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Coffee Common debuts at TED, with Scout Books in tow

"The people serving you coffee today come from a movement, not a company." 

So reads the first line of the Coffee Common Scout Book, just one branded piece of the Coffee Common movement that debuted yesterday at the 2011 TED conference in Long Beach, California.

All week long, an all-star cast of baristas will be serving up specially curated roasts of coffee from their myriad roasteries to lucky TED attendees. They assemble in Long Beach under the name Coffee Common, the latest incarnation of the newly-launched Common Brand.

Common what? Sure, it can be confusing. Here’s a short primer: 

Common was launched on January 31, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado, the collaborative brainchild of Alex Bogusky, Rob Schuham and John Bielenberg. It purports itself to be an instrument of a new capitalism, furthering a shift from competition in business to collaboration; Common is one part community, one part rapid business prototyper, and one part collaborative brand. “We’re confident that benefitting people, communities, society, the environment and future generations is the new advantage in business,” states Common.

Coffee Common is this collaborative ethos in practice: “A diverse group of roasters and baristas…have gathered together as a community to proselytize the simple truths around coffee,” reads the new These coffee experts come from top roasters like Stumptown, Intellegentsia, Ritual and Counter Culture, and together are working to elevate public understanding of their craft.

Enter Scout Books.

These pocket-sized books serve as an introduction to the Coffee Common concept, and do double duty as a communication vessel and an interactive tool for keeping track of favorite coffees. Bold declarations live alongside space for tasting notes and illustrated instructions for home brewing.

Coffee tips round out the book’s 32 interior pages, with short introductions to Coffee Common, the Common brand, and the roasters and baristas participating this week at TED.

We love Coffee Common’s use of the Scout Book as a communication tool. They used the intimate, pocket-sized format to share information with a broad network of consumers, getting their brand into the hands—literally—of interested people.

These books prove that print is still an important part of a brand’s communication tactics. Tangible is powerful.

The Coffee Common brand and collateral was designed by Brian W. Jones, Coffee Common’s excellent graphic designer and editor of Dear Coffee I Love You, a popular blog dedicated to (you guessed it) a love for the intersection of coffee and design.

So, if you’re at the TED conference this week, get yourself to the Coffee Common HQ and indulge in a pour-over cup of Stumptown’s select roast from Loja, Ecuador, or one of the many other curated roasts from Coffee Common’s expert team. Nab yourself a Scout Book to keep track.

If you’re not at TED this week, you can follow along with Common Coffee’s exploits on their Twitter, or at their content-rich blog at

Thank you to Brian W. Jones for all of these beautiful images!