business. Making delicious coffee accessible, however, more assuredly is. Where frozen espressos and siphon robots fit into the equation, I’m not totally sure (quantum mechanics is not my field), but I do know that the menu at Ada’s is unabashedly fun, and frequently surprising, in a kind of “nerds take over the cafeteria” sort of way.

“In the last few days of this soft opening we’ve had executives come in here from AT&T, and they don’t know much about the coffee industry,” Danielle Hulton tells me, by way of example. “One of the executives ordered a latte, and she was just…blown away. I mean, she went out of her way to say it was the best latte she’d ever had. That’s just quality beans and quality milk. No extra flourish, just quality—and that’s cool for me. This space can introduce people who would maybe never go into a third wave shop for what coffee could be.”

“They see the value of what we’re doing as small brand trying to innovate in the coffee scene,” she continues candidly. “They could have easily partnered with someone like Starbucks or Tully’s.”

But they did not, in fact, partner with Tully’s or Starbucks, or any other multi-national coffee conglomerate. Instead, they partnered with Ada’s, a small business whose co-founders seem to be swaddling their new creation into the world like loving parents of a second child, with lots of lessons learned and hopes and dreams for the future and also some quite natural concerns. The interior design vibe, controlled entirely by AT&T, feels like what you’d find in the common room event space of a fancy new condo building. The TV’s are big and garish and have been widely derided by commenters in the local press. The footprint for books and magazines, while well-curated, is far too small—with all that space, and all that expertise from the team at Ada’s, it could easily be expanded to include more titles.

I guess I just want more Ada’s in the Ada’s Discovery Cafe experience at AT&T Lounge, but therein lies the devil’s bargain of big brand/small brand collaboration. It is rarely ever perfect, but it has the capacity to create experiences that get people talking and pique their fascination, and on that front the Ada’s + AT&T project has been a roaring success out the gate. People want to see and experience this thing for themselves, and in today’s ever-crowded new cafe market, that’s saying something.

And so for at least the next three years we get Ada’s Discovery Cafe, which means more dry ice espressos, more highball iced cappuccinos, more coffee cocktail riffs from morning ’til afternoon, and more from our new friend KYOTOBOT. Maybe this really is the future, in which enormous brands partner with tiny brands to help create a version of both for more people to enjoy. Perhaps we, as a society, can requisition further nodes of collaborative dispensation betwixt large corporations (with money and vision) and indie companies (with good ideas/delicious products/etc) so that exciting and interesting things have the backing and platform to capture popular imagination at scale. This is how a lot of great literature and film and music is made, after all—as a collaboration of art and industry.

More good ideas, more tasty coffee, more books, and maybe, you know, if you need it, some more GB for your data plan. This is… not capitalism, exactly, or at least not any sort of zero-sum straight-line version of it. But in 2018 it feels very much like Capitol Hill.

Ada’s Discovery Cafe is located at 800 E Thomas St, Seattle. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network, a contributor to Portland Monthly and Willamette Week, and co-author of The New Rules of Coffee. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge

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Source: Coffee News

Toby’s Estate Announces New Bushwick Cafe And Roasting Space

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Breaking news coming out of Brooklyn as Toby’s Estate has announced—and you’re hearing about it first here on Sprudge—a brand new cafe and roasting space to open later this fall in Bushwick. Their sixth location, the new space will operate alongside Toby’s original Williamsburg roastery, allowing the company to “double its roasting capacity while staying true to [their] small-batch philosophy,” per the brand.

Taking over 8 Wilson Avenue, the new cafe will feature a daily brunch menu full of items prepared at their in-house kitchen as well as pastries and grab-and-go items from local purveyors like Supermoon Bakehouse, Ovenly, and King Street Kitchen. Toby’s Bushwick will also serve as the flagship store for Salt Lake City’s Saint Anthony Industries—their first in New York City—who will be highlighting their manual brewers as part of the Toby’s pour-over bar.

