August 31, 2023

Wanderlust No More

I looked out the window of my office and saw a Jeep Wrangler with the spare mounted on the back and a tire cover that says, “Not all who wander are lost.” I hate that saying. For a couple reasons, really. People seem to wear it as a way of saying that they live life aimlessly, but that they’re not doing it mindlessly. Purposeful pointlessness. Two, if you’re wandering and not lost, you might not be doing it right. And three, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what Tolkien had in mind when he wrote it. “Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

I like to wander. But I also enjoy the thrill of feeling lost. Not knowing where I am or exactly how to get back. Of discovering new places and new things. Seeing an area from a different perspective. Experiencing the unexpected. Of finding new ways.

Last weekend I wandered in the Wichita Mountains. Not aimlessly, but with purpose and direction. Wandering into the unknown, trying to reach the top of a mountain and a dead tree forest on the next plateau, through a chasm and across a wooded valley strewn with automobile-sized boulders. The type of wandering that is exploring and overcoming obstacles that lie between here and there and back again.

I wandered for six or eight seasons in the Rocky Mountains, trying to find myself as I searched trails up the sides of fourteeners, and across ridge and ravine on my trusty fat tire steed. All the while treading, plodding slowly toward distant aspirations. Constantly moving, wandering out of curiosity, but always forward. Almost always.

I’ve wandered among the ideas and ideals of coffee, and forged a path unlike anyone else. Unlike anything anyone might’ve expected. But it was all right there in my business plan. The plan I weaved together with thousands of hours of research and curiosity, and more than a few sparks of inspiration and eventually intuition. Unsettled and unsatisfied with what’s been done before and what’s the status quo, I modify and adapt and make. I’m a maker. A wanderer and a maker. A coffee maker on the move.

Several years ago I went on the biggest trip of my life, to a land I’d dreamed of since I was a child. The land of Isak Dinesen and Peter Beard. Of the Zulu and the Maasai. The zebra and wildebeest. And if our trip was a wander, it’s only because we didn’t know where we were going. Or what we were to see, which was a lot. A whole life’s worth of wildlife. And I found myself flummoxed over the difficulty of making coffee during an expedition. My unwieldy gear and imprecise methods spurned the mornings and turned the coffee into a concoction unworthy of such intoxicating environs.

I used to have my girlfriend keep a little notebook in her purse to write down all my ideas. (Put that on the list of reasons I can’t keep a girlfriend, I guess.) I’m always noticing when things don’t work precisely the way they should, or could, and my brain leaps into action, looking hither and thither for a new solution, a new product to fill the void. And that’s how it all began with what’s now called the Expedition Brewer.

It started as a nonsensical assemblage of fanciful components that evolved like the dawn of man over what seemed like eons. Evolution was a wanderer. And twelve years later, I’m wandering around coffee farms and mountaintops without the concern for coffeemaking. The Expedition Brewer is purpose-built for travel, compact and lightweight. It flies, it packs, it rides, and most importantly it makes great coffee.

Because until now, when it comes to coffee, all who wandered were lost.

August 31, 2023

We’re not Paris, but we have better coffee

A Q+A with Bex Alexander, author of the children’s book Champ and the Eiffel Tower Studio, on sale now at DoubleShot.


Name some of your favorite spots in Paris: I have actually never been to Paris!

What! During the Pandemic, I started watching a lot of the show Emily in Paris. I thought the scenes from the show were set in such beautiful places and buildings, so I started researching more about Paris. The more I saw, the more I felt inspired by the detailed architecture of the buildings, the preservation of such historical buildings, the cobblestone streets, the different plants that grow up the sides of the buildings, the Eiffel Tower, the culture’s appreciation for the arts, the flower shops and cafes, and even the language. I hope to see it all in person someday!

Why’d you name the cat Champ: I named him after the Champ de Mars (the park enclosing the tower).

It was nice to see the Place des Vosges make an appearance: I really was drawn to the Place des Vosges originally when I saw an aerial view of it. Then, as I looked more into it, it really feels like a place you could escape to for an afternoon. With the buildings and tree line surrounding it, it felt like a pocket of peace in a city. It feels like a place I could take my daughter and we could picnic and read and just enjoy a calm moment for the day. As a mom to a toddler, there are not very many calm moments in my day.

