At least one other silver lining has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic: It’s Others Coffee, a design-savvy fledgling roasting company launched by a pair of furloughed Washington D.C. baristas.
The Baltimore duo behind the brand consists of Brian Raupp, a graphic designer and musician that goes by the rap alias Brain Rapp, and Ashley May, an illustrator and painter. Confronted at once with an abundance of free time and an absence of income, the duo soft-launched Others Coffee with a bright Yirgacheffe and an eye-catching box in September, and quickly sold out. Sales launched anew last month, online.
“Others Coffee is truly a product of the pandemic,” May told Daily Coffee News. “Two weeks after we were out of work, our first roaster arrived and we got to learning everything we could about the business and science of roasting. The closure of our cafes offered us the requisite time to start laying the groundwork for our company.”
The “others” implied by the name of the company refer to the many hands through which coffee passes from the farm clear up to the consumer, while the brand’s opposing eyes logo was inspired by a one of May’s paintings that hangs in the couple’s home.
“The design of the box is largely inspired by my love of vintage editorial advertising and is influenced by the cereal boxes of our youth,” said Raupp. “Our goal when it comes to packaging is to be visually and physically engaging, as well as informative. We want customers to have an experience with our coffee that begins before they take their first sip.”
Future boxes will each be unique, but will maintain the logo and the style of the first. The goal for these newcomer roasters for the stuff inside the boxes is to achieve clarity and consistency from one batch to the next.
“For the Yirgacheffe, a coffee that we’ve enjoyed from other roasters, we wanted to make sure that our favorite notes — peach, black tea, and lemon — were present in the final product,” said Raupp. “Over time as our skills increase, we hope to bring our passion for experimentation into the fold, creating roasts that excite and satisfy the spectrum of coffee connoisseurship.”
Since mid July, both May and Raupp have been back behind the bars in the cafes where they worked before, both with schedules that fluctuate between full-time and part-time. By the end of 2021, the goal is to have secured an upgrade in roasting capacity and a dedicated commercial space in which to roast and possibly also serve Others Coffee.
“We plan on hanging onto our jobs as long as they’re necessary to support the key aspects of our life in the city,” said May. “We hope that within the next year, Others Coffee achieves enough success that one, if not both, of us can work for our company full time.”