Everyone knows that feeling.

There you are, just a child alone in the world, learning who you really are. You go through the first eight years of your life wearing the same clothes (they’re perfectly nice clothes) and going by your full name, but then.

But then! Then you meet that really cool kid who helps you pick out some rad new clothes. You start going by a nickname—a shortened version of your full name. You’re all like, “Hell yeah, I’m eight years old, and I’m gonna start wearing these clothes and go by my short name now!” You are figuring your shit out, basically. For the first time in you truly feel alive. 

Sprudge readers are already well familiar with Huckleberry Roasters, an eight-year-old coffee roasting company based in Denver, Colorado. But for the very first time let us introduce you to Huck.

Founder and owner Koan Goedman tells us that the folks at Huck “loved our previous bag, designed by Denver homies Studio Mast, but I wanted a change. I felt like I was seeing very similar bag designs (and, even spreading into non-coffee package design) all over the place —lots of blockiness, lots of hard/sharp lines, lots of white. I felt I wanted a big change, and that our guests and partners would trust us to deliver on something wild and crazy and unique.”

It’s a big change, alright, and with it comes a new design identity and approach to packaging that makes them a perfect fit for our ongoing original feature series on Sprudge. Brand name changes are nothing new, but this one—the intentionality behind it, and that dramatic shortening to a single syllable—well, I just had to learn more. And so I sat down digitally to speak with Goedman about the change, the new look, and what’s next for Huck.

When did the coffee package design debut?

It seems like every time we do the “let’s design a new bag” dance, we start learning the steps too late in the process. This go around was a little better than last when we had to deploy some “pardon the interruption” bags to hold us over, but super well planned out it was not….

Basically, the bags arrived, via an overnight plane trip, on a Monday morning in late November, and we were filling them with coffee beans later that day. Exciting, eh?

Who designed the package?

Fun story! One of the first regulars we had at our 4301 Pecos cafe in 2013, was a delightful person by the name of Ross Evertson. In the magical way that coffee shops work, Ross went from being a stranger to a regular to a friend (to all of us, truly). He’s really an exceptional person with passion for dogs, photography, words, intentional design, typography, and smart-assedness—that last one said with love and admiration, of course.

I asked Ross to design something that reflected our company culture, something that reflected a company willing to push the boundaries a bit and something that would truly stand out from what I was seeing on shelves at other shops, Whole Foods, etc.

Ross was down to tackle that challenge with us, and given that he knew me and Huck as well as he did, it was a natural partnership.

What coffee info do you share on the package? What is the motivation behind that?

All the usual stuff!

It should be noted that the coffee label was designed by Lisa Wright of Obsesso Processo. Ross has a grown-up job (wink), and his time was a little tied up towards the end of this project, so Lisa stepped in and up to the plate to walk the new bag project across the finish line in a way that honored Ross’s work, but also breathed some life into the label! Lisa is also intimately aware of all things Huck, so it was pretty easy for her to come in and do some creative work. She’s the best!

On the information front specifically, we trimmed up some of the information from our previous label that we knew, based on some soft polling/inquiring with customers, wasn’t a point of interaction or useful for them. And, at the end of the day, as much as we might want to talk about elevation and varietal, we decided there are better ways to share that information (i.e baristas at a cafe, webstore on the internet)… and simply leave the label to pass along the essentials. So, we share coffee name and region, tasting notes, producer details, processing particulars, and roasted on date.

Most interestingly, I think, Lisa came up with the brilliant way to tie the flowing nature of the bag concept into the label. There is a color coding system that ties back to the three previous versions of retail bags we’ve had, so there’s some very useful continuity and familiarity there. However, not stopping there, Lisa then moved beyond just the color coding by designing these super fun, sorta-abstract region shaped blobs to catch the eye. So, just within the label there are 3-4 opportunities to engage!

Why are the aesthetics in coffee packaging so important?

I think the answer to this will change for different people, but for Huck… it’s a chance to tell our story and, if we’re lucky, we’ve caught the eye of someone unfamiliar with Huck and given them a reason to dig further, ask questions and order some coffee.

Where is the bag manufactured?

Per usual, we worked with Pacific Bags on this bag.

Is the package recyclable/compostable?

The answer to this question is basically the most confusing, long-winded answer of all time. Honestly, I’m still a little confused. It’s probably wisest to say, “go visit Pacific Bag’s website to read about what Biotre is and isn’t!” In reality, I think the legal answer to the question is “no” and we make no claims to recyclability/compostability, but the real-life answer to this might be a “sort of and sometimes, depending where you live and what local laws are.”

How’s that for unsatisfactory?

All I can say is that I’m excited to see Pacific Bag’s 100% compostable Biotre bag, which, rumor has it, is close to being available!

Where is it currently available?

Our shops and the world wide web!

Thank you!

Company: Huckleberry Coffee Roasters
Location: Denver
Country: United States
Designer: Ross Evertson
Design Debut: November 2018

Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.

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