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Citing A Toxic Work Environment, Baristas Walk Out At Seattle’s Slate Coffee

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CW: This story contains depictions and outlinks to graphic descriptions of offensive language.

Disclaimer: This story contains both direct statements and outlinks to first-person accounting of past events. Sprudge Media Network cannot independently verify the accuracy of this growing volume of claims.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, June 22nd, the Ballard location of Seattle’s Slate Coffee Roasters was unable to open for business. Instead of the hum of regular weekend commerce, guests to the cafe were met at the door with resignation letters from five now-former Slate employees—Jason Beutler, Samantha Capell, Rachel Hopke, Meri Novascone, and Felix Tran—as well as a letter explaining to customers the reasons for their decision to part ways with the company. In the letter, the coffee professionals (whose titles with Slate range from barista to manager) cited “a toxic work environment” leading to their resignations, including but not limited to “dishonesty, discrimination of many kinds, bullying and intimidation, late and unreceived pay, [and] disingenuous promises.”

The labor dispute boiled over into the digital world via @CoffeeAtLarge, an Instagram account created by the former Slate employees that in a few short days has amassed over 4,000 followers alongside hundreds of comments and shares. In a series of posts, the account detailed the chain of events leading to this weekend’s walkout.

The flashpoint appears to be the dismissal of Samantha Capell, a Retail Training Manager and Location Manager at Slate’s cafe in the Ballard neighborhood. Two days prior to the walkout, Capell submitted a letter of resignation citing “increasing toxicity of the upper management culture,” setting her final day over a month later. According to a letter from the company signed by the Director of Retail Nathan Patrick Wirrig (posted on the Ballard store window, and depicted on Instagram), Slate terminated her employment that same day, citing the reason as a “no call, no show on 18 June 2019.”

In the wake of the incident, Sprudge has reached out to Coffee At Large, individuals associated with Coffee At Large, and Slate Coffee Roasters ownership for comment and clarification. Using the Coffee At Large email account, Samantha Capell wrote us a detailed message elaborating on the situation that led to last weekend’s walkout.

Excerpted from Capell’s email below:

[On the issue of unreceived pay]

One employee was shorted 3 paychecks over January and February. This issue still has not been resolved 4 months later, even after numerous attempts on the employees end (as well as the then-manager) pressing them to pay.

I was missing a paycheck from January 4th and after following up every week or so I received it in the middle of March. (At the same time I was looking for my paycheck, I was following up on one from another former employee who came in once or twice a week for months.) Every time she or I would follow up, the management would say they’d be delivering it, and it wouldn’t be there.

[On the issue of late pay]

This is so frequent it’s comical. Yesterday, in fact, one of the employees had to go in and request a paycheck when some people got their direct deposits and some didn’t. But this happens every three or four pay periods. We wait for our Friday deposit, all try to follow up after receiving nothing and are told that due to “the roaster being broken” or “too many timecards needing adjusting” checks will be delivered to cafes within the next few days. (Sometimes to cafes people don’t work at.)

[On the issue of hostile work environment]

(One issue was) the inability to set up meetings or reviews with management regarding working conditions or promised pay reviews. I was reprimanded for not following expectations that were never communicated to me. My job description changed without my awareness and I was reprimanded for such. One employee notes that when she complained about mistreatment to her manager, her manager reported it to the person it was regarding, and he called her out for it in the middle of a staff meeting.

[On the issue of offensive and discriminatory language]

Two former employees can attest to a member of upper management calling the building manager the C-word; one manager asked an ethnic employee if they had their green card; one manager mentioned that an employee was awfully skinny for a Mexican; one asked a former Mexican employee if she knew any Mexicans who would work for cheap to fix the floors; finally, since my resignation/termination, every person above the level of barista at Slate Coffee is a cis-gendered Male (in a company that tends to draw minority/non-binary/queer etc people).

Capell and others associated with Coffee At Large describe a series of misogynstic, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and anti-immigrant statements allegedly attributed to the management and/or ownership of Slate Coffee Roasters. In the course of our reporting over the last 48 hours, additional accounts similar to the above claims by Capell have been published publicly by former Slate employees on Instagram, and the collective membership of Coffee At Large continues to grow.

Sprudge has reached out to Slate for comment on the events of last weekend and Coffee At Large. No comment has been received as of press time, but the company did post the following message on Instagram, reprinted here in full:

To our Coffee Community:

​​We are saddened by the recent event of five baristas walking out on their cafes because of their personal unhappiness with Slate. As a family-owned business, we understand that tough conversations can turn into constructive growth. We will continue to to work collaboratively with our staff though meetings and revised standards to allow for more communication so to better shape our ways of doing business. This is something that we have been striving for in the past.

As in the past and moving forward, we are committed to building a thriving culture for all workers and member of our community. Just as we value sourcing coffees in alignment with sustainable and equitable practices, we are committed to building a culture, internal practices, and safe work environment in line with those values.

We intend to work through and understand the details and concerns made by our former employees and do not take the matter lightly. It is our intention to hold space for a thoughtful dialogue.

For the moment, we have limited Instagram comments so that we may address all questions, comments, thoughts, and concerns through email at press@slatecoffee.com.

Many thanks to our supportive guests, employees, and coffee industry partners and friends during this difficult time.

​​Lisanne Walker & Keenan Walker

This story is developing. 

