Entries Tagged as 'The Craft'

The Craft: Roasting Coffee with Other Brother Roasters

Apr 22, 2014

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Other Brother Roasters is a specialty coffee roasting company that operates out of Winkler, Manitoba (just a couple hours drive from our head office in Winnipeg). We first got wind of Other Brother through this post on Make Coffee’s Facebook Page. Their product packaging was what initially caught our eye, and after discovering they were local, we knew we had to learn more about them and the art of roasting coffee!




We met with four of the five members that make up Other Brother Roasters: Sam Plett, Erin Plett, Andy Wiebe and Rachel Wiebe. Jon Plett (Sam’s brother) is also a partner in the company, but currently lives out of province. As is turns out, roasting is in their blood. Sam and Jon’s grandfather roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds, and their father is the owner of Sunny Day Products, a Winkler-based company producing quality, freshly roasted almonds, flax seeds, peanut kernels and other confectionery products. Sam had his first taste of quality coffee in 2011, after Jon launched Jonny’s Java, a socially conscious coffee, tea and smoothie shop in Winkler. Sam’s interest in coffee grew naturally from his brother’s new business venture (hence the name Other Brother), and he began roasting his own coffee beans with a popcorn machine in his garage.


In 2012, they moved operations into a real manufacturing space, and Other Brother was born out of a desire to bring good tasting, ethically sourced and locally roasted coffee to the community. Other Brother sells their beans through wholesale to coffee shops such as Jonny’s Java in Winkler and Make Coffee in Winnipeg, as well as restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores. Other Brother also offers monthly or bi-monthly subscriptions to individual customers interested in having coffee delivered on a regular basis, right to their door.







The Art of Roasting Coffee


Every roast begins with raw (un-roasted) green beans. Other Brother brings a few samples of raw beans in at a time and all five members participate in a coffee tasting, also referred to as a Cupping. Each member brings their own palate and taste preferences to the tasting, particularly Andy Wiebe (partner at Other Brother and co-owner of Jonny’s Java) who is a Canadian Certified Barista Judge. Together, they form a well-rounded panel and decide as a group which coffee beans to bring in. All of the beans Other Brother roasts are purchased in-season, and have been freshly picked from farms where workers are fairly compensated for their labour.







From left to right: Other Brother Roasters members Rachel Wiebe, Andy Wiebe, Erin Plett, Sam Plett (missing from photo Jon Plett)


Once Other Brother has finalized their selection, the beans are thrown through the roaster where they will lose 20% of their weight and moisture, and change colour from green, to yellow, to brown. Beans are roasted until they hear the First Cracking, usually after about 10 minutes or so. The first crack sounds very similar to popping popcorn and produces light roast coffee beans. A light roast accentuates what the bean has to offer – it’s elevation, variety and Terroir. The latter term is used to describe products such as wine, chocolate and tea. Wikipedia defines Terroir as “…the special set of characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics, express in agricultural products.”












Leaving the coffee beans to roast a few minutes longer will result in a medium roast. And, another few minutes of roasting will result in a dark roast. At either of these stages, Other Brother can develop what they call the Roast Profile. By adjusting how they add the heat and how long they roast the beans for, Other Brother can change the roast and affect the taste of the coffee their beans will produce.


Other Brother Roasters believes it is their job to take the green bean and make it taste the best that it can. If you’re using a quality bean, they say the finished taste should be clean, pleasant, and what the coffee offers. There should be no bad or lingering aftertaste!








Other Brother tweaks their roast a little each week, always striving to bring their customers the best cup of coffee they can.


Visit otherbrotherroasters.com to learn more about their coffee and to sign up for a coffee subscription! Also, check out the Other Brother Roasters Facebook Page, and follow @obroasters on Twitter and Instagram


1. Wikipedia.com, Definition of Terroir

The Craft: Woodworking with Karen and Jason Hare

Feb 21, 2014

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We had heard a lot about Winnipeg-based designers Karen Hare and Jason Hare. The couple met while studying Environmental Design at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture. Karen was majoring in Interior Design, and Jason in Architecture, but they crossed paths when Jason enrolled in an Interior Design Studio course. Since then, they’ve completed their degrees, gotten jobs, and gotten married; and, now they’re busy crafting beautiful wood furniture and other small objects in the downtown studio they share with a couple of friends.


Jason Hare and Karen Hare in their studio (Winnipeg, The Exchange District).




Karen and Jason love the suprises that come from working with a living material. Their designs are typically made out of local species, often using wood labeled as non-select. “You get all of these wonderful quirks and knots, and you can open it up and discover something,” says Karen. Both her and Jason see these imperfections as an opportunity and allow the wood to define their design direction.


