A Coffee Drinker’s Guide To Western Massachusetts

By Coffee, News

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Western Massachusetts is, generally speaking, the bucolic chunk of land lying west of Worcester County—an area containing the Berkshires, the Connecticut River Valley, and the city of Springfield. Here we have The Basketball Hall of Fame. We have mountains that would be hills in any other state. We have old mill buildings converted into bookstores, artist studios, and breweries. Interstate 91 cuts through our modest region, carrying travelers south to New Haven and New York, north to Burlington and Montreal. Leaf-peepers stop over en route to Vermont’s fall foliage, parents pack into hotels at graduation time, and Trump voters and Bernie die-hards avoid eye contact in the Stop N Shop parking lot. The towns are small, the farmland hugs the houses, and the river wraps up this pretty land with its rich history of classic New England Colonialism, crop cultivation, and, of course, college students. This area has long been home to craft beer, gorgeous produce, and handmade everything—but in recent years good coffee has sprung up like the ever-present cornstalks that in winter here, peek out like stubble from fluctuating layers of snow. Here are some of Western Mass coffee’s very best.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Share Coffee Roasters

The Share Coffee roastery rolls up its door weekdays at 8:00am, as commuters thread along Route 9—a stretch of chain stores bisecting the farming town of Hadley, Massachusetts. Inside, owner Ken Majka can be found Mondays and Thursdays roasting coffee on his 60-year-old Probat. The coffee is roasted, bagged, and shipped out the same day to wholesale accounts and weekly subscribers, and delivered to his two cafes in neighboring Amherst and Northampton. Share prioritizes seasonality in its coffee, and changes the components of its two blends—Daily Driver and Pickup Espresso—often, maintaining a consistent flavor profile. Their single-origins are divided into Comfort and Adventure categories—a way to guide customers towards a coffee that will align with their tastes.  

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Behind a single table and thin counter, the whole operation is laid out for locals who trickle in to buy beans, ask coffee questions, and possibly taste something just roasted and not yet in the rotation. It is common to be the only one there, and Majka is happy to pull shots on his Kees van der Westen Mirage while launching information across the counter about his retrofitted Probat, his newest coffee, or his partnerships with local breweries. He is enormously passionate, and very educated, and it’s easy to be spat back into the parking lot head spinning.

Share Coffee Roasters is located at 220 Russell St #201, Hadley. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Circuit Coffee

Circuit Coffee sits at the edge of Westfield’s main square, and has the shiny, particular feeling of a cafe that just opened its doors. Customers sit on couches and at repurposed wire-spool tables—seeming right at home. Behind a Kees van der Westen Spirit, owner Ted Dobek pours maple lattes, his most popular drink. When customers order caramel lattes, accustomed to Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks—the only other coffee options in town—Dobek steers them gently towards his version, made with local maple syrup, local milk, and Share Coffee’s Pickup Espresso. Parts of the interior are also local—the bar and countertop’s thick maple was salvaged from a bowling alley next door.

Dobek is 25, recently married, and lives in the apartment upstairs. He spent a few years after graduating from Westfield State working in different coffee shops—including Share—dreaming up a way to bring good coffee to his area. With his background in graphic design he created the logo and drew plans for the interior himself, and with build-out help from family and friends, and a successful Kickstarter campaign, opened Circuit Coffee this past September. “I wanted to make sure a coffee shop wasn’t just what I talked about doing. I was working a job I hated and I didn’t want to say, ‘I wish I had opened a coffee shop.’”

Circuit Coffee is located at 22 Elm St, Westfield. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Tunnel City Coffee

After encountering the colossus that is MASS MoCA—our country’s largest contemporary art museum—it is easy to stumble past Tunnel City Coffee and instead find solace at Bright Ideas Brewing, also contained within the many outbuildings of this former mill’s campus, some of which hold even more art. But venturing inside Tunnel City provides a gentle anecdote to James Turrell’s lightworks, which are both beautiful and exhausting. Here they have soft lighting, light and dark roast options, and the quiet space to decompress.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Tunnel City roasts its own coffee in yet another converted mill nearby, this town once full of water-born industry, which they pay homage to in their name—a reference to the nearby Hoosac Tunnel. The construction of this four-mile tunnel—at its completion in 1875 the longest in North America—killed about 200 workers and created a vital economic link between Albany and points to the west. Their espresso blend, Number 50, is named after the first train to travel through the tunnel. They also have a single-origin espresso available, today a Brazil Peaberry Fazenda Guariroba, pulled on their shiny La Marzocco Strada. Outside the window is Natalie Jeremijenko’s Tree Logic, in which six live trees grow suspended upside down, and if you venture a look up at the ceiling, pipes can be seen leftover from this building’s industrial use—long before the coffee break was invented.