So, a little mouse told us the DoubleShot played a role in the writing of Champ: Not only is the architecture beautiful and the coffee delicious, but the environment is inspirational to me. Seeing all of the customers, some alone and some with friends, some working and some there for a break, it all makes me wonder about their stories. What was the best part of their day? What was the worst? Do they need a smile from a stranger today? Those thoughts really spiral me into more creative ideas for my life.

How does that play out in this book: While I’m at DoubleShot, I’m not thinking about the grocery list or the to-do list for the day, I am able to remember pockets of my creativity that don’t come out as much during the busy-ness of life. The light coming through the windows at different times of the day, the individual stories in each room, the different textures used and materials that built the actual barn, the view from the patio as cars drive towards downtown, and specifically the upstairs bench by the window, all inspired me while creating this book!


Bex Alexander graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in University Studies and Studio Art. She lives in Tulsa.

May 23, 2023

Knowing the Gesha

A couple of months ago when Peaches and I were in Costa Rica, we cupped a bunch of interesting new coffees that have been in development at La Minita. One, a washed Gesha, stood out because it had that distinctive floral note that’s inherent in a true, unadulterated Gesha coffee. I asked Jim where the seeds had come from for this plantation and he told me they got them in Panama from a reputable farm. It was a curious cup because so many Geshas have been produced over the years, but not many outside of Panama seem like actual, pure varieties. I’ve tasted a lot of them and bought a few. We’ve roasted some really amazing ones over the years. But as I circled the cupping table, I got the sense that this coffee was lacking depth and complexity. Jorge, the head cupper at La Minita, told me it’s because these trees are very young and just in early production, and that they will fill out and develop better aromatics as the plants age.

When I returned home, I noticed a Gesha natural on the offering sheet from La Minita. I asked for a sample and cupped it. So nice. This coffee was packed in vacuum-sealed bags, and had been sitting in the warehouse since the last harvest arrived in the U.S. I knew they were anxious to clear out their inventory and wouldn’t have many willing buyers for a coffee like this. So I negotiated the price down a tiny bit and asked them to cover the freight, and we ended up with a really sweet deal on this coffee. We launched it just before Easter and dubbed it “El Conejo Malo.”

Pricing is tricky. We’re one of the few coffee roasters to still sell coffee in one-pound increments. Most roasters have been selling 12-ounce bags of coffee at 16-ounce prices (in my opinion, preying on the fact that the general public doesn’t know how many ounces are in a pound). Some are now selling 10-ounce bags (what is that, a metric pound?) at 16-ounce prices. But it’s true, coffee costs have gone up. I use a formula:

[((cost+freight)/.85+4.5)x2)+sales tax]

So, if you’ve seen our coffee bean prices creep up, it’s with the market. Something like a Gesha is just going to cost more because of its unique cup profile and the demand for this famous variety. You’ve seen our Gesha prices go as high as $100+ for 200 grams of the precious bean. So I was pretty excited that we are able to sell a really nice Gesha at an accessible price. And in the end, we decided to package it in 12-ounce bags to keep the price at a stunning $24.

A sweet friend of mine from my home state of Illinois sent me a text message this morning saying, “The Easter bunny Gesha is divine. Thank you for sharing amazing coffee with the world!” And maybe it takes a certain type of person to recognize divinity in coffee. Because it sure can be a hard sell. This coffee has to be the best one on our shelves right now, and it’s less expensive than some truly crappy blends from popular-but-inept roasters around the country.

So what is it about a coffee that makes it palatable? In my opinion, the more you know about the variety, the farm, the processing, the people, the roaster, the history of coffee … the more you know, the more meaningful the coffee is in your cup. And the more you understand how to brew it – the difference in its aromatics when you brew it with 198˚F water versus 200˚F water, for example.

For some people, it’s obvious. For others, it’s all just coffee with different prices. But for all of us, the more you know, the better it is.

(For the Gesha: I recommend 198˚F, and learning who Price Peterson is.)