Take, for example, the gorgeous bench sitting in one corner of their studio. Karen found the plank that now acts as the bench’s top. “It had this lovely little dip in it,” she recalls. So she brought it home, knowing intuitively that the natural scoop of the board would make a good seat. “Karen has a really great understanding of material language,” says Jason, “like its relationship to other forms within a composition. Even the texture or colour of two different types of wood coming together, and the reasoning between using a leg for one and then the top of a bench for another, and why they come together so well.”





The wood plank’s natural scoop inspired the design of The settler: elm bench.



Jason designed a compression joint that would attach the legs and top without glue or additional hardware.


The couple describes themselves as designers by degree, but makers by heart and this philosophy is very evident in the way they approach each project. For them, making and design cannot be separated. “It might have something to do with the nature of the material we’re working with. If things are…unique, you want to be involved right there with the material because if it presents itself something new and you miss it, then you didn’t take advantage of what it could have possibly been,” says Jason.


In fact, their creative process seems as natural as the material they work with. “I don’t have a method,” says Jason. And, Karen agrees, “He’s just curious. He’s the most curious person I know and I think so many great things come out of his curiosity and just wanting to figure something out or just wanting to play around.” Karen, on the other hand, describes herself as a beauty hoarder. “I’ll just find pieces (of wood) that I just love and keep them. And, finally I’ll have the idea for what they’re going to become and I’ll make it.”





This pair of hook or “crook” knives are Karen’s favourite tool. They were a Christmas gift from Jason. He bought the metal hook from Lee Valley and carved the wood handles himself.




Karen and Jason are currently working on a set of wood pendant lights for a restaurant in New York City. The restaurant commissioned the lights after seeing their original prototypes, which they entered into the Shade International Lighting Competition (which we blogged about here). The lights received an award and were featured on several popular design blogs.


Here’s a quick look at the process:












While they each have their own projects, Karen and Jason are always discussing them and coming up with design solutions together. If one of them sets a project aside, the other will pick it up. Most creatives would be offended by that, but Karen and Jason find that projects turn out better when they each have a hand in the design. “You see the beautiful result of the two things coming together and you’re like, okay, this has to continue,” says Karen.


And, we agree! We look forward to seeing many more beautiful designs from these two in the future. Check out their Tumblr site hareandhare.tumblr.com to see a selection of their recent work.

The Craft: Block Printing in India

Nov 28, 2013

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While travelling in India for work this past October, EQ3’s Accessory Product Manager Carla Zacharias discovered the art of Block Printing. She came back with beautiful photographs documenting the process of this craft, which she likens to that of stamp making – just on a much larger scale.


Every block printing project begins with a graphic or design drawn or printed onto paper.




From there, the artisan sets up a wood block and lays a piece of carbon paper (paper with black on one side) over top. The paper graphic or design is then layed on top of the carbon paper and the artisan traces over the original design. The carbon paper transfers the tracing onto the wood block and the artisan then carves out the design using a thin, sharp piece of metal and a hammer that’s essentially just a piece of wood. A handle is added to the back of the carved block and the stamp is ready to be applied to fabric, paper or some other material.


The block print artisans are extremely skilled (as you can see from these photos!) and designs can be as simple or intricate as desired.












Are you an artist or designer who’d like to see your work produced and sold across the country and beyond? EQ3 is currently looking for designs that can be produced with the block printing technique. Submit your art and designs by email to blog@eq3.ca or send us a private message on the EQ3 Facebook Page.

Please include ‘EQ3 Art + Design Submission’ in the subject line.

The Craft: Making Artisan Ice Cream with Cornell Creme

Nov 22, 2013


Today we’re exploring the craft of handmade artisan ice cream with Lisa Dyck, the owner of Cornell Creme.


Named after Cornell Dairy – the dairy farm Lisa and her husband William run just outside of Anola, Manitoba – Cornell Creme produces “perfectly handcrafted ice cream” made from milk and cream straight from their farm. Like most business ventures, Lisa started out by making ice cream for her family and friends. But everyone loved it and, soon after, Cornell Creme was born.


Of course, it’s not surprising why. Lisa’s ice cream is the real deal…the kind that’s made with real, pure ingredients.



Cornell Creme packaging designed by Jolene Olive.



Cornell Creme’s ice cream containers bare the ‘100% Canadian Milk’ symbol. Learn more here.


How It’s Made


There’s no secret here, just milk, cream, eggs and sugar.


