Friday Office Soundtrack: Jenny Lewis - “She’s Not Me”

It’s been six years since we’ve gotten a solo album from Jenny Lewis. Although she’s collaborated with artists like Brandon Flowers and Vampire Weekend - and released an under-appreciated album titled Are We Having Fun Now? with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice - she’s flown relatively under-the-radar. Thankfully, this month saw the release of The Voyager, a brief and intimate 90’s-influenced album that her fans have been hungering after for nigh on a decade.

“She’s Not Me,” is a poppy, glittering ode to regret and moving on. Lewis’ vocals have grown up from her Rilo Kiley days, yet retain the casual, unaffected tone that first defined her. They’re histrionic at times, but they take pains not to overdose on the heartbreak that plagues so many artists who attempt the level of honesty Lewis nails here.

“Bet you tell her I’m crazy,” she croons. “Remember the night I destroyed it all, when I told you I cheated, and you punched through the drywall, I took you for granted…but she’s not me.”

How could we forget?

The #messageinabluebottle Hunt Is On!

Calling all Angelenos, from Ontario to Burbank! You’re cordially invited to join our inaugural #messageinabluebottle treasure hunt. We’re so excited we can barely tamp our shots evenly.

Here’s how it works: From Aug. 1-20, we Blue Bottlers (along with a small collection of our friends and partners) will hide a series of literal blue bottles across Los Angeles. Each weekday, we’ll Instagram the bottle in one of L.A.’s more recognizable nooks, then drop a hint or two to our followers.

From there, the hunt is on. The first person to find the bottle, Instagram it (be sure to tag @bluebottlela and hashtag #messageinabluebottle) wins whichever prize is inside. Easy-peasy.

What are these prizes, you ask? Let’s break them down for you.

All 20 bottles contain a coupon for one free half pound of coffee, to be picked up at our Aug. 20 launch party. Each scroll also doubles as your admission ticket to the party.

10 out of 20 bottles contain a gift certificate for a month of free drinks at our Arts District coffee bar! One. Month. Free. Note: Because these gift certificates will be distributed at the party in August, the offer actually runs from Aug. 21-Sept. 21

Still with us? Splendid!
2 out of 20 bottles contain a voucher for a roasting, cupping and green coffee lesson with Charlie Habegger, Blue Bottle’s Green Coffee Apprentice.

 2 out of 20 bottles contain a voucher for a private espresso training session with Mike Phillips, 2010’s World Barista Champion / Handsome Coffee’s co-founder /Blue Bottle’s brandy-new Director of Training. 


Finally, just 1 out of the 20 bottles houses a certificate for dinner out at Bestia in L.A. with Michael Phillips, Charlie Habegger and Blue Bottle’s founder and CEO, James Freeman. You pick their brains; we’ll pick up the tab.

Here’s what the scrolls look like, once unravelled.


So whose Instagram feed ought you to be following to better your chances of snagging a bottle? We’ve compiled a handy list of folks, along with their handles, right below. We’re not telling who will post when – mostly because that would ruin the fun. We will admit, though, that @bluebottlela will be posting more than once.

Blue Bottle Coffee - @bluebottlela

Michael Phillips - @1shot4theroad

Matthew Kang, Eater L.A. - @mattatouille

Julie Wolfson, Sprudge - @juliewolfson

Sonja Rasula, Unique L.A. - @theuniquespace

Antonio Diaz, Life and Thyme - @lifeandthyme

Nudie Jeans - @nudiejeans

Bonnie Tsang, photographer - @bonnietsang

John Kingston, photographer - @kingstonphoto

Shea Parton, Apolis - @apolis

Ready? Steady? Let the hunt begin!

Welcoming Bacon Bacon to Oakland

We’re thrilled to announce that this Saturday, Aug. 2, we’ll be hosting a food truck from San Francisco’s Bacon Bacon at our Webster Street coffee bar. They’ll be setting up shop at 11 a.m. and serving near our cafe’s southern corner until 3 p.m. 


For the past couple of years, we’ve been enjoying Bacon Bacon’s mouthwatering wares - their crisp, yolk-drenched breakfast sandwich; their meat-flecked Porky Fries - at events like Off the Grid and Outside Lands. As such, we were eager to tuck in our napkins and get going with a collaboration. But first, we thought we’d catch up with the company’s founder, Jim Angelus.

Angelus started Bacon Bacon almost exactly three years ago, after stints as a general manager at a handful of San Francisco restaurants, including E&O Trading Company and Kuleto’s. The company’s name, he says, came from a desire for simplicity in city awash with complexly labeled foodie treats.


"You didn’t always know what kind of food a truck was selling," he says of the genre’s often baroque selections. So he made a vow: "I’m going to make it super obvious - something everyone can really identify with." Thus: the name.

