The New Rules Of Coffee East Coast Book Tour!

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Tour! Tour! Tour! East coast Sprudge readers and traveling coffee enthusiasts, join us at one of these exciting upcoming appearances in support of The New Rules of Coffee: A Modern Guide for Everyone from Sprudge co-founders Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen. We’d love to see you at any or all of the events below, so give us an RSVP via Facebook and pick up your tickets today (where applicable).



On Thursday, October 11th join us for a special live taping of the Taste Podcast at Counter Culture Coffee (376 Broome Street). This is a ticketed event—buy tickets here—and the price includes a signed copy of the book, a spot at the taping, and delicious treats from the team at Counter Culture. Check out past episodes of the Taste podcast featuring Christina Tosi, Peter Meehan, Saimin Norsat, and many more.

Thursday 10/11 at Counter Culture Coffee NYC TC 6-8pm TICKETS

On Saturday, October 13th join us at the 2018 New York Coffee Festival for a special presentation of The New Rules of Coffee happening at The Lab Stage One. There we’ll be talking about the creation process of our book, reading select passages, and taking your sure-to-be-cheeky questions in front of a live audience. Admission is included with entry to the New York Coffee Festival.

Saturday 10/13 at New York Coffee Festival 3:15 PM TICKETS

On Wednesday, October 17th join us in Brooklyn at the stunning new Stumptown Coffee Roasters cafe in Cobble Hill (212 Pacific Street, Brooklyn) for a book signing meet n’ greet from 1pm-3pm. There we’ll be joined by the lovely folks at Books Are Magic, and we’ll be personally signing books, taking your questions, and inquiring as to your favorite local pizza slice spot. This event is free and open to the public, with books for sale on-site.

Wednesday 10/17 at Stumptown Cobble Hill Brooklyn 1pm-3pm RSVP


On Thursday, October 18th we’ve got two stunning events in Philadelphia, PA! To kick things off, join us at Reanimator Coffee‘s Kensington roastworks (310 W Master St.) for a book signing meet n’ greet and intimate presentation of some of our favorite chapters. Come enjoy cappuccino with us and get your very own signed copy of the book. This event is free and open to the public, with books for sale on-site.

Thursday 10/18 at Reanimator Coffee Kensington 2pm-4pm RSVP

On the evening of Thursday, October 18th join us at the Elixr Coffee cafe in Center City (207 S Sydenham St) for an evening of coffee sports, giveaways, and a presentation from The New Rules of Coffee. Guests can participate in a cup tasters challenge, with prizes courtesy of Elixr Coffee, plus enjoy refreshments and pick up signed copies of The New Rules of Coffee. We’ll be there to take Q&A and read you a few of our favorite sections of the book. This event is free and open to the public, with books for sale on site.

Thursday 10/18 at Elixr Coffee Center City 7pm-10pm RSVP


On Saturday, October 20th join us in Washington DC for an event with Peregrine Espresso and Solid State Books at Small Planes Coffee (2400 T Street NE) for an evening of coffee and conversation. Starting at 5pm Peregrine is hosting a city-wide roaster cupping featuring a dozen or so roasters from across the DMV. Then at 7pm, join us for a live conversation on The New Rules of Coffee moderated by God In A Cup author and New York Times/Washington Post/Sprudge contributor Michaele Weissman. Guests can pick up a signed copy of the book onsite and there will be light Q&A following the event.

Saturday 10/20 at Small Planes Coffee with Peregrine Espresso and Solid State Books 5pm-9pm RSVP

And to cap things off, on Sunday, October 21st join us for a very special live presentation with Smithsonian Associates at The Ripley Center (1100 Jefferson Dr SW). This is a ticketed presentation event, and guests will enjoy delicious coffee courtesy of Counter Culture Coffee, plus receive a signed copy of The New Rules of Coffee.