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

Top image via Coffee At Large.

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Source: Coffee News

Build-Outs of Summer: Southdown Coffee In Oyster Bay, NY

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southdown coffee oyster bay new york

The crashing summer waves, the waving evening breeze, the softly breaking dawn, they whisper. Can you hear it? It’s the thrill of the build! The 2019 Build-Outs of Summer season is back, and we’re kicking things off the way any sensible city dweller might: by heading to Long Island. Oyster Bay, to be specific, where Southdown Coffee are prepping a second location, fresh off owner/founder Marc Boccard’s top three finish at the 2019 US Roasters Championship. This is a stunning new opening in an historic converted farmhouse, and we can think of no better way to kick off our biggest and best Build-Outs of Summer Season yet.

The 2019 Build-Outs of Summer is presented by Pacific Barista Series, notNeutral, KeepCup, and Mill City Roasters.

As told to Sprudge by Mark Boccard.

southdown coffee oyster bay new york

For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?

We opened in 2014 with our shop in the “Southdown” neighborhood of Huntington, NY. Most of the businesses at this small intersection are called “Southdown Pizza, Southdown Laundry, Southdown Market, etc etc,” so that’s how we cooked up the name. Technically I’m the sole owner of Southdown Coffee, though I always say “we” since I still have many people who’ve been with the company since the beginning and it’s such a group effort.

When we opened we were roasting as members of Pulley Collective, eventually purchased an Diedrich IR-12, and are now installing a new 15KG Mill City in our new space in Glen Cove, NY, which will give us *LOTS* more space for production, training, and QC. This year I took home 3rd place at US Roasters Championship which has definitely helped to generate a lot of interest in what we’re doing. In our cafes, we are focused on presenting people with beautifully roasted coffees at high standards of preparation, and maintaining an inviting atmosphere for our guests.

southdown coffee oyster bay new york

Can you tell us a bit about the new space?

The new space is in a historic homestead from 1810, which was recently purchased and is being heavily restored by the new owner. Much of the building was in disrepair and I think the general model of renovation was wise, gutting out tiny second floor spaces and creating cathedral ceilings to create a very open and fresh feeling, with plenty of original touches remaining so you still feel the age and character of the space.

Shortly after buying it, the owner reached out to lots of local (LI, NYC) graffiti artists and invited them to write on virtually every surface of the building. It caused a major uproar in the town, but ultimately started a great conversation about what to do with these historic treasures when they’re beyond repair. We’ve kept a few of the pieces and it definitely adds a very cool and unexpected layer of history to the space.

southdown coffee oyster bay new york

southdown coffee oyster bay new york

What’s your approach to coffee?

My approach starts with demanding progress from myself and my staff to make sure we’re always working harder at improving ourselves. My greatest failures have always turned into successes as long as I’ve been able to bury my ego and learn from my mistakes. So I guess the answer is that my approach is to keep learning and hope that the customers notice the hard work, which I believe they have!

Other than that, we’re probably not much different from most specialty companies these days, trying to bring in the nicest coffees we can afford, keeping things seasonally fresh and diverse for our customers. We serve pour-overs in the cafes and focus on single origins, though I’m having lots of fun playing with our new espresso blend as well. I start pretty much every day with a cup of batch brew.

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

Kees van der Westen Mirage, Mahlkönig K-30s and an EK43, a FETCO, a built-in Marco Hot Water Tower for pour-overs, and Mill City 15KG roaster.

southdown coffee oyster bay new york

How is your project considering sustainability?

We currently use compostable cups, straws, and packaging in all of our cafes. I’ve been looking into potential parters for carbon offsets for our coffee roasting. We discount coffee purchased with a reusable cup.

What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?

August 1st, 2019

Thank you!

Thank you!

southdown coffee oyster bay new york

Southdown Coffee is located at 49 Audrey Ave, Oyster Bay. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.

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Source: Coffee News

Cill Fisher: The Sprudge Twenty Interview

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Priscilla Fisher

Priscilla Fisher (Photo courtesy Priscilla Fisher)

Our coverage of the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series continues this week on Sprudge. Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.

Nominated by Grant Gamble

Cill Fisher is the co-founder of Floozy Coffee, an Australian coffee roasting and retail company based in Newcastle, New South Wales.

More information about Cill from Floozy Coffee’s website:

“Cill has a background in economics and women’s advocacy, and recently earned her Master’s in Economic Development based on a systematic review of women’s land rights in the coffee sector. Cill was invited to be a guest speaker at Beanstock Coffee Festival in Canada in 2018 to discuss inclusivity in the sector and has since been featured as a speaker at a number of other industry events promoting the role of women in the industry.”

“Floozy was founded in 2017 as a response to male bias in the coffee sector. Coffee roasting is male-dominated worldwide, as is the entire coffee supply chain. Cill and Kmac work to highlight and support female producers at origin, encourage other women coffee roasters, promote and train female baristas and coffee shop owners, and contribute to future gender disaggregated research within the sector. Floozy’s goal is to promote and advance the women in coffee, showcase the talents of the ladies in the industry, and train up future generations of badass coffee chicks.”

Floozy is at the forefront of fusing specialty coffee culture with feminism and social enterprise. Proceeds from both retail and wholesale coffee sales at Floozy have supported a range of women-centric charities and groups in its two years of operation, including the IWCA, SameCup, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and Carrie’s Place. Floozy’s coffee program highlights the work of emerging coffee producers worldwide, with a focus on women-owned coffee projects. Their coffee ships worldwide.