When looking for this new space, co-owners Amber Jacobsen and Adam Boyd originally set out to find a larger location to replace their current roasting space, which they have since outgrown after six years. But when Jacobsen and Boyd found the spot on Wilson Avenue, they opted to change course and run two separate roasteries. Fit out with a restored 22-kilo Probat, Toby’s Bushwick will serve at the jumping off point for the new Toby’s Wholesale Partnership Program, “a new initiative that will provide wholesale partners with additional opportunities to tailor coffee programs to their individual needs,” according to a press release provided to Sprudge.

“Many of our partners want to be even more involved in their coffee program and take ownership of everything from flavor profiles to packaging design,” Boyd states. “They want to learn how to source, roast, and blend their coffees so that it becomes an extension of their own brand.”

“We see this program as a great collaborative opportunity for our partners and a way for them delve into this process while still retaining the services that we provide beyond coffee roasting, including equipment loans and servicing, education certification, and consistent quality sourcing,” Jacobsen adds.

In a time when every cafe wants to also be a roaster, it’s a smart move by Toby’s. With two roasters working discretely, Toby’s is able to continue roasting coffee to their own specifications for their six cafes while allowing wholesale accounts the opportunity to make the coffee they serve their own, something that couldn’t be done had Toby’s opted for one larger roaster instead of two medium-sized. It’s a gambit that allows wholesale accounts to have the uniqueness associating with roasting for oneself (without all the upfront equipment costs) while keeping them as wholesale accounts. And for the rest of us, it’s a new place to grab a little brekkie and some filter coffee. And that’s pretty nice too.

The new Toby’s Bushwick is located at 8 Wilson Avenue, Brooklyn. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via Toby’s Estate

Disclosure: Toby’s Estate is an advertising partner with the Sprudge Media Network.

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Source: Coffee News

Inside Everyday Coffee’s Maybe Pop-Up Maybe Permanent Melbourne Cafe

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everyday coffee melbourne australia

everyday coffee melbourne australia

What do you get when you cross an exhibition space, a print shop, a work shop, a book shop, and a coffee shop? Well, something that sounds like the set-up for a really terrible joke, but is actually a building filled with creatives and a buzzing coffee shop headed up by Everyday Coffee. Located on the corner of Queensberry Street and Lansdowne Place in the inner-northern suburb of Carlton (a short ten-minute walk from Melbourne’s city center), Everyday Coffee’s latest venue is a small and succinct coffee-shop-inside-a-shop.

In the years since opening their first location on Johnston Street, owners Mark Free and Aaron Maxwell have grown and developed Everyday Coffee in quite an organic way. They now roast their own coffee, have a Midtown store, and founded All Are Welcome with baker Boris Portnoy. Their new space was born out of a conversation with longtime customer Ziga Testen, who at the time was setting up a new studio on the ground floor at Queensberry Street; it’s a partnership between Testen, design studio Public Office, and Perimeter Books.

everyday coffee queensberry australia

Everyday Coffee Owners Mark Free and Aaron Maxwell

The design and feel of the space is comfortable, but quite minimal—wooden bar seating lines the front window, and a coffee workbench sits against the back wall. There’s a communal table, bench seating, and a small book display sitting next to a print workshop, which makes for some fascinating viewing.

Chatting to Free about their approach to design, he explains that Everyday wanted the new space to have an ad-hoc, work in progress feel. “Because it very much is one,” Free says. “The design came a little from us and our collaborators upstairs, and a little from our cabinetry and furniture makers Dale Holden and Adam Ascenzo.”

While it feels a bit wrong (and even a bit cliché) to call the space a “pop-up,” that’s ostensibly what it is for the time being—according to Free they could be here making coffee for a month, a year, or indefinitely.

“Everything is on wheels,” he says. “So we can roll out any time if the going gets tough.”

everyday coffee melbourne australia

For now, Everyday is cranking out espresso drinks with a black powder-coated La Marzocco Linea, and offering delectable pastries from All Are Welcome (and some neatly packaged chocolates from Hunted & Gathered).

“We were conscious that we were setting up between the two big universities,” Free says of the location. “So we made it a space where people can grab a quick takeaway but also meet up or work on a laptop or browse the books.”

everyday coffee melbourne australia

The atmosphere is reminiscent of Everyday’s Johnston Street store, and customers seem to feel at home in the space, setting up their laptops to work on projects and assignments, catching up with friends, or getting their re-usable cups filled before setting off on their way. It’s this approachable feeling that’s made Everyday such a staple within Melbourne’s specialty community—theirs is an ethos of belonging in every new location, with excellent coffee as a delightful extra perk.