Tunnel City Coffee is located at 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

No. Six Depot

Inside No. Six Depot Roastery and Cafe, architectural lamps hover above thick wooden tables, where co-owner Lisa Landry attends the bar, topped with a Victoria Arduino Athena Leva. In the back, her husband Flavio Lichtenthal may be standing watch at the roaster. He worked as a chef and journalist before landing in coffee. They will soon release a line of “Campesina” coffee from women-owned cooperatives—building on their longtime use of Ethiopia Amaro Gayo by Ethiopia’s first female exporter, Asnakech Thomas.

Landry and Lichtenthal spent years talking about starting a roastery before finding a space, “that we could make a bigger dent in, spread out, do what we wanted,” says Landry. With her background in art, branding, and journalism, this meant dedicating the largest room to space for a gallery. With its white walls, farm-blue floors, and extravagantly paned windows, this space retains the elegance of its original use as a train station—built in the 1830s when marble was being exported from a nearby quarry.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

“We, at first, wanted to be strictly coffee roasters; but Flavio is Argentine and I lived in Italy for years and the idea of coffee separated from community and culture was impossible for us to envision,” says Landry. They incorporate the community as thoroughly as possible, holding events all winter in appreciation of the locals—the backbone of this region whose population quadruples come summer.

No. Six Depot is located at 6 Depot St., West Stockbridge. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Iconica Social Club

The front door at Iconica opens directly onto the bar where owners Em Withenbury and Fitzpatrick Mulvaney are usually stationed—serving Ritual Coffee on their La Marzocco GB5 and Swings Coffee on their rotating pour-over bar. With no batch brew available, this place is set at a sluggish pace, and as customers wait for their drinks they often explore the elaborately decorated space. Withenbury and Mulvaney spent two years renovating it themselves, filling it with family heirlooms and flea market finds. They have thought everything out to the very last detail—from the screen-printed hand towels in the bathrooms to the Depression-era glassware, and a sign painted on the brick wall that politely implies the use of space, pointing customers to a lo-fi area in the back, and a Wi-Fi area upstairs. The Wi-Fi area is set up like a library—complete with map wallpaper, dark-stained siding, sturdy desk lamps, and bookshelves lined with thick tomes and back issues of National Geographic. The “low-fi” area has industrial tables, chairs that swing on metal brackets, a small stage, and a wood burning fireplace that Mulvaney feeds every so often—squeezing past customers sipping coffee on well-worn couches.

western massachusetts coffee guide oona robertson

Customers come for the coffee, cold-pressed juice and almond milk, and pastries baked in-house, but at its heart, Iconica is trying for something bigger. “In creating it as social club, community was at the forefront to what we are thinking about,” says Withenbury, “and we wanted to create a space where everyone felt like they could come in and engage on a lot of different levels.” This may mean stopping by for a movie night, attending a free weekly cupping, sitting in the public parklet outside, playing with the antique machines that sit like paperweights on every table, or picking up one of the books strewn about as if the reader is just up getting a refill.

Iconica Social Club is located at 1 Amber Ln., Northampton. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

Oona Robertson is a freelance journalist. This is Oona Robertson’s first feature for Sprudge Media Network.

All photos by Haley Carchio except Tunnel City images courtesy Tunnel City.

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Source: Coffee News

NXT LVL Joins Michelle Johnson’s Black Coffee Event On April 24th

By Coffee, News

BLACK COFFEE, the new event from creative director Michelle Johnson, debuts in Portland, Oregon on April 24th. This live podcast event draws from the coffee industry’s deep pool of Black intellectual and industry leadership, for a lively two-hour original block of programming presented in a theater format. Tickets are on sale now, and listeners worldwide can join us by subscribing to the Coffee Sprudgecast on iTunes.

We’re thrilled today to announce a new partner for the event: NXT LVL, a grassroots collective based in Portland dedicated to “partying for social justice.” Founded in late 2016, NXT LVL’s mission is to “center and amplify WOC/QTPOC/Two Spirit voices and causes.” From dance parties to film screenings, beach vogues to fundraising dinners to epic festivals, NXT LVL has been a guiding force behind some of Portland’s best events of the last two years. BLACK COFFEE is their first event in the coffee space, and we are delighted to welcome the team at NXT LVL as partners on April 24th.