March 01, 2023

When I was 19

You know, I still sort of feel nineteen. Well … maybe twenty-nine*. I read somewhere that big changes usually come at the end of decades. The eclipse of our teens or twenties … or forties signals something in our brains that causes us to self-reflect, to search for existential meaning, and to make changes in our lives. It can be a time for increasing your fitness, divorcing your spouse, committing suicide, changing careers … trading in for that midlife-crisis sports car or trophy husband (oh stop it!). For the DoubleShot, it seems, approaching a new decade has brought about a restlessness that has us thinking in ways that might surprise you.

Finally, we’re back to traveling and rekindling relationships with coffee growers, exporters and foreign friends we haven’t seen in three years. Our foray into farming is a departure that will hopefully reap rewards as we enter our early twenties. We’re ending relationships that felt old and were bringing us negative energy, while striking up new relationships that brim with promise and positivity. The research-and-design arm of our business has been busy fabricating and iterating and planning for the launch of a few new products in the coming weeks and months. We’re starting to realize that nineteen years has brought us a certain maturity not found in a lot of coffee people. All the experience and experiments, listening and viewing the world with a skeptical eye has given us a unique perspective on coffee. I want to spend the next few years sharing what we’ve learned to encourage kids and aspiring coffee entrepreneurs and to show everyone who is curious what coffee really is so that we can all make better coffee. Just like a nineteen-year-old to think he knows it all, right? Well we don’t, but we sure want to.

Anyway, here we are, nineteen years old. Nineteen because of you. Come help celebrate us Saturday and Sunday at The Rookery, and Sunday evening from 5-8p at The Bowstring (see your barista for a ticket with all the info you need to know).

While you’re at it, we’d love it if you would call in and share birthday wishes with us. Tell us a story, touching or funny, about an experience you’ve had at the DoubleShot. Tell us what it was like the first time you came in. Or about your favorite DoubleShot memory. We want to hear your voice. This birthday is for you. Thank you for supporting us through thick and thin, through India and Panama, so to speak. Here’s the number: (539) 664-7220 (leave a message).

* For years, anytime anyone ever asked my Grandpa Franklin how old he was, he would say, “Twenty-nine.” At some point, probably as he entered his seventies or eighties, at each birthday he would say he was “thirty-nine again.” Maybe he knew something I didn’t know about the power of nines, of change, and how to stay young mentally. I got you Papa.

March 01, 2023

Pin one on

So there’s this girl… (All my stories used to start out like that.) But seriously, there’s this girl who sells enamel pins, and she sort of reminds me of this girl named McKenzie who always answered the phone when I’d call in to order Cruzin Caps, and if she didn’t answer I would ask for her. Because I could just tell by her voice that she was the sweetest girl on the planet and it made me happy to order more Cruzin Caps from her. Not to mention the fact that they allowed our logo to cover the hole on your to-go cup and then ended up stuck in patterns all over your dashboard or computer screen and that red front door over at 18th & Boston. So this is an evolution in setting the DoubleShot logo onto our merchandise. If you don’t know what enamel pins are, they are like lapel pins, only swankier because these have the DoubleShot icon on them. Oh yes they do. We’re really excited to start selling these, and I think you’ll be very impressed with the quality. Pin one to your messenger bag (or your fanny pack if you’re a hipster). It’s cool, it’s subtle, and it signals your loyalty to the DoubleShot lifestyle. Get yours at the DoubleShot or online at (They’re only $5 each)

Order your own custom pins from that girl at I’ll trade you.

March 01, 2023

The lessons of La Minita

Costa Rica is an easy place to take staff for their first experience at origin, and this year I took Wiley. He’s been on staff for just over a year and has taken over the role of wholesale sales for the DoubleShot. Yes, if you didn’t know, we sell our coffee to certain restaurants, offices, coffee shops, etc. (more at

The most interesting things in coffee for me happen on coffee farms. It’s where I’ve learned the most over the past several years, so now that we’re traveling again it’s fun to see new developments and get some insight into what other people are doing in coffee.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen my friends at La Minita, so it was good to catch up with Jhonny, Jose, Lindsey, and Rosio. There were folks from four other coffee businesses visiting the farm with us, mostly longstanding coffee people but a pair of newbies as well. Throughout our three days together we got to know each other, telling personal stories, gossiping about characters in the industry, and talking shop. It’s funny to find myself in the position of being a veteran, having worked in coffee longer than anyone else, but I guess that’s what time and perseverance earns you.