What issue in coffee do you care about most?

When my business partner Kmac and I decided to start Floozy, it was in response to the underrepresentation of women in coffee roasting. As we got deeper into our business, we discovered that gender inequality in the coffee sector was a major problem at all levels of the coffee supply chain, not just in roasting. At the core of my business and my academic work is the central theme of women’s empowerment. Floozy is focused around the empowerment of women in the coffee chain through purchasing and representation, and my research is concerned with understanding the tools and resources necessary for women in coffee to be able to empower themselves. Both of these aspects of my work contribute to a greater goal of achieving gender equality in the coffee sector.

What cause or element in coffee drives you?

My background is in women’s rights and economic development, so the persistent gender inequality at all levels of the coffee supply chain is definitely what gets me out of bed in the morning.

What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?

Since writing my Master’s thesis on women’s land rights in the coffee sector, it has become really apparent to me just how little we know about the rights and roles of women in coffee producing countries. So much of what we “know” about women in coffee stems from some really outdated and statistically invalid reports. There is a dire need for some quality research into women’s contribution to the coffee sector to better inform the way we purchase and consume coffee.

What is the quality you like best about coffee?

For me, coffee has always been less about the actual drink and more about the people behind it. The people who make coffee are my favorite kind of people.

Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?

Less “god-shot” more “god-barista” (if that makes sense which it probably totally doesn’t). First, my dear friend Clive in Armidale, who got me to cut down from a large skinny cap with two sugars to a large flat white. Then Kmac and Hal in Newcastle, who got me interested in the world of specialty coffee and trained me to order small flatties. And of course, Jacob and Peter at the Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, who introduced me to the magical world of filter coffee, tasting notes, brewing methods, and all that jazz.

What is your idea of coffee happiness?

Being able to spend time alone with a good book in a cafe that feels like home.

If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?

Obviously I love what I’m currently doing with Floozy, so that. I’d also love to get more involved with research, and will be kicking off a PhD next year.

Who are your coffee heroes?

When I first decided to be a coffee roaster, Talor Browne was the only female coffee roaster I knew of. I think she’s amazing and she has inspired me a lot on my journey, and I would totally say that she’s one of my heroes. Kmac is obviously one of my coffee heroes as well. She’s the one who sucked me into this industry in the first place! And of course my partner, Grant, whose passion for coffee is literally unparalleled (ask anybody).

If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Steffen Altmann, my behavioral economics professor from the University of Copenhagen. This man taught me the meaning of good research, and how to truly think critically. I’m sure I owe him a coffee or two.

If you didn’t get bit by the coffee bug, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

Before I accidentally became a coffee roaster, I was going down the path to be a behavioral labour economist. Sounds kinda boring in retrospect.

Do you have any coffee mentors?

I accidentally found myself a coffee mentor in Chris Tellez. We became besties when his cafe, Show & Tell (Kitchener, ON, Canada), bought our coffee. I flew over for a visit, we got matching tattoos, and now we chat almost every day about the struggles and triumphs of running a small business and everything in between. The first thing I see every morning when I wake up is a sign that reads “What Would Chris Tellez Do?”—powerful words to live by! Haha no but seriously the dude’s amazing and I look up to him a lot. That’s why I nominated him for the Sprudge 20!

What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first starting out in coffee?

I’m so stubborn that honestly it wouldn’t have mattered. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but had plenty of wins too. I think the most important thing is just not to take ourselves too seriously. And that excluding someone or looking down on them for not being Melbourne-enough is actually not that cool. We all belong in coffee, whether we know everything or nothing.

Name three coffee apparatuses you’d take into space with you.

If I can afford to go to space I can probably afford to commission a Kalita 155 in pink. And maybe my Loring. And a Nespresso machine for when things get desperate.

Best song to brew coffee to:

The Crazy Frog by Axel F or anything by the Dixie Chicks. Duh.

Look into the crystal ball—where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I haven’t even been in coffee for two years yet, so seriously, who knows!

What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?

I only eat breakfast on my days off, and they’re pretty rare, but it was super nice to actually have breakfast cooked for me by my boyfriend today! Otherwise it’s normally a flattie followed by too many cups of batch brew.

When did you last drink coffee?

Earlier today!

What was it?

First was a fun Colombian by our friends at Morgon Coffee Roasters in Sweden, and then a French press of Floozy Daddy Issues I found in the back of my cupboard that was roasted almost two months ago. (Side note: how many other coffee roasters out there forget to take coffee home with them?!)

Our coverage of the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series. Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.

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

The post Cill Fisher: The Sprudge Twenty Interview appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Help Puerto Rico’s Finca El Teatro Become A Working Farm Again

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Finca El Teatro is a 15-acre farm in Las Marias, Puerto Rico that grows coffee, bananas, plantains, yams, and malanga lila. Or at least it did until 2017, when Hurricane Maria devastated it. Because of the advancing age of farm owner Don Antonio Román, Finca El Teatro has sat dormant, unable to produce, with the 80-year old Don Antonio surviving on social security.

But now, a GoFundMe page has been created to help the Román family get the capital they need to return Finca El Teatro into a working farm.

