Brue Bar, a coffee bar stemmed from family-owned Honblue, is Paiko’s newest partnership. We interviewed Courtney Heim, the self-proclaimed ‘Head Brue Bitch’ and also our ‘Woman Crush Wednesday’ of the week! We got to sip on some of her coffee creations and also learn a bit about the art of making espresso. Curious? If you’re lucky she’ll let you put your hands on the ‘Slayer,’ a copper-made espresso machine originating from Seattle. Courtney describes it as being ‘sexy as fudge’ and she customized the details with Zebra Wood, as she felt fit in with Paiko’s aesthetic. She also introduced us to the ‘Steampunk,’ a techy dream machine that produces single-cup brewed coffee, emulating something that looks as if it was ‘patented outside of Frankenstein’s laboratory.’
How did you fall into the world of coffee?
First it was out of necessity. I had a lot of sleeping problems in high school which I remedied with coffee. After moving to Seattle for college I became exposed to specialty coffee and it rocked my world. Just off of the Seattle U campus on 12th Ave is a Stumptown, and that’s where I fell in love with coffee and realized how good coffee could actually be.
Describe your role as the ‘Head Brue Bitch,’ how do you earn this title?
Again, my inspiration is derived from the influence of Seattle. There is a restaurant called ‘Biscuit Bitch,’ where each menu item has some kind-of dirty name including the word ‘bitch.’ It totally fits in with not just my sense of humor, but also my father’s; he was actually the one to start the name ‘Brue Bitch.’ I thought that would be a fun name for the baristas of Brue Bar and since I’m the manager I kinda just named myself ‘Head Brue Bitch.’ As the Head Brue Bitch I order all of the coffees (which is really fun since we get to try new things every week!), I pick out most of the machines we have, I help with the design, layout, and ambiance of each space, I create training programs for the Brue Bitches, and I do basic managerial things such as hiring, ordering, and accounting. Overall, my main goal is to ‘caffeinate’ people with quality coffee beverages and make sure that not only are they enjoying their beverage, but they’re also enjoying the environment and atmosphere of Brue Bar.
How did the collaboration of Brue Bar begin with Paiko? How do you feel Brue and Paiko relate?
Tamara and Courtney approached us. Coffee shops are filled with creativity: in the bar, the environment the cafe is established in, and the attendees who frequent. As with Paiko, our collaboration enhances the creative community. I was in a San Francisco coffee shop a few months ago and it was full of tons of succulents. It vibed together, in relation to the coffee beans and the plants. Paiko is a quality-driven boutique and Brue is a quality-drive coffee bar. We are catering to people who appreciate craft. It provides an additional setting for the creatives to mediate on a cup of coffee and having a place for creatives to gather. Who wouldn’t want to shop and sip?
How does coffee relate to your art? We follow your instagram and see examples of your paintings. We love how the textures and colors can relate back to your coffee creations! It reminds us of the beans itself.
The painting on Instagram is my project called #theyearof25. It’s a single 11×14 canvas that I paint on each day. The subject matter is what I call ‘emotion paintings’ since each day’s painting is meant to reflect how I’m feeling that day. Basically, I’m chronicling my 25th year of life on a single canvas. Each day represents a layer which builds up over time and potentially influences future layers, like the texture, and that kind of represents how life works, at least to me.
Where does Brue source it’s coffee from?
Currently we order our coffees from mainland roasters. We normally use Caffe Ladro’s espresso blend and decaf blend on the Slayer and we like to feature a bunch of different seasonal coffees from Verve Coffee Roasters for our Fetco-brewed coffee, Steampunk-brewed coffee, and our cold-brewed iced coffee.
Brue Bar at Paiko officially opens November 8th and will be open during normal store hours. Come enjoy the outdoor seating area, indoor window bar, and super fast free wifi!
Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014