Coffee made in sand

Fact: Turkey also built the first coffee houses in the 15th century.

Warm coffee ☕


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These owls in a Tokyo cafe are named after musician and band names 🦉

James Mollison of TOPIC ventured into one of Tokyo's animal cafes where you can sip your coffee with your animal of choice (cats, dogs, and rabbits). But this coffee shop was a little different.

Tokyo’s Pakuchi Bar is apparently one of eight owl cafes in the big city. The owner, Tomo Nanaka, owns 30 of them which she allows in public on the weekends and on special holidays. Even more, she's named them after musicians and bands.

Below are a some of my favorite.

From left to right: Kurt Cobain, The Chemical Brothers, Beck, and The Cure.

There's a video too.

(All images via James Mollison)


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The race to save coffee

“Coffee is the common man's gold…”

Sheik Abd-al-Kabir ‘In praise of coffee' (1587)

We take coffee for granted.

Judging by the ubiquity of Starbucks stores, you'd think that coffee was abundant. But the coffee we like to drink, the fruity-tasting coffee arabica, is projected to decline given the dual pressures of climate change which reduces suitable land to grow coffee and the ever-growing human demand for a “cup of joe.”

So how do we grow more coffee?

We breed new varieties. Right now, there are over 3,000 distinct varieties of watermelon and only 36 breeds of coffee. Organizations like World Coffee Research have begun a version of plant sex (i.e., swapping pollen) to bloom a new type of arabica coffee that can resist drought and high temperatures. Through a process called molecular breeding (non-GMO), the team will spend a decade screening baby plants trying to nail down the right formula of seeds it can distribute to the world's farmers.


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London’s first coffee ad (1652) ☕️

In 1652, London's St. Michael's Alley became the first cafe in London to sell coffee.

As author Tom Standage points out in his book [easyazon_link identifier=”1620402858″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years[/easyazon_link], coffee houses were the original social networks and MOOCS where people mingled, studied, and exchanged ideas.

Learn more at Open Culture.


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Design creates function

jordan-sanchez-57552.jpg

First, we design, then we deduce.

Starbucks built cafes with the intent to recreate the romance of Italian coffee shops to convince you to buy a mediocre cup of coffee. Apple makes computers to empower its users to create stuff, whether it's movie animations, apps, or spreadsheets.

Design creates function. As Austrian architect, Hermann Czech writes, “The ‘function’ does not precede the design, but is always only mediated in the design.” We don't need to spin our own narrative into knowing why a design works, just that it does, “as music must be perceivable by the ears.” It's undeniably felt.

In other words, a good piece of work needs no further explanation. Trying to make sense of it compounds the inherent nature in which it exists.


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Moleskine opens up a coffee shop in Milan


Moleskine opened up its first official store in Milan, Italy. I'm looking forward to the day it comes stateside. Ever since Barnes and Noble downsized and closed a bunch of stores, Starbucks and Peet's have been the only consistent go-to coffee houses for getting work done. 

While coffee shops were the original social networks, Tom Standage points out, coffee shops today represent a ‘third place,' between work and home. They provide just the right frequency of sound to inspire creativity and focus without having to the extremes– the bar for socializing or the library to work in silence. 

America needs more cafes. And not the trendy ones that prohibit wifi and computer outlets. People want think and get shit done, even if it's a mindless activity like checking email. 


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