The crowdfunding campaign was started by Belto Román Rodríguez, Don Antonio’s grandson, whose employment with the American Red Cross renders Finca El Teatro ineligible for aid from the organization due to a conflict of interest, per the GoFundMe page. This led Belto to search of other means to raise the funds needed for this grandfather’s farm.

With the GoFundMe, Belto is hoping to raise $60,000 that will go toward:

Home repair
Plow machine
Fix the load bus
Construction of fence for control of theft and wild pigs
Tools and light equipment
Tree crusher
Cleaning of trees for land preparation
Animal feed, fertilizer, and organic fertilizers

As of the time of publication, the campaign has raised just over $300 in two days. For more information on Finca El Teatro, visit their GoFundMe page.

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

Top image via the Finca El Teatro GoFundMe page

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Source: Coffee News

Inside Regalia Roasting Collective, A Shared Roasting Space In Long Island City

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regalia roasting collective long island new york

In a city full of self-starters and go-getters, New York is an ongoing contributor to the growing sentiment that “everyone’s a roaster now.” This caffeine-fueled entrepreneurial jungle is continuously teeming with aspiring business owners, new cafes, and roasting companies despite the city’s continual crunch for real estate. It’s no wonder WeWork and other shared-facility co-working communities thrive in a landscape with a lack of affordable space. Paolo and Chisato Maliksi’s Regalia Roasting Collective is the next logical step in the coffee chain—it’s a shared roasting space and wholesale venture for both brand new coffee professionals and those venturing over from the restaurant world.

The Maliksis launched Regalia in a Long Island City in 2018, located below the owners’ own apartment. Their intention is to provide a welcoming space for aspiring roasters, but particularly those in the rest of the food and beverage world. Additionally, Maliksi wanted to give more creative and financial freedom to businesses outside of what coffee wholesale programs have to offer them.

regalia roasting collective long island new york

Paolo and Chisato Maliksi

“I pretty much think that every specialty coffee roaster provides an à la carte menu and makes you buy from that à la carte menu, and if we just think about it like that, there’s nothing really specialized about that,” Paolo Maliksi says. “It’s just like, ‘Here are my offerings. Please buy [them]. And we’ll do the best we can to ensure that you continue to make it taste good.’”

Regalia gives clients the power to take full reign of their own supply. They not only teach interested parties how to roast, but also how to source their own green coffee. The first taste is free: Regalia offers a complimentary introductory two-hour roasting session to get themselves familiarized with Regalia’s 15kg Mill City roaster, along with their QC accessories—a Decent DE1Pro, Mahlkönig EK43, FETCO CBS 1131 V+, refractometry equipment, moisture analyzer, cupping equipment, and various minerals for building water. They also offer climate-controlled green storage and green coffee pickup from New Jersey’s Continental Terminals—acting as “the Uber of Coffee,” as Maliksi says.

regalia roasting collective long island new york

“The mission is to lower the barrier into entry into roasting,” Maliksi says. “It used to be this secret, invite-only, you’re not ready for roasting kind of thing. But people can come in, they can go through the session. If they say it’s not for them, now they know about it. We are not just about renting the roaster to other people who want to start companies. We are out there to rent the roaster to cafes and bakeries.”

To hone his focus, Maliksi first studied current roasting collective operations worldwide, including Pulley Collective (with locations in Brooklyn and Oakland). Combining the cost of a dedicated roasting space, green coffee and storage, and workers’ hourly wages, Maliksi sees the shared Regalia space as a way for business owners to offer true specialty roasting experience at a fraction of the cost of starting a brand new facility. However, if the idea of roasting remains daunting despite the savings, Regalia offers “ghost roasting” toll services and private labeling, along with a subscription service of their own roasts. There’s also a traditional wholesale coffee program with outsourced tech support and weekend open houses for clients to showcase their offerings to the public.

On a regular weekday, a visit to Regalia shows one person roasting, and perhaps another one in the corner packaging their own offerings, while another is busy cupping their latest batches and trying to get feedback from you. With upcoming plans to bring in other complementary businesses to the space (e.g. graphic and interior designers), the Maliksis see Regalia becoming a bigger community moving forward—in step, it would seem, with coffee itself.

Regalia Roasting Collective is located at 39-02 Crescent St, Long Island City. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

Katrina Yentch is a Sprudge contributor based in New York City and the online editor for Barista Magazine. Read more Katrina Yentch on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

A Coffee Drinker’s Guide To Leeds

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leeds england uk coffee guide

Some Yorkshire natives frequently describe the area as “God’s own county,” which suggests they’re not shy of sharing the virtues of this northern English region. Leeds is Yorkshire’s largest city, which may explain the loud and proud approach of many locals when their home is the subject.

That said, the place does have a fair bit to shout about. Formerly an industrial powerhouse built on the milling trade, Leeds has evolved to become the country’s second-largest financial and legal hub, with four universities fueling growth across different sectors.

Previously dubbed “the United Kingdom’s fastest-growing city,” Leeds now blends historic houses of commerce like the 1857 Kirkgate Market—one of the largest in Europe—with designer developments such as Trinity Leeds. But fortunately, it’s not all big brands. Recent years have seen the city’s independent economy thrive, and this is evident in the ever-expanding set of places to pick up a great coffee.