“NXT LVL echoes the need and support for conversations and dialog around these important race issues,” says NXT LVL founding member Connie Wohn. “[NXT LVL] wants to see the community coming together to have in a positive environment.”

NXT LVL joins event partners La Marzocco USA, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Oatly, and The Ace Hotel Portland. Ticket proceeds will be donated to our charitable partners, Sankofa Collective and Brown Girl Rise.

Please watch this space for more announcements about BLACK COFFEE in the coming days, and we hope you can join us April 24th in Portland, Oregon. Buy tickets today. They are going fast!


Original poster art by Taylor McManus (@tmcmanusillustration) with many thanks. 

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Source: Coffee News

First Look At The New Modbar Espresso AV

By Coffee, News

Life has no facet more certain than the simple passing of time. The seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, and decades roll on inexorably, unabated by the whims and fathoms of man. And yet we mark the days by our achievements—what is history, if not the archiving of time through a human lens?

Five years ago today (less a single sunset) Sprudge Media Network brought the world its first glimpse of the Modbar, the revolutionary undercounter espresso technology built by what was then an unknown little coffee tech start-up out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Principle investors at launch included Marco Beverage Systems of Dublin, Ireland and La Marzocco, the international espresso machine brand headquartered in Florence, Italy and Seattle, Washington.

In the years since our original story ran the relationship between Modbar and La Marzocco has deepened, and that takes us to today, with the launch of the brand new Modbar Espresso AV. Through years of collaborative R&D, and drawing from La Marzocco’s previous work crafting the Linea PB and Linea Mini, this new Modbar is coming with some big ideas attached.

“It’s a reset of the velocity of making coffee,” says La Marzocco Product Manager Scott Guglielmino. That’s a pretty big claim, but he should know; in collaboration with Modbar, Guglielmino has helped head up an international R&D team responsible for dramatically rethinking Modbar’s tech, while maintaining its style, identity, and manufacturing base in the American Midwest. “It’s the direction I think espresso machines should go,” he adds, “and it’s really all I want to do: to make insanely good espresso machines that people can’t wait to wake up to and get to work on.”

The new Modbar Espresso AV features La Marzocco boiler design, integrated scales for volumetric precision, PID temperature control, and a host of new little details sure to delight those who work on espresso machines every day, not least of which being temperature stability modeled on the Linea PB, whose overall identity as a “workhorse” in the La Marzocco lineup served as a major inspiration for this new Modbar. Other updates include an easily programmed interface, auto-backflush and rinse, an updated positioning of the machine’s power, water, and drain hookups, and a removable group cap that makes for easy tinkering.

“It’s a simplification,” says Guglielmino. “Simplifying the interaction between barista and customer, simplifying the experience of making coffee, and simplifying technical needs, all while making it look beautiful. It really nails, philosophically, what a brilliant simple reliable espresso machine can be.”

And beautiful looking it certainly is. The machine’s chrome taps are available with built-in digital display and customizable wooden tap handles. The single group unit features a unique “Add-a-Tap” system that allows you to start with one group, then add another without replacing your original unit—perfect for a small cafe with an eye on growth, or, you know, a stylish wine bar that wouldn’t mind the ability to serve a nice espresso or three during happy hour. Below counter, glowing red buttons on the new Modbar AV gleam in a direct visual reference to the Linea PB—a subtle nod, visible only to the operator, a bit of assurance, perhaps, to this new Modbar’s pedigree.

But as always with an undercounter machine, the beauty is really in how the machine becomes incorporated into the wider world. The freedom of placement and design possibilities presented by undercounter espresso technology is still just in its nascency. The implied possibility for mise en place in cafe, bar, and restaurant settings still feels brand new, five years in. As more of these style machines are installed around the world, we continue to marvel at where they fit into the schemes and plans of cafe designers and architects.

“This is a ground-up rethink of the Modbar,” says Modbar Marketing Manager Lena Prickett. “Five years after our launch, the industry has never been more focused on customer orientation, reliability, and offering a consistent workflow. That’s what these teams have achieved with Modbar AV: it’s not Modbar 2.0, it’s a brand new machine.”

There are a couple more aspects of this new machine that border on the metaphysical, echoing the magic and wonder evoked by Modbar’s mesmeric Instagram campaign around the new release, created by La Marzocco Vice President of Marketing & Consumer Strategy Scott Callendar. One is the new “Drip Prediction” technology, a software that “maps the flow rate of each shot and can accurately predict the future flow rate,” allowing the machine to auto-magically stop your shot to hit a programmed target. Another aspect is the new Modbar AV’s approach to temperature stability, modeled on the Linea PB but capable of delivering to a unit separated from taps by a short length of tube.

