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.