Sunday 10/21 at The Ripley Center with Smithsonian Associates and Counter Culture Coffee 1pm-4pm Buy ticketsRSVP



Want to book Sprudge for an event in your city? Drop us a line and we’ll set it up! 

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Source: Coffee News

Kick Off The New York Coffee Festival With A Coffee Disco

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We’re just a few short days from the start of the New York Coffee Festival and the 2018 Coffee Masters, and what’s a good coffee party without a raucous coffee kickoff party? For that, look no further than Coffee Disco, who is back for another year of NYCF pre-partying. Taking place Friday night at Sey Coffee in Bushwick, Coffee Disco has assembled a night of coffee cocktails, beer, tunes, prizes, and general good times in preparation for a weekend full of coffee cocktails, beer, tunes, and general good times.

Back for its second year—this time without “Austin-style tacos,” and don’t even get me STARTED on whatever the hell that means—Coffee Disco has enlisted the help of the Hudson Valley’s Svendale Brewing for all beer-related needs. From the looks of their offering sheet, expect IPAs (hazy or otherwise), stouts, and sours to abound. Adding the general #goodvibes will be the Strange Jock DJs, whose playlist will work equally well in a yoga class as it will a trip to outer space.

And of course, there will be raffle prizes. Sponsors for the 2018 Coffee Disco include Sey, Svendale, Pacific Bag, Modbar, Califia Farms, Oatly, Baratza, and Black Fox Coffee Co, so you know you’ll at least be able to walk home with some non-dairy swag.

Tickets for the 2018 Coffee Disco are $10 and can be purchased here. As with last year’s event, all proceeds go to RiseBoro, a Brooklyn-based organization working to better their local communities by focusing on seniors, housing, education, health, and empowerment.

It all gets started Friday, October 12th at 8:30pm at Sey Coffee in Bushwick. Coffee Disco is 21 and up, so leave the kids at home. Or drop them off here; I’m sure these chill bros won’t mind.

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

Intellectual Property In Coffee: Imitation Is No Longer Flattering

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“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Writer Charles Caleb Colton must have never met an intellectual property lawyer. But when does imitation become outright copyright or trademark infringement?

Intellectual property (IP) covers a lot of ground and is found in every aspect of the coffee value chain. From patenting coffee makers to trademarking blend names to granting plant breeders’ rights, IP’s reach is far and influential in coffee history.

In this three-part series, we’ll take a look at several angles of IP as it shows up in the coffee industry. To begin with, we’ll take a broad look at coffee IP’s international history and its most commonly seen cases. In the second part, we’ll explore how culture and social media blur the lines of influence and originality. And in the final piece, we delve into IP on a farm level.


IP’s global history began with the establishment of patent law in England in 1624, with the Statute of Monopolies. Two centuries later in Italy, Angelo Moriondo would be granted a patent for “New steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage.” The new machine, combining water and steam, was presented at the Turin General Exposition in 1884 and was the precursor to the espresso machine.

Another notable mark in coffee patent history is the German invention of the first dripper and filter. In 1908, Melitta Bentz punctured a hole in the bottom of a pot, lined it with notebook paper, and created a way to filter out coffee grounds. The patent, “Filter Top Device lined with Filter Paper,” led to the Melitta company’s birth and the beginning of many new pour-over devices. Trend watchers will not be surprised to learn that every year, there continue to dozens of companies claiming to invent a new device for pouring water over coffee.

Nowadays, patents filed in one country may or may not be simultaneously filed in another country. While efforts have been made to make international filings easier and minimum requirements do exist for those who participate in Patent Cooperation Treaty, every country still determines and executes its own laws.

The US’s switch in 2013 from a “first-to-invent” system to a “first-inventor-to-file” system to match the rest of the world may see ripple effects in US coffee technology innovation. It no longer matters if you were the first to invent a new component in a coffee roaster. If someone else was working on a similar component and has the resources for a patent attorney, it becomes a race to file.


Patenting inventions is only one portion of IP. Trademark protection, which covers name and logo usage, is another major aspect and affects every coffee company.