“We are thrilled at La Marzocco to launch the new Modbar AV, the exciting result of the collaboration and innovation between Modbar and La Marzocco,” says LM General Manager Andrew Daday. “This machine pushes forward the benefits that can be realized with an undercounter espresso solution.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Lena Prickett of Modbar, who in the course of researching this story spoke eloquently and passionately on behalf of the smaller Midwestern brand. “I think it speaks to La Marzocco’s longstanding commitment to innovation—you know, Modbar is a small company in NE Indiana that some might have seen as a competitor, but La Marzocco saw it as an opportunity to further the art of espresso design.”

“That’s a really cool part of the story,” she continued. “It is extremely meaningful for LM as a larger company, a global company, to be able to support a company like Modbar so that it can stay in Fort Wayne making these beautiful machines, testing each one, assembling each one, and continuing the great tradition of manufacturing in northeast Indiana.”

And now we see what happens next. As with any new espresso machine—but perhaps especially so when it comes to undercounter espresso tech—it’s what happens out in the wild with this equipment that truly matters most. The design and conceptual possibilities first presented by Modbar—tiny Modbar, the little coffee start-up that could, pride of Fort Wayne—have been made new again for 2018 in the form of the Modbar Espresso AV, coming soon to a stylish cafe near you.


Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge.

All images courtesy Modbar.

Sprudge Media Network is proudly partnered with Modbar and La Marzocco. 

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Source: Coffee News

New Study Finds Undetectable Levels Of Acrylamide In Coffee

By Coffee, News

It has been widely (including here on Sprudge) reported that a judge in California has ruled that all coffee sold in the state needs to come with a cancer warning. This is due to coffee containing trace amounts of acrylamide, a carcinogen created during the Maillard Reaction in the roasting process. Many people have spoken out against this ruling, including the American Institute for Cancer Research, which essentially says that the defendants (coffee and coffee accessories (coffee’s lawyers)) didn’t prove that coffee wasn’t dangerous. Well, a new study tested nine popular coffee brands and found each and every one to contain undetectable levels of acrylamide.

The research was performed by Denver-based Clean Label Project, a nonprofit organization “focused on health and transparency in labeling” per their press release, who purchased nine brands of off-the-shelf retail coffee to be brewed and tested by Ellipse Analytics, a third-party analytical chemistry lab. Brands in the test included Starbucks, Peet’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Caribou, and Folgers, amongst others. When analyzed, each of the nine samples were found to have undetectable levels of acrylamide.

Now this doesn’t mean that there was none of the carcinogen present in the samples. For acrylamide to be detected in the tests, it would have to be present in levels at or above 40 parts per billion. It was not.

For perspective, Clean Label Project compares the average levels of acrylamide in a cup of coffee to that of a serving of French fries. Whereas a cup of coffee contains 1.77 micrograms per serving, French fries—which come with no such cancer warning—have a whopping 75.65 micrograms per serving, some 40+ times as much of the carcinogen as in coffee.

All the samples tested were of a roast profile much more developed than that of your average specialty coffee roaster. And given that acrylamide is caused by the Maillard Reaction, it stands to reason that lighter roasted coffee would have even fewer ppb than the already undetectable levels of the carcinogen found in the study.

via Clean Label Project

Though the original court battle is now over, appeals can still be made on the ruling. And given that the ruling was based upon coffee not being shown to not be deadly, this research by Clean Label Project may be the sort of empirical data needed to overturn the original outcome.

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

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Source: Coffee News

Vancouver’s Moving Coffee Finds A Permanent Home At Fife Bakery

By Coffee, News

In January, Edmond Keung and his wife were walking through an industrial neighborhood in Vancouver, B.C., when they stumbled across a bakery that had just opened its doors. As he popped his head inside to take a look, his eyes were immediately drawn to the EK 43 sitting on the bar. He glanced over at his wife and in that moment experienced what he now calls fate. He had found a new home for Moving Coffee.

Years before this fateful encounter, Keung started laying the groundwork for what would eventually become Moving Coffee. While he grew up in Vancouver, he was born in Hong Kong, where he returned to begin his career in coffee. In 2011, he became one of the first six people to receive a Q-grader certification in Hong Kong and used this experience and expertise to establish a consulting business. After working with local independent shops, chains, and hotels, Keung discovered his true passion: moving specialty-grade coffee forward. In 2012, he began roasting and named his business after his inspired maxim: Moving Coffee.

