If you've been following along on Instagram, you probably saw the coffee collaboration we launched with Brandywine Coffee Roasters in December. Perhaps you even tried a pour over or scooped up a bag of their delicious Costa Rican coffee at the shop. But you may not know much about Brandywine beyond that, or why we were so over-the-moon to partner with them.
We first discovered Brandywine via Dayglow a couple of years ago and were excited about a Wilmington, DE connection (Allyson's mom grew up there and we visited my grandma there every summer). Not to mention, they're doing incredible work. Last year, they were named to Food & Wine's list of the best coffee in every state and they won a coveted Sprudgie award for Best Design/Packaging in 2017.
After brewing up Brandywine at home and serving two of their single-origin coffees at a pop-up at J. Stark in December 2018, we knew we wanted to get them back on the menu pretty much the moment we signed the lease for our shop. This time around, though, we envisioned doing something a little different. We floated the idea of a collaborative, limited-edition bag design, and Todd (being the talented magician he is) whipped up the perfect playful artwork.
We've loved working with their team and sharing their coffee with the Sightsee community. It's our belief that behind every cup is a story. Here's a bit of theirs:
Who makes up the team behind Brandywine Coffee Roasters?
Over the past five years, our core team of 5 has *slightly* expanded to a killer team of 10: Ally, (Director of Operations), Todd, (Coffee Guru and Artist), Tara (Head of Roastery Production), Vic (Head of Coffee), Lydia, (Wholesale/Customer Service Rep), Chelsea (Lead Production Roaster), Sam, Erin, Greg (Production Assistants), and Sam W. (Printing Assistant)
Give us the origin story: How/when/why did Brandywine get started?
BCR began five years ago with a vision: we wanted to artfully source, roast, and serve beautiful coffees without pretension to our local DE community (and coffee-drinkers everywhere!) We treat every crop like its own artform; we aim to cup hundreds of coffees, drink as much as possible, get to know them, and tweak and re-tweak until we present our customer with the best of the best.
What do you find most rewarding about running a specialty coffee roastery? The most challenging?
The most rewarding, by far, has been seeing the positive response to our coffees. Everything we do - from artwork design, roasting, and sending our beans out the door - is a labor of love around a product we believe in (and have a TON of fun with.) That's rewarding in itself; to have others love it to is nothing short of magical. The most exciting, and challenging: shifting processes with our growth! We've been blessed to outgrow our current roasting home and are looking to transition into a newer space in the Spring - so we're working to put moves in motion while keeping customers sipping seamlessly.
In addition to being known for incredible coffee, you guys have gained a reputation for your amazing bag designs. How did that get started, and how do you come up with the illustration concepts?
The concept to do individual illustrations for each bag and hand screen print the artwork on them was part of the founding of BCR; we're all artists at heart! All illustrations content comes straight from the wonderfully weird mind of our coffee guru and local artist, Todd Purse, who treats each bag of coffee like an "individual little gig poster:" the goal being to design unique bags that showcase the individuality of each magical coffee. We aim to deliver a little bit of wonder and whimsy with each bag and give our customers not only something beautiful to sip on, but also to look at.
What are your go-to coffee shops in Wilmington, DE?
Our favorite is ANY of the ten Brew Ha Ha! locations in northern Delaware! The local chain has been voted Best in DE for 26+ years; you absolutely can't beat the friendliness of staff and the quality brews here at home.
Sightsee is all about travel and adventure -- any travel plans for 2020?
Coffee-wise, we're pumped for SCA in Portland, and Vic (our head of coffee) is currently at origin with La Palma y el Tucan and Panama at the creative coffee district! Beyond that, Tara usually sneaks to San Diego to visit her cutie of a niece and Lydia's looking forward to trying poi in Hawaii in September.
Learn more about Brandywine Coffee Roasters here.