Everyday Coffee is located at 225 Queensberry St, Carlton. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Eileen P. Kenny is a coffee professional, winemaker, and Sprudge Media Network contributor based in Melbourne. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

In Long Beach, Black Ring Coffee Bootstraps Its Way To Success

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black ring coffee long beach california

black ring coffee long beach california

In a city dense with specialty cafes, and in a field still mostly dominated by men, coffee roaster Juliette Simpkins and her partner, Trevor Moisen, opened Black Ring Coffee in Long Beach, California in the summer of 2017. It took them just shy of six years of work, planning, forming relationships, and learning. They opened with no outside funding.

Black Ring sits on a busy section of Long Beach Boulevard in the city’s northeast section, Virginia Village. The shop’s industrial design and dulcet vibe reflect its steady owner, who seems both unfazed by her newfound responsibilities and determined to will her cafe’s success.

She tells me she’s plenty fazed, that she gets very little sleep, and that she’s taken very few days off.

black ring coffee long beach california

Then again, six years ago Simpkins quit her job as a therapist for a mental hospital in nearby Orange County. “It was tough,” she says. “You’re seeing people at the worst parts of their lives. A lot of times you help them get better and then you see them back.”

Coffee offered an escape—”It makes me happy, and I was not happy working in that hospital”—so she moved to Long Beach and set out to learn roasting. Primarily self-taught, Simpkins’ journey started humbly. She purchased a Behmor roaster, watched YouTube videos, and read The Coffee Roaster’s Companion several times. A two-year physics degree helped, but there was an unfortunate incident involving a melted air popcorn popper along the way. Eventually, she took a roasting class with Boot Coffee and talked frequently with other roasters, sometimes roasting with them. “Now my roasting is an amalgam of everything I’ve ever learned from every roaster that I’ve roasted with,” she tells me. “I’ve tried their way and then kind of created my own way.”

black ring coffee long beach california

By late 2014, her roasting dialed in, she and Moisen started supplying MADE Millworks in Long Beach. The coffee’s popularity had them roasting around the clock during the holidays.  “We were taking sleeping shifts so that we could roast the coffee for all of the orders we got,” Simpkins says.

Simpkins borrowed roasting time from Heartbreak Coffee (now in Oxford, Mississippi) and rented time at Arcade Coffee Roasters in nearby Riverside. Soon, they were selling coffee to several homegrown retail shops, like Long Beach Creamery, which makes a signature coffee ice cream using Black Ring’s coffee.

A Black Ring shop was not a foregone conclusion. Long Beach has been in the throes of a massive revitalization, from its downtown corridor to its nether-reaches, and its specialty coffee scene is already getting crowded, with more than a dozen dedicated specialty shops by my count, not including multi-use cafes or large coffee chains. One of Black Ring’s baristas told me she’s opening her own cafe in downtown Long Beach, and Portola Coffee Lab, with six Orange County locations, is opening a new shop in Long Beach imminently.

In late 2016, Simpkins and Moisen identified an empty spot in north Long Beach, a 100-year-old storefront that had been vacant since 2004. It was once a courthouse, and also a jail. The city was anxious to have a tenant and north Long Beach had no specialty cafes.  Together they plunged into the unknown, and Black Ring Coffee was born.

black ring coffee long beach california

Black Ring Coffee is in elite company among Long Beach cafes in that it roasts its own coffee on premises. It lucked into a used Ambex YM10 from Augie’s Coffee, sliding just under restrictions that would have required air quality bureau approval. A BUNN grinds for FETCO-fueled batch brews and pour-overs. For its espresso drinks, Black Ring uses a Mahlkönig K30 and La Marzocco Linea Classic, the latter another hand-me-down purchased from nearby Steelhead Coffee.

First-rate equipment at second-hand prices. More bricks in this bootstrapped build-out.

Add them to those bricks adorning Black Ring’s interior walls. Simpkins, who designed Black Ring’s cafe, decided to expose that underlying bit of character in the century-old building to create a friendly, inviting spot that could also seat lots of people. It’s narrow, open design features a short countertop at the coffee bar and a thin, sturdy counter traversing the opposite wall, where customers can hang out as they drink the popular honey-oat latte (tasting notes: honey-nut cheerios).