Locals appreciate this daily, whether they’re working on deals, dissertations, or just feel tired from worrying over when Leeds United will finally awake from slumber and win promotion back to the Premier League. But the city’s well worth a stop for tourists too, particularly as its cultural, sporting, and social attractions are a straightforward train trip from London, Edinburgh, Manchester, or York. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but if you feel your energy dipping as you wander across this lively city, it includes some of the best places to grab a brew and recharge.

leeds england uk coffee guide

La Bottega Milanese

A man in an immaculate shirt and tie dispenses drinks and “Ciaos” in perfect synchrony. Customers sip cappuccinos while standing at tiny tables. People in suits breeze past naked lightbulbs and concrete pillars. That instrumental funk you’re imagining? It’s playing.

You might be in Leeds, but the stylish La Bottega Milanese does its best to capture something of the city it’s named after. Espresso comes from two La Marzocco Linea Classic Pros, and the drinks menu proudly wears its Italian heritage, with traditional nods including an affogato and a liqueur-spiked espresso corretto.

The “off-peak” service section offers AeroPress and V60 cups too, and more modern tastes are reflected in the range of non-dairy milk and matcha, beetroot, and turmeric lattes. One of three grinders will presumably always hold La Bottega’s own La Classica blend, but recent guest espresso came courtesy of Darkwoods Coffee, based only 25 miles from Leeds.

If you plan to stop for more than a quick caffeine hit, you might find yourself tempted by the counter of savory and sweet Italian treats. Do chocolate cannoli taste just as good regardless of which country you’re in? There’s only one way to be sure.

La Bottega Milanese has multiple locations in Leeds. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


leeds england uk coffee guide

North Star Coffee Shop & General Store

Want to escape the city buzz and wander by some water? A 20-minute walk from the central train station, North Star lies just off the River Aire on Leeds Dock. While the company has been roasting coffee since 2013, the cafe opened its doors less than two years ago.

The outside seating might not always be your first choice (Yorkshire isn’t famous for its climate), but the tranquil interior provides an ideal opportunity to relax with a drink. A piccolo with North Star’s Burundi Maruri Natural was the best coffee of my last weekend in Leeds, and the shelves were full of more offerings from Peru, Rwanda, and El Salvador. A La Marzocco Linea PB sits on the light wood counter—there are always two espresso choices—while filter comes from Marco SP9 brewers.

Noisette Bakehouse takes care of the food here: breakfast and lunch plus highly photogenic cakes and pastries. The “General Store” features plenty of coffee equipment next to various food and drink products, and the menu also includes beers from some of Leeds’s superb breweries. One of which—Northern Monk—has a bar that is only a short stroll back up the riverside …

North Star Coffee Shop & General Store is located at 33 Leeds Dock, The Boulevard, LS10 1PZ. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

leeds england uk coffee guide

Layne’s Espresso

Something of an early fixture on the Leeds specialty coffee scene, an unmistakable orange front gives way to a clean, minimal space. (Is it possible to say that a venue opened in 2011 has a rather “classic” feel? Maybe in this industry.)

Layne’s baristas serve espresso from a Synesso MVP, with batch and pour-over brews also on the board. London’s Square Mile regularly provides the coffee here, but the V60 was recently loaded with a single-origin Colombian from Round Hill Roastery in southwest England.

Being around the corner from Leeds Station means Layne’s is often busy, but the apparently compact layout benefits from chilled out basement seating. The main service area provides contrasting viewing opportunities: will you choose a window pew and look out on bustling commuters, or turn inwards to see plates proceed from the open kitchen? The food includes brunch comforts such as Turkish eggs and buckwheat pancakes, as well as coffee complements from fellow Leeds business Porterhouse Cake Co.

Given its people-watching potential—and how tough it can be to find good coffee in the United Kingdom after 5pm—it’s worth knowing that Layne’s is open until 7pm weekdays, 6pm weekends.

Layne’s Espresso is located at 16 New Station Street, LS1 5DL. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


leeds england uk coffee guide

Temple Coffee & Donuts

Though it sits on an unremarkable lot among garages and petrol stations, this is a popular fuel stop to the west of the city’s financial district. Savvy work on branding and social media is reflected on the premises, where the décor’s as bright as the rainbow of donuts at the counter. If you don’t plan on dunking one of these in your drink, they can be carried away for later in equally fresh pink and green boxes.

Still, it’s not a case of style over substance. Coffee–from East London’s Dark Arts–flows smoothly from a three-group La Marzocco Strada, with batch-brew filter available. Vegan caffeine fiends might appreciate that the swap to oat milk is free, which is not the case in some other city shops. It makes sense here though: all the donuts are vegan, as is the ice cream.

leeds england uk coffee guide

A couple of iced coffee options sit alongside more alternative specials, including the “Purple Haze: lavender steamed milk with floral flavors.” There’s less in the way of coffee equipment for sale, but there is a wall of branded merch should you desire a cafe-related souvenir of your stay in Leeds.

Temple Coffee & Donuts is located at 3 Burley Place, LS4 2AR. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

leeds england uk coffee guide

Kapow Coffee

Its renown as a shopping destination means that each weekend crowds hit Leeds in search of glitzy goods. If that all gets too much, you can stop here in the smaller Thornton’s Arcade, and find an oasis of relaxed style and substance.

Kapow’s downstairs area is snug, with a couple of small tables and some window seats. This means customers have the option of chatting with the friendly staff, who knock out espresso on a Kees van der Westen Mirage Duette. Pour-overs are on hand too; a honey-processed Ethiopian from Echelon Coffee Roasters was fresh and floral on my latest stop.