When Minnesota’s Dogwood Coffee first began roasting, the company named its cold brew blend “Zamboni.” It was a love letter to their staff’s enjoyment of hockey and the machines that rule the rink. “We didn’t even make it through a full season before we received the cease-and-desist letter from [the] Zamboni [corporation],” says Dan Anderson, owner of Dogwood.

Luckily, Anderson was able to work out a licensing agreement and is now far more educated on the topic of IP. Looking back, he says the experience “really brought home the relevance of protecting your brand and trademarks. I think that definitely played a part in us figuring out our own protection.” Dogwood now goes through a thorough name vetting practice for each of their blends and subsequently registers the blend names as trademarks.

Blends take a lot of work and Anderson sees the trademark protection as a necessary step in the business process. “A lot of people can relate to how hard you worked to build knowledge of your company and your espresso blends,” he says. “Go ahead and take these steps to protect from potential confusion in the marketplace.”

It’s good business sense to research potential names before spending money on marketing and other collateral. Marshall Fuss, a California attorney specializing in the coffee industry, often advises his clients to be as unique as possible. “There’s a tendency for everybody to be looking at similar words. Perk this, drip that,” Fuss says. “The thing that I try to get across is that originality counts.” The more the name generically describes the product, like “cone dripper,” the less likely you’ll be approved for the trademark.

Once a trademark is registered, it’s still up to the business to enforce it. While it may seem daunting at first, says Nick Pearson, Financial Controller and General Manager at Dogwood, the company has been able to handle everything internally. Pearson has so far been able to handle infringements casually, first reaching out over email instead of going straight to a cease-and-desist letter. Most companies are understanding, but it becomes more difficult once a brand has invested in a name. He says, “Those are tougher and brutal for us because we don’t want to be the bad guy. But we also have to protect our brand.”


In the realm of copyright, issues of IP crop up frequently through day-to-day marketing efforts. Farah Bhatti, shareholder at US-based business law firm Buchalter, specializes in trademark prosecution and is the Chair of the firm’s Internet, E-Commerce, and Social Media Practice Group. Buchalter’s coverage includes all aspects of business law, including IP, and multiple industries. When asked about what she thinks are the major mistakes businesses make in operating online, Bhatti says the first one is “borrowing” images that are found online. She says, “People think, ‘I do a Google search, there’s an image there.’ [They think they] can just take it and use it.”

While the laws themselves are slow in incorporating new technology, Bhatti advises her clients based on analogies to when those laws were written. Before, a law would apply to magazines manipulating and republishing photos, she says, “Now it’s just cut and paste on a computer. But it’s still at the end of the day, the same thing. You’re taking somebody’s copyrighted material and you’re reproducing them without their authorization.”

The concept of using what you find on the internet and taking it is especially prominent on Instagram, where brands are often seen re-gramming other accounts. Without express permission from the original copyright holder, your regram with credit is still copyright infringement.

Bryan Schiele is known for his crisp and colorful images and is no stranger to having his images used without permission and/or credit. Schiele estimates he’s submitted over one hundred copyright infringement reports on Instagram over the last few years. “At one point I was seeing my photos used without credit or permission roughly a few dozen times a month,” says Schiele. Instagram’s guidelines clearly state copyright ownership as “if you take a photo, you generally own the copyright in that photo.” He no longer hesitates at reporting stolen, uncredited content. He says, “Since they didn’t have the courtesy to ask permission, I won’t ask their permission to have it removed.”

The other major mistake that Bhatti sees businesses make online is publicizing when a celebrity uses their products or services. While more often seen with apparel companies, cafes and product manufacturers have also seen their share of celebrity usage and fandom. For example, Alton Brown’s Road Eats tours is known for soliciting recommendations and visiting smaller specialty cafes around the US. Brown’s favoring of certain cafes has surely helped in their retail sales, but that doesn’t mean business owners have the right to post photos of Brown eating or drinking there. Right of publicity laws vary state to state in the US and cover commercial use of an individual’s identity. In some states, posting a photo without prior agreement with the celebrity can lead to a lawsuit.