These four simple ingredients form the base of every ice cream flavour Cornell Creme offers. Added to this delicious custard base are a variety of fresh ingredients – things like blueberries, vanilla beans and beer (yes it’s true!). There are no fillers or stabilizers…naturally.


We joined Lisa earlier this fall at the Dairy Science building on the University of Manitoba campus to get the inside scoop on the production process. The building facility is licensed by the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and houses a Dairy Pilot Plant, complete with a pasteurization room and several production rooms for making cheese and ice cream. Lisa currently uses the facility to create small batches of Cornell Creme ice cream, which she packs in 1 litre containers and sells through various retailers in Manitoba. She also packages 4 litre pails for a number of local restaurants that offer Cornell Creme ice cream on their menus.






Lisa and the plant’s dairy manager were in Day 2 of a production run, and they were using the Continuous Ice-Cream Freezer machine to fill containers with Cornell Creme’s Natural Vanilla Bean flavour. A group of university students majoring in Food Sciences were there lending a hand to gain practical work experience in their field. Careful attention was given in the set-up stage to have everything laid out in a small assembly line. Everyone was then assigned their task for the day – pouring the custard base into the machine, filling ice cream containers, covering with lids, taping the sides and finally, running full crates of ice cream containers down to the basement freezer.


Once production got under way, the process was actually quite simple, and the mood surprisingly light. Music played in the background, while the group described each step and threw out the occasional joke. Everyone was focused, though, and the assembly line ran like a well-oiled machine. During the process, the group took 3 samples of ice cream to test (one at the beginning, one mid-production, and end at the end). The dairy manager explained that samples are taken during every production run to test for contamination. The ice cream cannot be sold until the samples come back confirming it’s safe to eat.


Here’s what the process looks like:




The custard base is poured into the Continuous Ice-Cream Freezer machine.



The Continuous Ice-Cream machine transforms the base mixture into ice cream.



The plant’s Dairy Manager fills containers so that ice cream is properly distributed.



The lids go on immediately after containers are filled with ice cream.



The lids are secured with tape on each side.



Cornell Creme owner, Lisa Dyck transfers packaged ice cream containers into a nearby crate.



Filled crates are moved downstairs to the basement freezer for storage.



Post-production, floors are hosed down and milky water disappears down a central drain.



A big thank you to Lisa and the Dairy Science building’s Dairy Manager for inviting us in to document the process. Visit Cornellcreme.com to learn more about Lisa’s product.

The Craft: The Artist’s Life with Kal Barteski

Nov 5, 2013

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Today we’re taking you inside Kal Barteski’s art studio to discover what it’s really like to be a full-time painter and designer. She began taking drawing lessons around as a young girl and studied graphic design in college. She’s been painting and designing full-time ever since, and today she’s known around the world for her acrylic canvas paintings, art prints and brush script illustrations.




“I was always a painter,” says Kal. You can feel it, too, when you talk with her. She’s animated and passionate – it’s easy to see that this profession is more than just a job to her. In fact, art filters into every part of her life. She sees everything as art, describing it as “a moment and how it’s translated through the senses.”


Her client/project list includes a 3-year campaign with Vita Coco coconut water out of Brazil with Rhianna and Kelly Slater, last year’s Fashion Week in Paris, DeLeon tequila, The Minimalist, and Canada’s very own UPPERCASE Magazine to name a few. Other creds include a role in a documentary for Animal Planet and a TEDx Talk this year, which aired earlier this fall. She’s currently working on a 3-year campaign with European company Estrella Damm (the beer of Barcelona)!



Artist Kal Barteski sipping a cuppa’ in her third-floor art studio.




Kal starts her day in front of the computer in the third-floor art studio of her old character home. She spends about an hour catching up on the internet (reading papers, checking on Twitter and Facebook) and drinking as many cups of coffee as she can.


With her caffeine fix covered, Kal puts on her headphones to shut out the world. And, after that, everyday is different. Kal changes up the music genre daily (music is through her RDO account) and then she, in her words, “just goes for it.” Some days are spent at her easel working on a canvas painting, while others are spent crouched on her knees scripting words with black paint.


She gets lost in her work for the rest of the morning and afternoon. Then at 4:30pm, Kal packs up her brushes and her nanny leaves for the day. Kal spends the evening with her three children and once the kids are asleep in their beds, she and her husband begin shipping out orders. This goes on for the remainder of the night, usually wrapping up around midnight.


In the morning, she starts all over again.
















Thanks for opening up your studio to us, Kal.

Want to see more of Kal’s work? Check out her online shop and blog.

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