Release Date: Oct 9, 2015
DRIFT is a stunning new print magazine devoted to coffee culture – with exquisite photos and fascinating articles. And despite it being new, it’s already known (and owned!) by most baristas in Japan and is almost destined to become your coffee bible when visiting certain cities. Volume 1 (New York) and Volume 2 (Tokyo) have completely sold out. And if you manage to get your hands on one somewhere you’ll soon see why.
We chatted with the team behind it all – Adam, Daniela and Elyssa. They also reveal which city Volume 3 will be centered around! You’ll never guess!
Tell us about how you all got interested in coffee. How did Drift start?
I’ve always been a coffee drinker, but at first I wasn’t into the coffee itself. In 2011 my mother opened a coffee shop in México but it wasn’t a specialty coffee shop like the ones I was seeing pop up in NY. So I began to study what was developing in NY. I started by visiting the coffee shops to look at the layouts and the design, then I started noticing the flavor of the coffee and the differences from place to place. Adam and I took espresso lessons, and kept brewing with different methods at home. We then found ourselves visiting the coffee shops of every place we would travel to and found it to be a unique and fun way of getting to know a city. Drift started as a way to share this unique perspective. — Daniela
When you’re looking at a café to possibly feature in your magazine, what considerations are there?
It’s less about cafe’s specifically and more about stories, cities, and people. Thankfully, many of the best cafes in a city happen to tell the best stories about coffee. But, with New York for instance, the way that people drink coffee has so much to do with where they live and their routines and not a lot to do with quality. For many New Yorkers—or visitors to New York—their favorite coffees are served from streetcars or bodegas for $1 in a styrofoam cup. Or maybe their favorite cafe is the one down the block with the friendly barista they chat with every morning, or one near their office that happens to have free WiFi and doesn’t get mad if you do work there for a few hours before meeting up with a friend. The only true best-of lists we compile are in the top 10 lists we put together for each issue for that reason. — Elyssa
What have you seen in your coffee travels that might surprise us?
The craziest coffee thing I’ve ever seen was in Lhasa, Tibet. Adam and I were there in December 2013/January 2014, and after sightseeing on our first day, we stopped into a random restaurant to grab a bite and some water. On the way out, we noticed a gorgeous cappuccino with a perfectly executed rosetta (latte art) sitting on the bar. Third wave coffee’s not exactly something that’s taken off in Lhasa, so we wanted to know who made the coffee and how pouring latte art made it to Tibet. Turned out the “barista” was a teenager who had watched YouTube video after YouTube video—from the U.S., elsewhere in Asia, etc.—learning about latte art. That was pretty amazing. — Elyssa
Did volume 1 on New York and volume 2 on Tokyo teach you anything that you’ll alter in future volumes?
I think a lot of people who drink specialty coffee think that the coffee explosion is recent–something that just began to explode in the last 15 years or so in trendy neighborhoods. But coffee is a very old beverage, one that people enjoy from street carts in New York to meticulous espresso shops in Tokyo. Covering all aspects of drinking coffee — from low-to-high end, from everyday to special occasions, is an important theme for us. – Adam
How do you recommend people find the best coffee when traveling to a place they’ve never been?
What I usually do is find one that I really like, when there, I ask the baristas for others. It is such a tightly knit community that you’ll get the best recommendations doing it that way. I would say, as long as you find one good shop to start, you’re set. — Daniela
Adam, Daniela, Elyssa – perhaps an impossible question – if you had to choose a favorite café, which one would it be and why?
My favorite cafe is one that’s not too cramped, serves good coffee, and is flooded with light. In New York, you can usually find me at Propeller, Sweetleaf, Little Collins, or Bluestone Lane (which also has my favorite chai) these days. It has to be a place I can settle into with a notebook or a good read for an hour or so and feel at home. But it also has to be a place where I’d want to stand with an expert espresso and refuel. I still think my favorite cafe is a tiny, neighborhood cafe in a small Tuscan town called Monsummano Terme called Il Cappuccino del Re. I spent a summer there, and it was my first time really understanding a) what great coffee could taste like and b) how much it was woven into the social fabric. It was where people would gather in the morning and talk about the news before the day started, or a place to escape the unbearable heat and recharge. That’s the kind of thing I like. — Elyssa
This is such a hard question because you have to take so much into consideration, but for me, even if I do not visit it as often now, I would say Gasoline Alley on Bleecker Street. It is just the perfect little place for a morning cup. — Daniela
Bear Pond Espresso. It’s a sanctuary for espresso, both serious and exacting yet friendly and relaxed. Katsu’s passion for perfection comes across immediately. I’ve seen him toss 2-3 shots before extracting the final one that he’s going to serve. He does not settle, and that’s a very admirable trait with coffee. — Adam
Where will volume 3 be about? If it’s confidential information, that’s ok, we understand! but please let us know about which cities interest DRIFT for possible future publications?
Drift, Volume 3: HAVANA. – Adam
EDITOR IN CHIEF Adam Goldberg (@alifewortheating)
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Daniela Velasco (@danielavelasco)
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Elyssa Goldberg (@elyssarg)
Photography by Daniela Velasco