Edward Keung.

After moving back to Vancouver with his wife in 2014, Keung slowly began scaling up his business through pop-ups around the city. He now finds himself sharing space in Fife Bakery and taking his roasting business another step forward. The bakery/cafe is a small functional space housing both the bakery business and Keung’s coffee bar. A two-group Victoria Arduino Black Eagle is the showpiece of the room with two Mahlkönig EK 43s in contrasting black and white serving dual purposes, as Keung presents his coffee both as espresso and filter. His minimal menu lists “Black” and “White” options, with Curtis drip coffee and pour-overs prepared using a Bonavita Kettle and a copper vessel. However, most interesting of all is a third section of the menu labeled “Iced,” which features a peculiar item called Morning Whisky.

Through the extraction of slowly falling droplets, Keung uses a slow-drip tower from Korea’s CoffeeGa to create his own cold-brew coffee dubbed Morning Whisky. “The name comes from how I envision people drinking it,” he says. “Either neat, no cream or sugar, or over ice.” After hearing that the process takes six to eight hours to make a three-liter batch, it would be hard for anyone to resist the curiosity to taste it.

When Moving Coffee and Fife Bakery came together, the two businesses wanted to create a cohesive atmosphere for their customers. Fife’s Felix Yau had already designed the space and was actually serving coffee before Keung moved in. But with the addition of Moving Coffee, the cafe was able to upgrade and take its space to the next level. Inspired by his new partner, Yau began creating offerings such as the coffee bun, a simple yet delicious bread item with the soft texture and sweet filling of a pastry.

In an effort to diversify the business and make use of the large multifunctional warehouse space currently housing the roasting equipment and baking supplies, Keung has begun hosting regular coffee workshops. With his diverse experience in specialty coffee and his Q-grader certification, Keung is able to provide training on everything from coffee tastings to barista training and Q-level courses. The workshops are designed for all levels of experience—whether you are a passionate home brewer or a practicing professional.

When speaking about his business, Keung is the first to admit that Moving Coffee is still very new to Vancouver’s coffee scene and is changing and defining itself constantly. But the one thing that will never change is his mission to represent and put forth specialty coffee at its best. “I want to have different, exciting coffees when our customers come through the door,” he says. He achieves this by purposefully choosing and roasting coffees that no other local roasters are using. With his strong focus on high-quality roasting, Moving Coffee hopes to establish itself as a recognized roasting facility and to work toward growing to wholesale capacity.

“I want to move coffee forward,” he says. “From farm to roaster, coffee to shop, liquid to customer.” While Keung may have moved around a lot to arrive at his present situation, when it comes to his coffee, things are definitely moving in the right direction.

Moving Coffee Roastery is located inside Fife Bakery at 64 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver. Visit their official website and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Peter de Vooght is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Read more Peter de Vooght on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

It’s A Great Time To Subscribe To The Coffee Sprudgecast

By Coffee, News

Podcasts: what can’t they do?

Since launching the Coffee Sprudgecast in February of 2016, the show has become an increasingly important part of our publishing voice here at the Sprudge Media Network. The typical episode features news and notes from the world of coffee hosted by Sprudge co-founders Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen, with a rotating cast of special guests, call-in questions from our readers (1-888-55-SPRUDGE), and a popular news segment, “Robyn Reads The News” hosted by Sprudge’s own Robyn Brems.

There’s a brand new episode in this style out today—that’s episode #52, natch—previewing the upcoming fun at the 2018 London Coffee Festival, looking back at some favorite moments from SXSW 2018, and talking through the news (coffee cancer!) of the day (Stumptown truck hijackings). We crack a coffee beer on air most episodes—this week it’s from Woodland Empire of Boise, Idaho—and Zachary usually brews up some decaf (like Intelligentsia’s El Mago).

But sometimes we deviate from the scheme, and right now there’s a blizzard of fresh and frosty content styles rolling out across our Podcast channel, which you should subscribe to iTunes. Subscribers don’t just get these regular episodes from our founders, oh no. They’ll also be receiving a clutch of very special Minisodes taped live at SXSW, featuring industry leaders like Andrea Piccolo of Swiss Water Decaf, Becky Reeves of Oatly, Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee, Andy Atkinson of Intelligentsia, and many, many more. Our first Minisode dropped earlier this week starring Liz Turner of Stumptown Coffee. You should go listen to it now because it, not unlike Liz Turner, is great.

