The Fellow Playground is your space to play – to brew a cup, share a tip, take a class, or just talk shop. Each month we select five coffees from roasters we are excited about to feature in our store.
When you enter the Playground, you can buy a whole bag of beans to go or buy an individual serving in a test tube. If you go the test tube route, you can BYOC (brew your own coffee) with one of the Fellow Brew Guides. We love this feature as it gives our guests a chance to try out our products AND lets them walk away with a cup of coffee they’ve probably never tried before! The Fellow team rotates in as Brew Guides, so quite often you will find our founder, Jake, brewing in the back with customers. Your coffee will always be consistently dialed-in and delicious, but we all have personal tips and techniques to share so your brewing sessions in the Playground will be unique every time!
Our December launch featured five local Bay Area roasters that we love. For January, we reached out a little further to bring you coffee from Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters (SF), Slate Coffee Roasters (Seattle), Intelligentsia Coffee (Chicago), Onyx Coffee Lab (Arkansas), and Cat & Cloud (Santa Cruz)! Any of these names not ringing a bell? Great! Specialty Coffee is an exciting and dynamic world, and our goal is to spark your curiosity and expose you to something new.
If you’re not from the Bay Area and one of the coffees below looks intriguing, check out the roasters’ websites to get a bag for yourself! All beans below come with a GIANT seal of approval from all of us on the Fellow team.
WRECKING BALL COFFEE ROASTERS
San Francisco, CA | Founded in 2014 by Nick Cho and Trish Rothgeb
Fun Fact: Nick Cho is responsible for introducing the popular Kalita Wave brewer to the U.S. market, and he has also designed his own comparable brewer, the December Dripper, which has an adjustable number of perforations to control extraction.
Coffee/Origin: Classic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Notes: Floral, Citrus, Clean, Balanced
“Coffees from Yirgacheffe are the melding of ancient Ethiopian coffee varieties with more modern processing techniques. What results is the best-of-both-worlds burst of complex flavors with clean, balanced overall character that we love in these coffees.” – Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters
SLATE COFFEE ROASTERS
Seattle, WA | Founded 2012 by Chelsey Walker-Watson
Fun Fact: While Chelsey runs retail, her brother Keenan roasts all the coffee and their mother, Lisette, oversees production and operations!
Coffee/Origin: Ethiopia Kilenso
Notes: Strawberry, Angel Food Cake, Powdered Cocoa
“This super-sweet treasure is a frequent player on Slate’s menu rotation, and for good reason. Natural (or Dry) processed coffees are both risky and rewarding endeavor for any producer, as the practice of leaving coffee cherries to dry in their skins after they’re picked can expose them to contamination. The Kilenso was picked by farmers in a rural village near Sidama, Ethiopia.” – Slate Coffee Roasters
Chicago, IL | Founded 1995 by Emily Mange and Doug Zell
Fun Fact: Intelligentsia is considered one of the “Big Four” specialty coffee roasters in the U.S., alongside Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and Counter Culture.
Coffee/Origin: Bolivia Finca Takesi *Special Lot*
Notes: Citrus, Stonefruit, Sweet Herbs
“Our Finca Takesi Bolivia Catuai Special Selection demonstrates how an unrivaled growing environment (we believe Finca Takesi to be the highest farm in the world) and growing, harvesting and processing practices focused relentlessly on quality can make a merely ordinary variety taste extraordinary. There were only two bags produced for the U.S. market this year, and they are available only at Intelligentsia.” – Intelligentsia Coffee
ONYX COFFEE LAB
Springdale, AR | Founded 2012 by Jon and Andrea Allen
Fun Fact: Onyx’s website offers full-transparency information on how their green coffees scored, how much they paid the farmers, and how much Fair Trade minimum prices were at the time!
Coffee/Origin: El Salvador Finca Santa Rosa
Notes: Apple, Floral, Plum, Syrupy Body
“Several years ago at a Roaster’s Guild event, the head roaster at Onyx and Jorge Raul Rivera had the good fortune of making each other’s acquaintance and establishing a relationship that would lead Onyx’s team to Finca Santa Rosa in El Salvador’s Chalatenago region. Great personal care and extreme attention to detail has earned Rivera’s coffee numerous awards and accolades in the Specialty Coffee arena.” – Onyx Coffee Lab
CAT & CLOUD
Santa Cruz, CA | Founded 2015 by Chris Baca and Jared Truby
Fun Fact: Chris Baca has an all-star record on the barista competition circuit! He also has a beloved and legendary YouTube channel devoted to teaching everything coffee.
Coffee/Origin: Costa Rica Edgar Aguilera
Variety: Villa Sarchi
Notes: Apple Skins, Cacao Nib, Green, Tea-like
“The Aguilera family will always hold a special place in the Cat & Cloud family. Our co-owner Jared Truby took his first trip to a coffee farm in 2012, following his Barista Competition Regional West victory. The farm was an Aguilera Brothers farm, and the experience and relationships that developed out of that visit continue to stay with him as a coffee professional, and with us as a company.
Edgar Aguilera is a washed Villa Sarchi coffee, grown on the misty hillsides of the West Valley, around 1475 masl. Villa Sarchi is a tasty coffee variety born out of a Bourbon mutation, native to Costa Rica and known for high cup quality.” – Cat & Cloud
Happy coffee-ing, friends!