Though the future of coffee is unwritten, its compelling journey to the present begs for exploration through the written word.
As the founder and editor of coffee-focused culture and city life blog City Brewed, Ellie Eckert has long expressed her passion for coffee through writing. As of this winter, Eckert has changed narrative voices, as it were, moving actual roasted coffee to the front cover of a new project called Written Coffee.
The commercial endeavor involves a curated line of fresh-roasted, whole-bean coffees issued one “chapter” at a time.
“After writing about coffee for the past six years — particularly profiling roasters, baristas, educators, and coffee bar owners — I knew I wanted to be hands-on,” Eckert recently told Daily Coffee News.
Eckert packs, labels and ships every Written Coffee order herself, while also penning the stories behind each coffee. Eckert said she spent the eight months leading up to the release of Chapter One visiting farms in Guatemala and meeting with producers before deciding on the debut product’s raw, single-origin material.
She then imported the coffee and worked closely with Joel Eastlick of Eastlick Coffee Company, based in Saint Petersburg, Florida, on the profiling and roasting in a toll-roasting relationship.
“Working with Joel has been such an amazing process,” said Eckert, describing Eastlick as “a truly a talented roaster, one who teaches and encourages, and makes coffee feel a little less intimidating.”
The inaugural offering, a washed Guatemalan bean from the San José Poaquil region, sourced by Eckert prior to browning in the Eastlick Diedrich IR12, was published, as it were, in mid-February. Eckert said Chapter Two is being prepared for publication in mid-April.
“I wanted each release to feel highly curated, similar to an edition of your favorite magazine,” said Eckert. “That’s why each bag is limited run. All the stories are dreamt up behind the scenes before the newest chapter comes into the world. It allows us to spend a bit more time choosing the beans and the farms to partner with. I’m hoping to release Chapter Three in June, and carry on with a similar cadence for each bag.”
Launching digitally at first, Written Coffee will continue building its fans chapter by chapter, expanding the line next month to include smaller, travel-friendlier portions of each coffee. The company also aspires to establish a cafe — one not unlike the many welcoming third spaces Eckert frequented in New York City and continues to document via City Brewed.
Shorter-term manifestations of Written Coffee may come sooner in the form of strategic partnerships.
Said Eckert, “There are so many partnerships I’ve envisioned for Written, be it with bookstores, women co-working spaces like The Wing in New York City, artists to collaborate on future labels, and even travel brands to further merge coffee and adventure.”