Press Check: The Specialty Coffee Book Victoria

Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design

Dine X Design | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Press Check

Publication: The Specialty Coffee Book Victoria
Publisher: Smudge, Culinary Travel Publishers 
Writers: Jonette George & Ethan Jenkins
Photography: Bianca White & Kaitlyn Wilton
Illustration & Graphic Design: Daniele Wilton, Grace West, Jennifer Mullins, Susan Hardjono
Smudge Publishing Team
Smudge Team Shown Above:  Joanna, Susan, Olivia and Penny & Daniele. 
Location: Melbourne, AU
Smudge Head Office is tucked down a narrow backstreet of Melbourne’s Prahran. We’re flanked on all sides by some of the city’s best cafes, trendy people walking pugs, amazing coffee, and more than one open-all-weekend nightclub. All things combined make for a super-lively neighbourhood teeming with unique characters and colourful goings-on.  

Jonette Wilton
 Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Inside Look4

This is no ordinary city guide! What an in-depth discovery of the Victorian coffee scene, what was your process like while selecting what would be included in the completion? We were very particular about the grade of coffee that each café was serving. We made sure they were serving specialty coffee before we went to meet with them. Specialty coffee is a high quality bean that under strict guidelines “cup” (tastes) at =>82% Once we established that they met that criteria, we visited and tried their coffee and chatted with lots of owners and baristas. WE wanted to present cafes that cared about their coffee, and were passionate in the way they produced it.  

Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Photography Spotlight3

What was the greatest challenge and what did you learn from it while working on this particular book? The challenge for us is trying to educate the general public what specialty coffee is all about. I think we have established this subliminally by presenting only cafes that provide it. We really want the public to understand that coffee is like wine. Why drink low quality, when you can walk a few steps further and find a better product. Of course, the fact that a café uses specialty coffee doesn’t mean their coffee is always great! Other factors come into play like the ability of the barista, the milk they might add, and even how clean the machine is.  Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Inside Look3  If there was just one place to start with from The Specialty Coffee Book Victoria – where should we go and what do we order?  I would have to say one of our most passionate Melbourne Roasters is Nolan Hirte at Proud Mary in Colingwood. A visit to his café will open your eyes to some of the best coffee sourced directly at origin. You can ask for a single origin espresso – but single origin must be black to fully appreciate the beautiful flavours in your cup. Milk is usually added to a blend of beans so the flavour can cut through the milk and produce flavours (not just a milky cup of froth). You will also discover a large filter coffee menu – another great way to taste the full flavours of single origin coffee.  

What was the most exciting part of creating this book? Have you recovered from what could only be an insane caffeine high? The most exciting part of creating this book was moving into NSW to discover another world of passionate coffee owners and baristas to go into our Specialty Coffee Book NSW! We’re still on a high, and the way coffee is trending in Australia, I think we will stay up for a long while.  

Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Photography Spotlight4

What’s next? The culinary scene in Australia is on fire – what content are you focusing on now, or do you have a dream book that you’d love to get the green light for publishing? We have just finished two books on Sydney’s dining scene – Flavours of Sydney and Flavours of Urban Sydney.  We are completing Flavours of Queensland, and about to start researching Flavours of South Australia. We have also written a sequel to our Coffee Encounters book, where we travelled to 18 different countries to discover the farms that grow coffee. This book has been so successful, we are also producing a Chinese version of it – translated into Mandarin! Later this year we are moving onto Flavours of Bali – tough I know! But someone has to do it.  And by the end of the year, we are planning to write the pinnacle of culinary destination books – Flavours of New York!


Bianca White
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Inside Look2
How did the process begin on this cookbook and how was your creative vision mapped out leading up to the initial shoot days? This was a dream job for me as my love for coffee had developed at an early age and some of these venues were already my regular haunts. I wanted to capture a visual story of each venue, showcasing the passion of the baristas and roasters and their love of specialty coffee . 
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Photography Spotlight2
As seasoned food-focused photographers, what subjects or locations raised the anxiety bar and how do you creatively solve those problems while working out in the field? Any outrageous tricks that needed to be pulled out of the hat? All the venues had such unique characteristics it was vital to capture the vibe and essence and to make each venue jump off the page. Getting to know the café owners and the baristas was important, each had their own story …it was important for me to also capture the passion behind the people involved in running the venues. I was very lucky that each venues was beautifully presented so it made it easy to capture great images. Having a friendly disposition and making the barista feel comfortable to capture the perfect coffee pour was the only 'trick' that need to be pulled out of the hat.
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Photography Spotlight
What kind of equipment did you use and what is your essential photographer’s kit while heading into such an in-depth shoot such as this one? Because there was so much travel involved and you are working in lots of small spaces you have to travel pretty light. Everything was shot in natural light. A tripod and reflector are always essential as is a wide angle lens and 50mm lens.....along with lots of memory cards!

Susan Hardjono
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Illustrated Type
For the illustration process, did you work from a creative brief, photographs, or did you have the freedom to play and experiment with different styles and ideas? Grace West was the lead illustrator on this project and had the freedom to extend on the creative direction of The Burger Book Victoria, but with a coffee aesthetic. She sketched from visual reference for the more instructional elements like the Coffee Methods chapter, while also having the freedom to create hand drawn typography for the coffee quote double page spreads. This gives the book a really nice hand-crafted feel when paired with the kraft stock cover and uncoated internal pages and works well as the second instalment of the series.
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Illustration
Art Arsenal – what’s in your creative toolbox and what did you use for this particular project? Pen and paper has been the foundation of all the illustrated elements, then these were scanned and vector line-work created. The use of various image textures are layered throughout the book, complimenting the beautiful photography and gives each chapter a different level of detail and interest.
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Illustrated Type 2 
How do you stay inspired while working on book illustrations? Any particular caffeinated bevvy or playlist that helped keeps the pen moving? Pinterest is a great online resource for all things design and illustration, you can get lost in there sometimes! But browsing the bookstore is best, it's great to see what others are doing and all the interesting finishes that are coming out of specialty, illustrated books. Music wise, we love Spotify at Smudge and we listen to all genres. Fridays see us listening to movie soundtracks where we have to guess what movie its from, or choosing a decade or music style. We like to have a bit of fun to help the creative juices flowing.
Press Check | Specialty Coffee Book Victoria | Dine X Design | Sketches
What was the highlight of your experience working on this book and which component was a favorite part of the process? I'm a a bit of a type nerd so the highlight for me was selecting the typeface families to really give the book a strong look from a typography perspective. As this book is heavily illustrated and has lots of photography, it was important to find a group of typefaces that were complimentary, whilst bringing all these elements together. So we used Trend HM Slab for the headings, Tabac Slab for the body text and Charmante in the quotes, a nod to it's use in The Burger Book Victoria. I'm also a bit of a typesetting freak so I'm quite methodical and can get into quite a meditative state when styling pages of text. It's weird, but true.

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We've been craving a proper flat white and this caffeinated collection is not helping! Insightful, well edited and chock full of foamy warm cupped dreams...Let's just say the need to book another ticket to Melbourne for a self-guided caffeine tour is on the top of our to-do list.

Take a look at all of incredible books in Smudge Publishing's deliciously inspiring catalog and get a behind the scenes look and their latest happenings over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! You'll come down with a case of Australian Culinary Travel Fever too...guaranteed.

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Press Check” is a DXD Original Series which takes a deeper look behind the scenes of the publishing industry by focusing on the creative process of  authors, illustrators & photographers and how they create magic for the page before it hits the printing press.

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