We cupped coffees, first to demonstrate the difference between quality separations (labeled from “first” to “third”), and then the lowest grade which is used only for domestic consumption. Then we got down to business with a cupping table full of interesting micro-lots. This is a departure for La Minita, as they’ve made their mark on the industry by producing nearly the same, top-quality washed coffees year after year. This was a basic tenet set out by Bill McAlpin from the time he purchased the farm in the late 1970s. And that consistency has only been possible because of the skill and abilities of their professional cuppers, Sergio and Jorge, who grade every single lot of coffee by taste. It wasn’t until Bill sold the company that La Minita felt the freedom to begin experimenting with different varieties and processes, which has yielded really interesting aromatics in some of their coffees. We’ll be purchasing some innovative micro-lots in the coming months, so keep an eye out for those.

Throughout this trip I found a common thread that separates what we do from almost every other coffee company on the planet. Like McAlpin, I have some staunch beliefs about how I want to run my company, and that starts with the way we source coffee and doesn’t end until you’ve swirled the last sip around your mouth and exhaled the retronasal aromatics through your nose. We’re old school. We believe that there is value in hard work and attention to detail. And while we enjoy the conveniences of the latest technologies, we know that true mastery comes when you understand how to use technology and when not to. It’s easy to go online and buy green coffee. But that’s not the same as showing up in Concordia, Colombia hoping to find someone who still grows the Caturra variety, knowing I’d still have to figure out how to buy and import it. The personal relationships make the coffee uniquely ours. Just as our manual roasting process differentiates the DoubleShot from all those pushing a button on a computerized roaster. There are a lot of ways to make coffee, and we just happen to do it the hard way. On purpose.

That’s what you taste when you drink a cup of DoubleShot coffee. That’s what you feel when you walk into The Rookery and see all those hand-hewn beams and the custom iron work. It’s in the tactile sensation when you imbibe from one of our hand-thrown cups. There’s just something different about things crafted with hard work and skills earned through years of practice. It’s not just coffee; it’s a lifestyle you and I have chosen to lead. We take the time to do things the way we know they should be done, and to support those who are doing it the hard way. That’s what the DoubleShot lifestyle is all about. You can taste it.

February 10, 2023

Happy Birthday to Us

On March 5, the DoubleShot turns 19. Old enough to get an apartment, or go to war. Old, yeah, but full of youthful vigor!


Every year we make a weird poster and have a party. This year’s theme revolves around the moon, so to speak. Every 19 years the patterns of the moon begin to repeat at the same time of year, and the days surrounding the DoubleShot birthday are a full moon that’s known as the Worm Moon. Back in the day it was the point in time that people knew the tundra was warming up enough that earthworms would start coming out of the soil again. In short, the last full moon of winter.


We’re celebrating it as a complete Metonic cycle and we’ll be seeing the same moon we did when the DoubleShot first opened in 2004. The posters are up now. I took a painting [The Poachers (1835) by James Arthur O’Connor] and stuck The Rookery in there in that way I like to do. We’re going to send out an email to 13,000 of our subscribers announcing it. Kelly will start posting on social media. And we’re going to celebrate the weekend with house-made moon pies and I’ll roast a Gesha coffee. We’ll likely have some interactive thing for the customers to send birthday wishes. Lots to do.


Then, on Sunday March 5th, we’re throwing a party at The Bowstring (our warehouse in Crosbie Heights) from 5-8p. You should plan to be there. We’re celebrating our customers and YOU for carrying the DoubleShot to this point, and beyond. At the party we’ll have more coffee, beer and wine, finger foods, hopefully a big chocolate cake with gummy worms coming out of it, and live music (featuring Beau Roberson). It’s always an exciting weekend around here, and the party is loads of fun. Stay tuned. We’ll have postcards to hand out to announce the bday. And the party will be ticketed, so we’ll be handing out tickets to everyone who wants to come to the big shindig.


Anyway, happy birthday to us. And to you, our fans.

