A refined, convenient, sustainable solution to pour-over coffee—made entirely in the USA
by Hans Aschim in Design on 12 March 2014
In recent years, pour-over coffee has become the new standard for those looking to get the most from their morning cup. While the stripped-down method of brewing brings out the richest flavor profile from the beans, it's not always the most convenient method—especially for multiple cups or entertaining. The crew of coffee-professionals-turned-entrepreneurs at Portland-based Able Brewing presents their answer to streamlining and beautifying the pour-over experience, the Kone Brewing System.
Able's brewing system hinges on its popular Kone filter. Born out of a coffee lover's nightmare (running out of filters), the stainless steel, perfectly cone-shaped filter offers a solution that is both sustainable, cost effective and ultimately produces a better cup of Joe. Unlike paper, stainless steel allows more oils from the coffee to filter through, allowing for a fuller, bolder taste.
For the brewing process, Able produced a sort of nesting system that houses the filter over the serving carafe. A sturdy, rubber heat-grip means easy handling of the filter chamber. After brewing the coffee, the top chamber is removed and the sealed lid put on to ensure the coffee stays hot. The two chamber system also results in hassle-free serving of up to 32 ounces of some of the finest homebrew.
Manufactured and designed in the US in partnership with a local Portland ceramics studio, the Kone Brewing System is as aesthetically pleasing as it is user-friendly. Cleaning is as easy emptying the grounds and rinsing out the filter. The team at Able is also passionate about creating products that are refined, sustainable and accessible.
Available in white and grey and made entirely in the US, the Kone Brewing System starts at $120. Check out Able's online store for more innovative pour-over products including their reusable cone and Aeropress filters.
Photos by Hans Aschim
A new kind of journal, designed by different artists every season, that's meant to be judged by its cover
Just about every bookstore has that one display of notebooks up by the register; filled with the same, cookie-cutter selection of bound paper. The journals aren't so much dated as they are uninspiring. Thus, we're happy to have come across Plumb, a new brand of notebooks designed by artists. They are the creation of San Francisco-based artist Tucker Nichols, who would hack store-bought journals to create ones that better suited him. Soon, neighboring creative studio MacFadden and Thorpe and the design-driven gift company Knock Knock from Venice, CA, hopped on board. Together, they conjured up a concept: each season, Plumb would ask three artists to create notebooks based on their desires and visions—and the sky's the limit.
The artists who designed the inaugural batch are Nichols himself, LA-based collaborative drawing project Sumi Ink Club and painter Katherine Bradford, who divides her time between Brooklyn and Maine. All three have taken different approaches to creating a notebook, with the results ranging from a tiny journal that fits in your back pocket to an art box that's intended to encourage scrapbooking.
"The artists so far have embraced the forms themselves; the format, the covers, and the how the books are bound," Nichols says. "Katherine Bradford’s Titanic sketchbook has colored paper with unexpected perforations that might change how people draw on two pages at once. Two of the notebooks I did have DayGlo dyed edges, and the texture of the Dot Notebook cover feels sleek and weird. Sometimes a quirky but intentional detail makes a thing feel just right in your hands."
We should all be asking artists to help us solve problems outside of what they normally do.
Nichols, along with MacFadden and Thorpe, have collaborated before with the CH favorite, The Thing Quarterly—an experience that proved to be quite inspirational. "I love how Jonn and Will talk to artists and think about art. And so to some extent, Plumb was created with The Thing in mind. I think we share a suspicion that we should all be asking artists to help us solve problems outside of what they normally do. We need all of the creative thinking we can get at this point."
Nichols emphasizes how important choosing the right notebook is for a specific trip or project, but notes that it's less about "nifty features" and more about the overall feeling. That said, certain components can prove helpful: "I tend to work on a lot of things at once, so my main notebook works much better if it has tabbed edges for different projects. So I’ve been cutting tabs into existing notebooks. I also use tape on the cover to show the orientation of the book because it feels pretty lame to open up your notebook upside down."
"I couldn't guess at this point how many notebooks I’ve filled," says Nichols. "I'm not very consistent, and there have been long stretches where I am almost entirely index card-based. But I have shelves full of filled notebooks. Retrieving ideas from them isn’t that important to me. It’s more that I want to get something down. Once it’s down, it’s in play, even if I don’t go back to it or remember it."
Whether you're rewriting a scene for a play, sketching a 3D print prototype or simply jotting down a reminder for lunch, Plumb notebooks feel like a "home base" rather than an afterthought. We're particularly enamored with the Day + Night set of journals by Sumi Ink Club, which accommodate the different sides of yourself—whether you're channeling Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde.