The roaster is closed off in its own room. For now. Although Simpkins allows customers to watch, she typically roasts in solitude. When I come in one Sunday morning to watch, she is zoned in. It almost looks therapeutic.

black ring coffee long beach california

Food partners rotate. Simpkins prefers local Long Beach suppliers, like Colossus Bread, which has no permanent home, calling itself a “community-supported bakery.” She’s also fond of Rye Goods out of Tustin, California, a company that mills its own grains and has a certified commercial kitchen in a garage. Black Ring hosts art shows in the shop, with the showcase artist, bands, and food trucks, turning the venue into a community space.

All of these little black coffee rings, they leave their mark.

Black Ring Coffee is located at 5373 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Fritz Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Long Beach, CA. This is Fritz Nelson’s first feature for Sprudge Media Network. 

The post In Long Beach, Black Ring Coffee Bootstraps Its Way To Success appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Lavazza Acquires Coffee Division Of Mars Incorporated

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Wheel of acquisitions, turn turn turn. Reuters reports that Italian coffee company Lavazza has purchased Mars Drinks, the coffee arm of Mars Inc. Known more for their candy—M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles, Starburst, etc—Mars has agreed to sell their coffee businesses for a reported $650 million.

According to Reuters, Lavazza is hoping the purchase will increase their global presence, particularly in “office coffee service (OCS) and vending machine segments,” where Mars owned leading brands Flavia and Klinx systems.

“This acquisition strengthens Lavazza’s position in the OCS and vending segments, which offer considerable opportunities for growth and development,” said Antonio Baravalle, Lavazza CEO.

The purchase from Mars comes hot on the heels of Lavazza’s July acquisition of Blue Pod Coffee in Australia, a move that helped the Italian company eclipse 2 billion euros in revenue. The deal is expected to be in effect by the end of the year, with Lavazza acquiring “Mars’ coffee businesses in North America, Canada, Japan and in Europe, including its production plants in Britain and North America.”

Generally speaking, the newest acquisition has little effect on specialty coffee. Office coffee is still gonna be office coffee. You’re still going to need to bring your own coffee and AeroPress to your desk to get a halfway decent midday cup. The only real difference for you is that you’ll now be subject to whomever is pouring themselves a cup of office coffee—and undoubtedly loading it up with powdered creamer and artificial sweeteners—ranting about how the coffee used to be better.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

The post Lavazza Acquires Coffee Division Of Mars Incorporated appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Join Sprudge + Department Of Brewology To Fight Cancer In October

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Cancer sucks. A lot. And the fight against it makes allies of us all.

That’s why Department of Brewology and Sprudge are teaming up for the entire month of October to support cancer research. The “Make Coffee Stronger Than Cancer” campaign is an effort to activate the coffee community to raise awareness and charitable funds about an issue that not only deeply affects coffee professionals, but many loved ones around us all. No matter who you are reading this, cancer has touched your life in some way—and so let’s all stand up together and fight back.

How it works: We’re inviting any coffee-related business (or any business for that matter!) to join us in raising funds during the month of October for a cancer charity of their choice. Our recommended organization is the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, but you can raise funds for a local or national charity of your choice, based on what speaks to you and your community.

Fill out this brief form to let us know who you are and what organization you will be supporting, and we’ll keep a running list of partners and a link to their supported cause. Additionally, Department of Brewology has created a campaign poster that they will be providing the image of for supporting partners, who can display their involvement to their patrons. Sprudge + Brewology will be featuring participating cafes across our platforms over the month of October, so sign up, raise funds, and get featured!

We see this campaign as the latest extension of our bi-annual Night of 1000 Pours initiative, activating the coffee community for charitable good works. On behalf of everyone at Sprudge and Department of Brewology, we’re honored to continue efforts to use the coffee community as a force for philanthropy for issues that deeply affect us all, and appreciate your support on this journey.

—Sprudge Media Network + Department of Brewology

The post Join Sprudge + Department Of Brewology To Fight Cancer In October appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News