February 10, 2023

The idea behind the Design

I started a company a few years ago called Native Design, hoping to start manufacturing coffee gear. All that stuff we sell and use to make coffee is a little too ubiquitous for my taste and none of it is exactly what I want. I’ve had many ideas, from a battery-powered auto- drip coffeemaker to a grinder and brewer to make coffee in microgravity on the space station. But I started with something a little less astronomical: a pourover kettle. And I learned a lot, but after four iterations I put it on the back burner to focus on a few other projects.


Someone asked me recently why I decided to start making this stuff. And it would be easy to say that I tend to modify all my gear (I’ve recurved the spouts and replaced the handles and knobs on all my kettles, for example). Or to point out the fact that I’m a tinkerer, an inventor. (While having dinner at a nice steakhouse and watching the waiter manhandle a twist-off wine with his meat paws, I came up with the idea to refine that process, which Paul McEntire and I eventually called the capkey.) But the real answer is wackier than that: I’m trying to build all the furniture in my house, fabricate the items I use every day, and to at least understand how to make the consumables in my life. Because I like for the things around me to be uniquely mine. Along the way, I’ve discovered the flaws in items available on the market and with a lot of trial and error (mostly error) I’ve figured out how to fix them in my own unique style.


Our first product on the market, The Launchpad, was born out of my frustrations with having my pourover gear strewn about the counter and cupboards, with no real place to keep anything, and having to track everything down each morning to make coffee. I just wanted one spot where it all lived. A base station, of sorts. After experimenting with various woods and shapes, fits and finishes, I came up with a device that essentially functions like a manual drip coffeemaker. They’re all hand-built in-house and are available in black, white, walnut, or cherry and come with either a black or white ceramic drip tray. The Launchpad is designed to sit securely on your Hario drip scale and fits any of the Hario V60 drippers, Kalita Wave, and most other popular drippers on the market.


It’s Ground Control for your pourover kit. T-minus … All systems are go.

February 10, 2023

In short supply


In October I traveled to Nicaragua to see the great but under-represented coffee-growing regions of Matagalpa and Nueva Segovia. The journey there and back is a story unto itself. A story for another time. But in the midst of muddy roads and steep hillsides covered in dense forest yielding to the spindly branches and shiny green leaves of coffee trees, we encountered a one-room schoolhouse built of old, timber boards. Kids walked up and down the narrow road, some asking for a ride in the back of our pickup truck, piling in to save some of the day’s steps. These are the kids who attend that school, if they can afford the supplies.

On a trip to Nicaragua a few years ago, in the same general area, I met a woman who lives in a house made of these same timber boards, with a dirt floor and indoor wood cooking stove made of clay, like most people in rural Nicaragua. She had a densely planted field of coffee trees trailing down from the back of her house into the creek bed below. Her son helped with the picking and pulping of the coffee and the younger daughter likely helped with whatever household chores a small child can perform. The mother told me her son was in school, but she couldn’t afford to send her daughter. I told her I thought school was free in Nicaragua. And she told me that school was free but they couldn’t attend unless they had paper and pencils, and she couldn’t afford to buy these for her girl.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that situation, but it makes you realize that the money you might find in your sofa cushions could change the life of a kid. And that this problem is too wide-spread to start dis-upholstering your furniture.

But here we are, looking at a school down the road from our farm, with the potential to help lots of kids. The school is called Comunidad La Peña and they have 63 students, including 12 pre-school kids.

We partnered with Monte Cassino to gather up the basics and lots of extras, all the things a student might need. Not only that, the fifth- grade Spanish class at Monte wrote a bunch of letters (the snail-mail kind) in Spanish to the Nicaraguan kids, which they hope to get pen-pal replies from. We’re shipping the whole mess down to my friend Luis to take to the schoolhouse in Matagalpa. The teacher is very excited to receive the supplies and says he feels it’s a God blessing.

We have our fingers crossed and have been talking to our contacts in Nicaragua to find out the best way to get these things safely to Luis, but we’re aware there’s a possibility they’ll be confiscated or heavily taxed upon reaching the destination. Godspeed, school supplies. May the spirit of Catholic charity find its way into the hearts of those customs agents responsible for passing the crayons and glue sticks on to our school kids at La Peña.