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Unpacking Coffee with Kandace and Ray: AKA Coffee

AKA Coffee packaging. Needmore Designs photo.

In this week’s episode of Unpacking Coffee, Kandace and Ray check in with AKA Coffee, the Oakland, Calif., wholesale roastery that launched in 2014 as Supersonic Coffee before changing names and rebranding following legal threats from Oklahoma-based fast food chain Sonic Drive-In.

A designer by trade, AKA’s Brian Jones explains to Kandace and Ray how the rebranding offered an opportunity for a fresh start, noting that Supersonic’s striking packaging featuring bright neon green, pure white and shiny metallic silver didn’t always play well within the retail settings of café clients.

“The product is exactly the same. We’re still roasting on a Loring, we’re still sourcing our green coffee from the same import partners and even some of the same farms,” Jones told K-Ray. “The product on the inside didn’t change at all. There were a lot of people we talked to as Supersonic but didn’t really buy from us for one reason or another, but as soon as we rebranded, all the sudden they wanted to work with us.”

Jones and K-Ray dig deeper into the redesign and the many custom elements that now help constitute the refined AKA brand:

Unpacking Coffee is a show discovering new coffee roasters one episode at a time led by Kandace and Ray of the Portland-based studio Needmore Designs, which specializes in coffee, wine and lifestyle brands.