Echelon was one of several Leeds-based coffee brands stocked on that visit. Maude Coffee Roasters—last seen plotting another specialty venue for Leeds, titled Fwd Coffee—was also among the many retail bags in the window. This suggests a laudable commitment to the locality, despite the house espresso being provided by London’s Union Coffee.

Customers who pass the small but well-filled cabinet of goodies—plenty of gluten-free options alongside decadent brownies from Leeds’s Brown & Blond—can enjoy a peaceful hour on two airy additional floors, with artwork dotting the walls throughout.

Kapow Coffee has multiple locations in Leeds. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


leeds england uk coffee guide

Opposite Cafe

This unfussy pit-stop between the city centre and the student areas of Hyde Park and Headingley has been around longer than many of the specialty spots in Leeds: a sign informs passers-by that Opposite has been “Smashing out amazing coffee since 2005.”

The Cafe lies—funnily enough—opposite the main campus of the University of Leeds and therefore fuels the toil of students and staff throughout the day. But this isn’t an extension of the library: the easygoing vibe means many tables are free of textbooks, and the helpful baristas are just as accommodating to customers from further afield. Dropping in on a weekday afternoon, I was handed a super-smooth oat milk flat white, and suggestions for other worthy cafes in the city.

Here, Union Coffee is fed into a La Marzocco Linea PB, with batch-brew from the likes of North Star. Tempting homemade cakes are bolstered by strong pastry work from another Yorkshire city; cinnamon buns and more are sent up from Sheffield’s Cawa Bakery. Back in Leeds, Opposite could provide a handy pause on the way to an intimate gig at the Brudenell Social Club, or a film at the beautiful Hyde Park Cinema.

Opposite Cafe has multiple locations in Leeds. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


leeds england uk coffee guide

Cielo Coffee House

Though Leeds has certainly improved in the last few years, it’s not always easy to find a quality cup away from more central parts. Happily, this outpost in the eastern area of Garforth has been roasting and pouring coffee for more than a decade, and has retained its upbeat atmosphere.

This might be down to the owners’ commitment to giving their profits to other local organizations, or their volunteer program, which helps young people gain coffee skills that can lead to paid employment.

It would be a shame if the product didn’t match the principles, but thankfully it deserves a mention too. All of Cielo’s coffee is roasted on site, and an April trip to Uganda was planned to build more direct relationships with importers. Espresso is dispensed from a La Marzocco FB80, and the house choice is rotated regularly.

Nearby French bakery Dumouchel supplies excellent pastries, and those wanting a sugar fix might also eye the hot chocolates, often served swaying with cream and chunks of sweet snacks. Cielo is a heartening example of a neighborhood independent that has survived the nationwide deluge of awful-to-average chain coffee.

Cielo Coffee House has multiple locations in Leeds. Visit the official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Martin Flynn is a freelance journalist based in Sheffield. This is Martin Flynn’s first feature for Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

Coffee Design: Paper Cup Drawings With Moonsub Shin

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Freelance illustrator Moonsub Shin is turning single-use paper cups into works of art. Born and raised in South Korea, Moonsub Shin moved to New York City in 2007 and began drawing on paper cups in 2017. Drawing interiors, coffee gear, and baristas, Moonsub Shin captures the vibe and subtle details of each cafe. We’ve seen cups pop-up on display on counters in Portland and New York. We connected via email to learn more.

Interview edited and condensed for clarity.

Moonsub Shin

We first met you as you were illustrating on a coffee cup at the New York Coffee Festival last year. How long have you been drawing on coffee cups?

I call it “Paper-cup Drawing” and it’s been two years since I started the project.

We’ve seen your cups proudly displayed at cafes around the world. How many cups have you illustrated since you’ve started this project?

I don’t count the exact numbers of the cup drawings. I think they might be about 300.


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Fully getting the taste of Coffee, Music and Space + the barista who is well fitted suspenders outfit Cafe “immute” @_immute 신사동 골목길에 카페인지도 잘 모르고 지나칠 수 있는 카페 하지만 그냥 지나치기엔 매력넘치는 카페 immute @_immute 서스팬더가 아주 잘 어울리는 사장님께서 음악과 함께 내어주시는 커피는 다시 찾아오게 만들만큼 매력적이었다 그리고… 컵은 그리기가 어렵지 않게 겉코팅이 없었다 #너무좋았다고한다🤣🤣🤣 _ _ #페이퍼컵드로잉 #papercupdrawing #일러스트레이션 #드로잉 #페이퍼컵아트 #그림 #카페 #커피 #서울 #신사 #임뮤트 #illustration #drawing #sketch #moonsketch #papercup #papercupart #seoul #cafe #coffee #cupart #sinsa #immute

A post shared by Moonsub (@moonsub) on Apr 23, 2019 at 3:39am PDT

How long does it take to complete a coffee cup illustration?

It usually takes 30 minutes but sometimes takes an hour. It depends on the conditions. Capacities of the cup, cup’s surface, and what I want to draw on it.

You spend your time in South Korea and New York City—where are some of your favorite places to drink coffee in those places?