But that’s not all: our iTunes channel is the exclusive home for live Podcast events and special party tapings from around the world. From Sprudge After Dark’s late night talkshow realness to our recent live event with Department of Brewology during SXSW, our iTunes channel is bursting at the seams with live events from the front lines of the specialty coffee scene.

And coming soon, this channel will be the exclusive home for BLACK COFFEE, a new live podcast series from creative director Michelle Johnson. The event kicks off with its first live taping on April 24th, 2018 in Portland Oregon, sponsored by La Marzocco USA, Ace Hotel, Oatly and Stumptown Coffee, with proceeds benefitting Sankofa Collective and Brown Girl Rise. We’re also excited to announce some breaking news that this event will be supported by NXT LVL—much more about this new partnership early next week.

Between the live shows, the regularly scheduled episodes hosted by our founders, the wild field recording Minisodes taped at SXSW, and the upcoming premiere of Michelle Johnson’s BLACK COFFEE, it has never been a better time to subscribe to the Coffee Sprudgecast on iTunes and Stitcher. Best of all, it’s completely free. We rest our case.

Sign up now as a subscriber to the Coffee Sprudgecast and never miss an episode. The Coffee Sprudgecast is sponsored by KitchenAid craft coffee equipment, Urnex Brands, Hario, and Swiss Water Process Decaf. Sprudge’s coverage from the 2018 SXSW festival is supported by Falcon Coffees

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Source: Coffee News

The Glasgow Coffee Festival Teams With KeepCup To Ditch Disposables

By Coffee, News

The Glasgow Coffee Festival is coming back for its fourth year. Put together by Dear Green Coffee Roasters, the Glasgow Coffee Festival is a two-day celebration of the ever-growing coffee scene in Scotland. And this year, the festival has an eye towards eco-responsibility.

For the first time in the event’s history, the Glasgow Coffee Festival will take place with nary a disposable cup on the premises. Event organizers are asking attendees to bring their own reusable cup to “combat the 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste” created each year in the UK. And for those who forget to bring a cup, the GCF has teamed up with KeepCup to lend festival-goers reusable cups. “Everything we do is from an ethical stance, and we felt like it was time for Glasgow Coffee Festival to partner with KeepCup to lead the way with reusable cups,” event organizer and Dear Green founder Lisa Lawson stated, who opted for reusable cups over compostable ones due to the fact “they are usually disposed of in general waste.”

Even with this move towards a more eco-friendly event, you can still expect the same good times as with previous years, including cuppings, latte art clinics, masterclasses, workshops, demos, food, and more coffee than your body could possibly process in a single day.

It all happens the weekend of May 19th and 20th at The Briggait in Glasgow, Scotland. Tickets range from £14.50 to £22.50 for single-day and weekend passes, respectively, and can be purchased here. For more information, visit the Glasgow Coffee Festival’s official website or the 2018 Glasgow Coffee Fesitval Facebook event page.

Don’t forget to bring a cup!

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 Glasgow Coffee Festival

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Source: Coffee News

Coffee Design: Kittel In Montreal

By Coffee, News

Montreal-based roasting company Kittel revamped their look this year. Going with the popular box packaging, Kittel worked with independent creative consultant Marc-André Rioux along with Dutch illustrator Timo Kuilder to create a colorful line of coffees with a vintage travel poster inspired motif. We talked to Liam Robichaud, Director of Coffee & Quality Control at Kittel, to learn more.

Tell us a bit about your company!

Seven years ago, Guillaume Kittel-Ouimet left his successful career as a financial risk manager and struck out on his own to begin a career in coffee. He bought a small sample roaster, took a course on roasting coffee in nearby Vermont, and in his own apartment he began to experiment.

Now we’ve built a small team and in our humble warehouse in the Rosemont neighbourhood of Montreal we roast coffee for around 60 or so wholesale clients. As a company, Kittel is young and energetic. After years of focusing entirely on the quality of the product in the bag, we were finally ready for a makeover.

When did the coffee package design debut?

We launched the new packaging to select few wholesale partners the week before Christmas 2017, and officially switched over in January of this year.

Who designed the package?

We worked together with Marc-André Rioux, an independent creative consultant who came highly recommended by some of his former colleagues at Montréal advertising agency, Cossette.

