Coffee is one of the highest consumed commodities in the world. Its rich history, deeply embedded with narratives of travel, culture and politics, has seen coffee and the café evolve into a part of our everyday lives. Grounded delves into these narratives, attempting to understand the story of the unique coffee culture of one city: Melbourne.
Melbourne coffee culture has moved in waves, the most recent of which is often referred to as the new wave or specialty coffee. Feeling they have perfected the espresso, new wave practitioners push the boundaries of coffee preparation and consumption by focusing on alternative brewing methods such as filter coffee. Grounded seeks opportunities to present filter coffee to Melburnians in an alternative way to create a more amiable experience.
Research into the nature of Melbourne coffee culture highlights the confusion surrounding the identity of filter coffee; a brew method that, in comparison to its espresso cousin, is incredibly simple. Despite this inherent simplicity, its preparation appears complex and intimidating. Even the term ‘speciality coffee’ assists in rendering it unapproachable.
Further research presented opportunities in the design of filter coffee equipment itself. Increasing filter coffee’s approachability through these objects required a deep immersion into the coffee industry. Relationships with industry experts were developed. An ethnographic approach was employed in order to understand the behaviours and desires of the various players within the cafe environment. The power of semiotics, in allowing an object to evoke friendliness and approachability, was explored. A thorough understanding of the art, science, and processes behind the brewing of filter coffee was gained in order to successfully develop and test prototypes.
Grounded results in allowing filter coffee to find a home in Melbourne’s coffee culture; to be special without being specialty, to no longer intimidate consumers but to be everyday, to be grounded.