Here are some of my favorite cafes in both cities:

NYC – Partners Coffee, Devocion, Coffee Project NY, Felix Roasting Company

Seoul – Fritz Coffee Company, Manufact Coffee, Gray Gristmill

That is such a difficult question. Both cities have so many great cafes. It’s so hard to pick only some cafes. Actually, my home is the best place to enjoy coffee because I can do whatever I want!

What are you brewing at home now?

I’m drinking iced pour-over coffee. The coffee is Costa Rica Perla Del Cafe Typica Natural, roasted by Fritz Coffee Company in Seoul. Usually I also make espresso, cappuccino, latte, and cold brew at home.

How do you make it?

I’m using a Breville BES 860XL for espresso-based coffee, Hario V60, Chemex, and HOLZKLOTZ for the pour-over coffee, Bean Plus Cold Brew Coffeemaker for the cold brew. Wow… now I realize I have a lot of gear.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have a few freelance jobs. Some jobs are related to cafes and others are not. Paper-cup Drawing is my on-going project. Also, I’m preparing the essay-illustration book.

Can you tell us more about the essay-illustration book?

Oh, it’s really in the beginning steps. It is about the NYC cafes I love. Try to share my experiences about them from the illustrator’s point of view. I don’t want the book to be a “coffee evaluation book.” I just want to show how NYC cafes are great. Of course, it will contain many illustrations I draw.

Looking forward to it! Thanks, Moonsub!

Photos courtesy Moonsub Shin.

The post Coffee Design: Paper Cup Drawings With Moonsub Shin appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

The 12 Host Cities For The US Coffee Champs Preliminaries Have Been Announced

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We’re still in the afterglow of the 2019 coffee competition season and it’s already time to turn our attention to 2020 with today’s announcement of the host locations for the US Coffee Champs preliminary rounds. 12 in total, the prelims take place all across the country between late July and early October, and for the first time all five coffee competitions are represented, each at no less than four host locations.

Organized and hosted by local communities, each of the host events offer coffee professionals a chance to take part in competition while keeping a relatively low barrier to entry. For each event, competition necessities are being provided by the hosts, including coffee, equipment, wares, the required alcohol (for Coffee in Good Sprits), green coffee (for Roasters), and even a small selection of brewing devices. Competitors are allowed to bring their own grinders and serving ware if they so please, but it is not required.

The dates, host cities, and competitions are:

July 26: Honolulu, HI — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup
August 2: Huntersville, NC — Coffee in Good Spirits, Roasters Championship
August 9: Seattle, WA — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup
August 16: Atlanta, GA — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup
August 23: S. Plainfield, NJ — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Cup Tasters
August 23: Denver, CO — Cup Tasters, Roasters Championship
September 6: Richmond, VA — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Coffee in Good Spirits
September 6: Portland, OR — Cup Tasters, Roasters Championship
September 27: Austin, TX — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup
September 27: Houston, TX — Cup Tasters
October 4: Rancho Cucamonga, CA — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, Roasters Championship
October 11: Rogers, AR — Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters

Competitor registration opens on July 1st. An online training session for each event will take place on the following dates:

June 27, 12:00pm PST: Roasters Championship
June 28, 12:00pm PST: Coffee in Good Spirits
July 1, 11:00am PST: Barista Championship
July 1, 1:00pm PST: Cup Tasters
July 2, 11:00am PST: Brewers Cup

For more information on the preliminary events, the host cities, the rules, or just anything else competition-related, visit the US Coffee Champs official website.

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

Top image via the US Coffee Champs

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Source: Coffee News

Iggy Goes Stumptown: A New Coffee Collab With The Godfather Of Punk

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Punk is in the bones of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee. They are, after all, the only coffee brand we are aware of that has their own skateboarding team, a team that is more Thrasher than Tony Hawk Pro Skater. So when Stumptown decides to collaborate with a musician, it should come as no surprise when they seek out a legend of the American punk world. And that’s exactly what they did their newest special addition coffee, the Indonesia Bies Penantan, created in cooperation with none other than King Stooge himself Iggy Pop.

For those unfamiliar with the musical stylings of Iggy Pop—a man who never met a shirt he couldn’t not put on—you may know him for his rather prolific acting career, including a vignette alongside Tom Waits in Jim Jarsuch’s aptly-named Coffee and Cigarettes, or what’s more likely, you recognize him as Curve from The Crow: City of Angels, one of the greatest movies of our age and I’ll hear nothing to the contrary. He’s been nominated for multiple Grammy’s (and a Razzie), he influenced generations of musicians, and even served as the basis for Ewan McGregor’s character in Velvet Goldmine. And now he’s lending his influence to coffee.

Officially released today, the wet-hulled collaboration coffee comes from the province of Aceh, Sumatra by the woman-led Ketiara Cooperative. According to the website, the coffee has “notes of dates, nutmeg, and a long, chocolatey finish,” and the 12-ounce bags were designed by Iggy himself. The coffee pairs best with “Iggy Pop Drinks Espresso,” a Spotify playlist of some of Stumptown’s favorite songs by the artist.

Per the press release, “a portion of proceeds from the sale of this bag will go to the Girls Rock Camp Alliance… an international network of organizations which work towards empowering youth who experience gender-based oppression through the radical prism of music.”

The limited release Indonesia Bies Penantan retails for $19 an 12-ounce bag and can be purchased at any Stumptown cafe as well as through their website.

So if you’ve got a Lust For Light Roast or want a little Gimme! Danger, pick up a bag of the new Indonesia Bies Penantan.