It was Marc-André who helped us define our concept of Collections. We wanted to simplify the experience of shopping for new and unique coffees so rather than grouping coffees by origin, we decided to group them by flavour profile, or mood if you will. This allows us to introduce someone who likes earthy, nutty coffees from Brazil to coffee from Peru, Burundi, or Indonesia. Similarly, we can show lovers of Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee, the quality of microlots from Colombia, Guatemala, or Brazil.

So as to avoid over complication, we limited our collections to the four most commonly requested types of offering:

Classic: Rich, full-bodied coffees, with bittersweet, notes of chocolate and roasted nuts and limited acidity. Perfect for espresso, milk drinks, and a no-frills, any-day-of-the-week cup.

Signature: Crowd-pleasing coffees with notes of fruit balanced with notes of chocolate, caramel, pastry. These coffees are equally remarkable on espresso or filter.

Discovery: Bright, vibrant, fruity, aromatic and even floral coffees to excite the palate and wow your friends. These are the coffees to get for the person who has tried everything.

Decaf: The name says it all. Well just about. We want to source and roast decaf that doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Truth be told, it’s not uncommon to spot us at the roastery enjoying a cup of our single estate Colombian decaf when we’ve had enough caffeine before we’ve had enough coffee.

Tell us more about the art depicted on the coffees.

While Marc-André helped us to define the aesthetic of the new branding, from the packaging to the logo and typography, it was the extraordinarily talented Dutch illustrator, Timo Kuilder who provided the imagery on the front of the boxes.

We knew that we wanted illustrations that were inviting, familiar, and timeless. This is why the style might be described as vintage or retro. There is an element of travel posters from the early 20th century and a touch of cartoons from the 80s. Each image focuses on an individual, in the midst of some event that is objectively exciting but in spite of their unique surroundings, all they can focus on is their cup of coffee.

Why are aesthetics in coffee packaging so important?

For us as the roaster, aesthetics are secondary. For years, we roasted coffee and put it in plain white bags with our name and some info about the origin. Quality is what’s important to us: quality of the product we source, and quality of the roasts we serve to our customers.

With that being said, there is another factor to consider. How do we introduce ourselves to new customers. If someone hasn’t had a chance to taste the coffee yet, they’re going to judge it the only way they can: visually. Through the process of this rebranding, we have learned that aesthetics are very relevant, and we are so proud to hear from customers that they love the new look.

What type of package is it and where is it manufactured?

When we set out to do this rebranding, we knew that we wanted packaging with as little environmental impact as possible but we were not willing to sacrifice customer experience. It had to be engaging, beautiful, easy to display, and yet still be able to be reused, recycled, or even to break down and return to the earth from which it came.

Only one option consistently stood out from the rest: boxes. Boxes stand straight up, they stack easily and in an attractive way, making them perfect for retail displays at our partner cafes and stores. And what’s more, even the most beautiful boxes could be made from recycled materials and be themselves easily recycled. Our own boxes are produced here in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, at Imprimerie Dumaine. They are made of FSC certified cardboard and printed with vegetable based inks.

Inside the box, we still had to use a bag, and so we knew right from the start it had to be compostable. We worked together with TekPak, a Canadian company making their own brand of Omnidegradable™ coffee packaging. With their help, we were able to procure 100% biodegradable bags (even the valve). Combined with our recycled and recyclable boxes, we felt that we were finally able to meet our goal of a product which is both sustainable and memorable.

Where is it currently available?

Currently we are available at numerous shops around Montreal and the surrounding region, and we’re starting to be offered at shops in other provinces. Better still, customers all across Canada can order online and we ship for free on orders of $30 or more.

We are also beginning to hear from cafes in the US that want to partner with us, so you may begin to see us on that side of the border.

Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.

The post Coffee Design: Kittel In Montreal appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Beber Mi Sudor: A New Book From Nordic Approach Comes Out Tomorrow

By Coffee, News

I love coffee books, I don’t know why. Probably because I’m a sucker for anything coffee-related. If you put coffee in front of anything, I’m probably going to want it. A coffee circular saw? Sure, I can see how that would be a useful additional to my pour-over bar. But you don’t have to be that head over heels for gear to appreciate a nice coffee book, especially one that is primarily photography-based. And Beber Mi Sudor—a new book from Nordic Approach and photographer Jake Green being released tomorrow, April 6th—is just that.

This is the first in a series of books that will “document [Nordic Approach’s] epic journeys with speciality coffee at origin, starting with Colombia.” The name, Beber Mi Sudor, literally translates to “drink my sweat,” a colloquialism “used by Colombian coffee workers to reflect the incredible effort and energy that goes in to producing their crops.”