It’s worked well for him. Three years on, Bacon Bacon operates two trucks (with plans for a third this fall) and a cozy cafe at 205 Frederick St., near Golden Gate Park.

And in case you were curious, we’re happy to report that their menu pairs quite nicely with coffee. 

You Can Now Order NOLA Cartons for Pickup in Oakland!

What does summer in the Bay Area mean? To us, it’s all about consistency – the frigid nights, the lukewarm days, the fog that unfurls with doomy consistency. In sum: Pretty much zero in the way of meaningful meteorological change.

OK, maybe a little bit. And on these slightly warmer days, our fancies – and, we’re discovering, our guests’ fancies as well – lightly turn to thoughts of New Orleans Iced Coffee cartons. Thus far, these little buddies have only been available individually in our retail locations, at Whole Foods stores, and at select local grocery purveyors. Ordering a larger amount – for a picnic, say, or late-night group study session – was not possible. 

Until now, that is. We’re pleased to announce that you can now place bulk orders of our New Orleans cartons for pickup at our Webster coffee (300 Webster St., Oakland Calif. 94607) bar by following these simple instructions.

1. Reach out to our Special Orders team at (you guessed it)

2. Tell them just how many cartons you’d like. They come in cases of 12, and for now we’re accepting orders of 1-4 cases. 

3. Mind the ordering timeline! Cases ordered between Friday and Monday at 8:30 a.m. PST will be available for pickup any time on Tuesday. Those ordered between Monday and Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. PST will be available for pickup on Friday.

4. Each case is exactly $48. No tax. Just let your barista you’re here to pick up, and he or she will get squared away with payment.   

5. Enjoy.

6. Depending on step 5, repeat.

Putting It All Together With Tonx and Handsome

When we brought Handsome Coffee and Tonx under the Blue Bottle banner back in April, the first thing we did was ask questions. Lots of them. How can we make this transition exciting for our new team in Los Angeles? How can our digital team help improve the tools we’re already using on the web? What can we teach each other about sourcing? Quality? Hospitality?
These strategic questions soon begat other, more basic ones. Will we need more bike parking? Does this mean we’re now brewing two Chemexes for our weekly coffee meeting? Is making “new folks’ name” flash cards totally inappropriate?
After a brief period of hand-wringing (no more than 10 minutes, we swear), we got to work. With help and input from Tonx’s production team, we successfully migrated their ordering, roasting and shipping operations to our Oakland roastery. We released the Sumatra Ketiara, a coffee sourced by Blue Bottle and quality tested by all three companies, to Tonx subscribers. And while weaving Tonx-branded selections into Blue Bottle retail locations, we also began selling a few Blue Bottle coffees out of Handsome’s space in Los Angeles. Each collaboration yielded exciting discoveries – and, of course, more questions.

What’s next? Well, very soon, Tonx customers will begin to enjoy more ordering flexibility on their deliveries, along with new Blue Bottle packaging that’s designed to incorporate the best of both companies’ design thinking. Down in Los Angeles, Handsome customers will see their menu options expand to include more single origins, more iced coffee options, and some new pastries. The roastery in L.A.’s Arts District, meanwhile, is in the process of becoming organic certified. And the office is (crucially, mercifully) mere days from being air-conditioned.  

Nik Bauman (Tonx), James Freeman (Blue Bottle), Michael Phillips (Handsome) 

So yes, the gears are indeed turning. Sometimes quite quickly. By late summer, it will all fall under the Blue Bottle banner.

For now, we’re enjoying the ride. The past couple months have been some combination of invigorating and exhausting – full of long production days, marathon coding sessions, giant order fulfillments, and epic conference calls. Mostly, though, they’ve been punctuated with delightful rewards. We’ve learned our new members’ strengths and passions, and taken turns supporting each other. We’ve gotten beers and gone to baseball games and attended dance parties. We’ve taken quite a shine to each other.
As things move forward, we remain ever grateful for your support. You’ll be hearing from us again with a more detailed sketch of new features and timelines. For now, we’re thrilled to keep serving you coffee.

Friday Office Soundtrack: Sharon Van Etten - “Your Love Is Killing Me”

In the first minute of “Your Love is Killing Me,” fans of Sharon Van Etten will find some of the straightforward, comfortable strength she began teasing out on 2012’s “Tramp.” Yet something’s different here: Van Etten takes her time until it becomes clear that her words — “Break my legs so I won’t walk to you…You tell me that you like it, Your love is killing me,”— is not some run-of-the-mill heartbreak; it’s an emotional catastrophe.

Erratic percussion further agitates things, but the real focus here is Van Etten’s paint-scraping vocals. They quiver and burst, furious and unforgiving. “From a distance I am on to you,” she cries, “but I’ll stab my eyes out so I can’t see.”

You’ll need a whiskey or a glass of wine after a song like this. “Your Love is Killing Me” at once devastating and beautiful, will plunge you into an emotional space you may need a hand climbing out of.