When posting an image of a celebrity using their product, you not only have copyright infringement on the photo, but you also have right of publicity issues, says Bhatti. “You’re basically stating that a celebrity is endorsing your product even though they may not be. You’re putting words in their mouth.” As a business, she continues, “you have a different set of rules as opposed to an individual who doesn’t have a commercial basis behind their statement.”

Another common copyright violation is exceeding a license. Earlier this year, the owners of the Grumpy Cat brand were awarded £500k in a lawsuit against US coffee company Grenade for unauthorized usage of the cat’s photos. The original licensing agreement was for using the photo on the “Grumppuccino” iced coffee line, but Grenade exceeded its usage with roasted coffee and T-shirts.

IP through the filter of the coffee industry is undoubtedly a complex topic. When a coffee company begins operating across international borders, it may find that some countries are more lenient than others for trademark registrations. Your company’s name may be filed in another country by someone else, and you won’t be able to claim it without substantial resources.

Plants Have IP, Too

Innovation and IP protection in coffee are not limited to equipment manufacturers and roasters, but can even include coffee growers themselves. IP for plants is called plant breeders’ rights, which allow breeders to license out a variety to anyone they desire. In a Re:co Symposium talk on coffee technology, Hanna Neuschwander, Communications Director for World Coffee Research, compares the pace of innovation between coffee machines and plant breeders’ rights. A search for the phrase “coffee machine” in both the US’s and China’s public patent search systems resulted in 3352 patents registered since 1976. In comparison, the number of filings listed in the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) database for new coffee varieties was at a measly count of 36.

So what does the future of IP in coffee look like? It’ll surely be with an international lens. More entries into the market, and the globalization of social media mean that companies need to work harder to stand out. Imitation is no longer flattering.

This is part one of a three-part series—topics including how international IP applies to coffee, and IP specifically within coffee origin countries, will be further explored in upcoming features. 

Jenn Chen (@TheJennChen) is a San Francisco–based coffee marketer, writer, and photographer. Read more Jenn Chen on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

Kansas City Will Host The 2019 US Coffee Championships

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Sprudge is back covering the US and World Coffee Championships and we couldn’t be more excited! Our first official act of duty now that we are back on the comp beat is to bring you the just-announced date and location for the 2019 US Coffee Championships. The SCA has confirmed that the USCC will be headed to Kansas City, Missouri March 15th-17th!

Taking place at the Kansas City Convention Center, the SCA is returning to the scene of the 2016 Qualifying Event, but things will be a little different this time. Along with the US Barista Championship and Brewers Cup, Kansas City will host the Cup Tasters and Roasters championships, both of which had qualifying rounds, a new twist since the 2016 event. And for the first time ever, the United States will host a Coffee in Good Spirits competition, also happening in KC.

In the press release, SCA Senior Event Manager of National Competitions Melissa McGuinness states:

This is a special year because the U.S. Coffee Championships will take place outside of the Specialty Coffee Expo. We have received some great support from the local coffee community in Kansas City and we invite the U.S. coffee community to come meet them and our volunteer leadership on our webinar this Tuesday.

To make it to the national stage, competitors must earn their way via qualifying events taking place in Denver and Nashville in December and January, respectively. For those interested in competing in or judging any of these events (who haven’t already earned their way through the micro-regionals), registration for the qualifying events opens October 15th at 10:00am PST. For more information on the events, the rules, or how to compete, visit the US Coffee Championships official website.

Sprudge is thrilled to be back as official media partners, bringing you the industry’s best up-to-the-minute coverage of the US Coffee Championships, including the qualifying events via our competitions portal, Sprudge Live. Get excited y’all. We certainly are.

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 US Coffee Championships

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Source: Coffee News

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