Along with Green’s photography, the book will include “interviews with farmers, roasters, and our long-time friend Tim Wendelboe, as well as essays on Colombia’s unique environmental conditions, the intricacy of cupping, and Nordic Approach’s philosophy and experience as a green coffee sourcing company.”

To celebrate the release, Nordic Approach is holding a book launch party this Friday at their Oslo headquarters, starting at 7:00pm. But for those unable to attend, the book will be available for purchase via the Nordic Approach website. For more information on the Beber Mi Sudor or the launch party, visit the Beber Mi Sudor Facebook event page. And pick up a copy for you old friend, Zac. You know he likes coffee things.

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 Nordic Approach

The post Beber Mi Sudor: A New Book From Nordic Approach Comes Out Tomorrow appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

The 2018 London Coffee Festival Is Coming

By Coffee, News

It’s true! The 2018 London Coffee Festival kicks off in just a few short days, bringing with it the sights, sounds, smells and slurps of the world’s premiere consumer coffee event. This is Sprudge Media’s astounding fourth consecutive year attending and covering the event, and we’re thrilled to be back again for a wild whirligig of a good time in the city that never sleeps…er, the city that sleeps after a nice long lunch.

That would be London, global capital of coffee culture (with heaps of great wine). It’s a city that leads the world in cafe cool, and at the center of it all sits the London Coffee Festival. What began in 2011 as a new event is today Europe’s leading coffee festival, drawing exhibitors from across the UK and EU and more than 30,000 attendees annually. It is a hot bed of brand exhibitions and product launches—the work we do covering London Coffee Festival each spring informs content all year long on Sprudge.

An important facet of the fest is its work with Project Waterfall, an international water charity focusing on bringing drinkable water to coffee growing communities. 50% of ticket sales at this year’s festival will be donated to Project Waterfall. This ethical approach to hosting coffee festivals is inspiring and a big part of why we’re proud to continue supporting the London Coffee Festival in 2018.

So what’s on at the fest? Heaps, to put it mildly. There is of course the 4th annual running of the Coffee Masters Tournament at London Coffee Festival. This year’s tournament promises to be the biggest and best yet, drawing an international cadre of top flight competitors to the stage at LCF. Sprudge Media Network has expanded its coverage of the Masters this season to include live content via the Sprudge Live Twitter and web hubs—you’ll be able to follow up to the minute coverage from the event all weekend long, with coverage supported by Cafe Imports, Acaia, Assembly Coffee, Oatly UK, and Faema. Follow Sprudge Live on Twitter and visit our Sprudge Live coverage hub for content all weekend long form London.

The showfloor itself is an enviably deep bench of brand activations, product launches, pop-up bars, and educational opportunities. It’s hard to figure out where to start with the highlights, but we’ll do our best by diving straight in.


  • La Marzocco UK’s popular True Artisan Cafe experience is back, featuring an ever-rotating roster of top roasters from across the UK, Europe and beyond. Expect a focus on signature drinks and espresso blends, and stop by throughout the festival—there’s always something new on the bar.




  • The Lab is boasting perhaps its most robust collection of speakers in festival history. Across a stunning series of talks and panels you learn from the likes of Tim Wendelboe, BBC Good Food writer Miriam Nice, Richard Corney and Jessie May Peters of Raw Material, home coffee roasting expert Geoff Woodley of Ikawa, Coffee Masters champion James Wise, Curators Coffee co-founder Catherine Seay, and many, many more.


  • A lively and surprise-filled exhibitors showfloor featuring pop-up cafes, cuppings, hot new gear, and much, much more.


And that’s just scratching the surface! There’s also epic off-site parties from the likes of Mavam (Thursday), Sprudge Wine (Thursday), and many more events to come. There’s also an epic OATLY takeover at Boxpark from Monday April 9th thru Sunday April 15th, featuring free oat milk lattes, prize drawings, an epic latte art throwdown on Wednesday the 11th, and complimentary “Big Leb-Oat-Ski” (!) cocktails on Friday and Saturday night. If you’re hosting an off-site party or event during London Coffee Festival and would like it listed on Sprudge, please get in contact.

We’ll see you in London at the 2018 London Coffee Festival!

Sprudge Media Network’s coverage of the 2018 London Coffee Festival is supported by Cafe Imports, Acaia, Assembly Coffee, Oatly UK, and Faema.

All London Coffee Festival coverage on Sprudge. 

Photos by James Bryant for London Coffee Festival

The post The 2018 London Coffee Festival Is Coming appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News