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

Top image via Stumptown

Disclosure: Stumptown Coffee is an advertising partner with the Sprudge Media Network. 

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Source: Coffee News

Nicole Battefeld: The Sprudge Twenty Interview

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Nicole Battefeld — Röststätte of Berlin, Germany

Welcome to The Sprudge Twenty Interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series. For a complete list of 2019 Sprudge Twenty honorees please visit sprudge.com/twenty.

Nominated by Melanie Boehme

Nicole Battefeld is the head roaster and barista team leader at Berlin’s Röststätte. A former professional chef, Battefeld is the 2018 German Barista Champion and the founder of the Female Barista Society, “a project to encourage women by sharing knowledge and passion for coffee.” The Society is currently raising funds to offer free education, technical training, and other opportunities to womxn and female-identified coffee professionals in Germany and beyond.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

What issue in coffee do you care about most?

It’s hard to name one… but if I would have to choose I’d say education. It’s the most boring thing in the world to just read books about processing and farming and roasting, origins and techniques, but I think it is the most important part BEFORE you start working as a barista. People can then understand the whole complexion of this trade much better.

What cause or element in coffee drives you?

Becoming better at what I do. Obviously competing is a different side of the normal barista work and very far away from reality, but it just really pushes me to always become better and to get a stage where I can share passion and hopefully inspire one or two other people to learn more about what coffee actually is and why it means so much to me.

What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?

Besides the fact that women are still underrepresented in leading positions in the big coffee industry, I think there should be an open discussion if the “barista profession” should be more like an official educational apprenticeship. Being a chef took me three years of training, but becoming a barista in a paid barista position takes just three days of a paid seminar? And people do believe that they are actually baristas after three days of learning how to use an espresso machine and paying way too much money.

I also think that’s our biggest problem. It’s so easy to work in a coffee shop. So many students do it and it just loses its value. If people realize how much know-how you actually need to be a professional, they would respect us more and we would at the same time probably get paid much better.

What is the quality you like best about coffee?

It connects people. Every day. And at the same time, it’s the perfect companion when you want to be alone. I can not name one just one quality, I am too obsessed with the topic and due to all the competitions, I have changed the way I look at coffee completely. It’s like I am in a relationship with it. Sometimes I just don’t understand it. It makes me frustrated. And also a lot of the times it makes me calm, happy, it helps me be the person that I want to be. The biggest benefit of coffee is: it always surprises me. It opens doors and opportunities and never gets boring.

Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?

I think I’m not one of the “big wow moment” people. When I was 18 it just started and never left.

What is your idea of coffee happiness?

I have two ideas.

Number one: I meet international coffee people and can connect, be nerdy, have fun with people I would have probably never met in my entire life and every time there are events that evolve around coffee I feel truly like I am meeting a bunch of old friends, which makes me very very happy.

Number two: sitting in my kitchen next to the window drinking a filter coffee and just watching the people on the street.

If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?

If I could choose I would like to work as a barista for two days, as a roaster for one day, as a marketing assistant for one day, and one day I would just give trainings. I am pretty happy that I can kind of like do that at my current job, but I would just like to do all these things for one day so I could focus on them more whilst I am doing them.

Who are your coffee heroes?

There are so many! There are people that inspire me now, every day and I will never forget how I watched Erna Tosberg in 2015 on the screen during her German barista competition. I guess she was when it all started. Otherwise, my bosses at Röststätte are pretty intense. They literally dedicated their whole life to their company and running it so successful since many many years. Their stubbornness and hard work is definitely inspiring me every day.

If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Jordan Montgomery. Because there is no one else in the world I would rather drink coffee with and luckily he’s pretty alive.

If you didn’t get bit by the coffee bug, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

I’d probably still work as a chef in a star restaurant. Would I be happy is the question.

Do you have any coffee mentors?

Hmm… I have a lot of people that are my mentors in different situations. What has been very consistent are my supporters and I guess that’s what helps me the most. It feels good when you know there are people that have your back.

What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first starting out in coffee?

To learn more and to educate myself more. I mean I have done it but it took a long time until I found out about specialty coffee and what’s behind it. I feel like I’ve lost all those years when I meet baristas that are much younger than me and know so much and have already done many many degrees.

Name three coffee apparatuses you’d take into space with you.

Ok, let’s be honest. If I would go to space I would swap the water that was meant to be for the coffee with champagne, I would probably swap the coffee that I was meant to be brewing with illegal substances and I would swap the coffee equipment with a turntable. I mean, when in space…

Best song to brew coffee to:

Crazy by Aerosmith. It just came into my head so guess that’s my answer.

Look into the crystal ball—where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself with my pig Rolfi (obviously I will adopt a pig one day) in my own crazy little coffee shop, hopefully working the positions from question number 7.

What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?

A cheese croissant, still warm, so buttery that the paper bag could never disguise the evil deed I am doing to my cholesterol levels.

When did you last drink coffee?

Today at 4pm when I finished training for this year’s World Coffee In Good Spirits competition.

What was it?

That is so evil! Well obviously it was in one of my cocktails so now I don’t know if it counts… but it was a Panama Caturra and incredible!

Thank you. 

The Sprudge Twenty is presented by Pacific Barista Series. For a complete list of 2019 Sprudge Twenty honorees please visit sprudge.com/twenty

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

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Source: Coffee News