Plumb launches its e-commerce site today, 12 March 2014, with notebooks starting at $10. The next batch will be designed by Linda Geary, Jason Polan and Nathaniel Russell (whose work was recently featured in our round-up of 2014 calendars) and will be released this summer.
Photos of Dot and Mini Superhero notebook, Sumi Ink Club art box by Nara Shin, all others courtesy of Plumb Goods
On the eve of their one-year anniversary, we visit the publication's Hudson, NY office and EIC Ann Marie Gardner
by David Graver in Culture on 12 March 2014
With their latest print issue now in stores and hordes of dedicated daily online readers (CH staff included), Modern Farmer continues to delight in its quest to make people aware of the path their food takes from farm to plate. With a brilliant voice, ever-important stories and design mastery in both their print and online components, it's equal parts charming and relevant. They've taught us about garden salad vending machines and occupied more time than we'd care to admit with their live animal cams. (It's currently Pig Week.) But behind it all, an engaging staff sits two hours north of NYC making it all work. CH traveled up to Hudson, New York to talk once more with Editor in Chief Ann Marie Gardner and scope out the headquarters for America's hottest farming publication.
On Warren Street—in the historic riverside town known in its earlier days as a hub for whalers—large white walls are offset by a smattering of antique furniture and the buzzing energy of a print and digital publication come to life. Two large dogs greet visitors while a third rests quietly in Gardner's corner office. "When we first arrived, I think the people of Hudson—I don't really want to speak for them—but I think they may have thought we were just more city people coming up here to change things," Gardner explains. "When they realized our appreciation and curiosity, things changed." It was exactly that—appreciation and curiosity—that led Gardner there a few years ago. After visiting the area for a story, she returned to NYC only to miss Hudson. She quickly rented a barn for weekend use, but when movers arrived at her apartment, she told them, "Just take everything." That spontaneity fuels both Gardner and the publication.
"I began as an animal lover. I'm not a vegetarian but I do care where my food comes from," Gardner says. "Since I moved up here, and having traveled the world, I've seen that people live closer to their food. It's a way of life that a lot of us in the US have gotten away from. But when I moved here, everyone was farming." Gardner was taken by this; it was a series of skill-sets, widely in use, that she had limited familiarity with. This compels much of the exploration in Modern Farmer. "What we bring to this is objectivity. We all want to know the story. We all want to know our farmers. We are celebrating them," she shares. "We aren't saying we know anything. It's the opposite: we want to know and we want to know more. That's where we come from."
This is quite apparent in Modern Farmer's social media, where they actively communicate with their hungry audience. "During Goat Week and Sheep Week, the level of engagement was so high. People are talking to us all day long," Gardner explains. And the publication talks back: Gardner instructed the staff to speak with their own voice, be funny, be themselves. Farm animals are cute and the imagery is sharable—the team recognizes this, but also holds true to their desire for awareness and spreading knowledge.
One of the most striking aspects of Modern Farmer is the cover image for each print edition. UK photographer Richard Bailey visits farms across the British countryside. There, he sets up white screens in the barn. The resulting photos humanize the animals, with personality teeming forth from all-to-aware eyes or a twist to a smile. Gardner explains that Bailey doesn't really clean up the animals, choosing to shoot them as they are—and he just captures the right moments. Many images feature the animal staring directly at the reader. It's editorial imagery at its best for a magazine aiming to draw attention to what we eat.
The entirety of the latest issue is pig-centric, coinciding with Pig Week. Online content, such as Pork 101: Know Your Cuts meets print features such as "Things That Fall From The Sky," an exploration of animal rain. It's all bolstered with superb spirits coverage, from Mezcal roots to Russia's surging wine market. The milk scene is explored, wasabi gets a closer look, even a handy "How To" section elucidates tactile skills—the likes of which Gardner went to the Hudson Valley hoping to learn about. There's also plenty of adorable photographs of pigs (and cows). With Modern Farmer, you will find goats in sweaters and a study on scientific glass. This isn't about a balance between the two, it's about being both.
There's something telling within the acknowledgments of the latest quarterly issue. Gardner and her staff thank the local cafe, Swallow Coffee, but they also thank Yahtzee and raclette, as well as rye whiskey (Gardner highly recommends the local Hillrock Estates) and Devil Dogs. It's the familial spirit; they like what they like and pretense plays no part. But foremost, there's passion and it is all reflected in the fun, incredibly intelligent publication.
See more of CH's experience at Modern Farmer Headquarters in the slideshow.
Additional reporting by Karen Day. Lead photo by David Graver, all other photos by Karen Day