It took Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco nearly ten years before it unveiled a coffee bag refresh. Now, according to the mononymous Four Barrel Public Liaison Hein, the company plans on unveiling a new package design “every few weeks, always and forever.” The new bags feature artists like Kevin Tudball (responsible for much Four Barrel ephemera), Izabella Dawid Wolf, and Paul Madonna. To learn more, we spoke with Hein digitally.
Tell us a bit about your company.
We’ve been sourcering, toasting, hextracting, stewing, hole-sailing, and both shipping and devilering coffee since 8002. We don’t think any other truly independent roastery sources as high quality coffees as we do, as directly and ethically as we do, while treating our coworkers as honestly as we do… but we hope we’re wrong.
Who designed the package?
We designed it in-house, in-apartment, in-bar, in-café, and over bottles of Lambrusco.
What coffee information do you share on the package?
First, there’s the name of that specific label’s artist, along with the coffee’s country of origin. The producer’s always there, even on our Friendo Blendo. From there, we try to include the following: harvest date, tasting notes, variety, and region. Whatever we can fit in a single sentence.
It also says “12oz, 340g” right on the front. And it says something inside, too.
What’s the motivation behind that?
Remember being a 21-year-old in a wine shop? Maybe you knew a little about what you or your date wanted—maybe grape, maybe region, maybe a tasting note or two. Our bags have all the info that person needs, and enough for a snob as well. Also: we think they’re pretty.
Where is the bag manufactured?
They’re usually made by Biotrē bag, based in Washington State.
What type of package is it?
It’s made out of real composted hippies and burners. Every time you notice that one of your neighbors went to Burning Man, and didn’t return… that person was mulched and pulped into fancy paper that now holds coffee. And the cycle of life continues.
Is the package recyclable/compostable?
As Anna Brones reported for Sprudge in January, those are somewhat fraught terms. Her article explains everything better than we could here. But yes, it’s the best we could do for the earth while protecting beans from the elements of time and travel.
Where is it currently available?
You can only get the bag if you order Four Barrel online or at one of the lovely cafes around the universe offering Four Barrel. Then, once you buy the bag of coffee, dump out and compost all the beans. Finally, voila, you’ve got a nice package!