Reason #38,965 why I love coffee people: They do stuff like build Lego models of espresso machines.
I was recently in the sunny San Francisco Bay Area for a family visit and also a chance to catch up with some of my old coffee pals; Stephen Vick, who buys coffee for Blue Bottle, is one of my original coffee peeps; we met back in 2002. So I hooked up with Stephen for lunch in Downtown Oakland, and then he swung me by Blue Bottle’s gorgeous, latest café, located in the historic WC Morse Building, for a tour.
We were chilling at one of the tall bar tables sipping on Cascara Fizz ”one of Blue Bottle’s signature cold beverages that was awesome, by the way; it’s made with Aida Batlle’s cascara as simple syrup, sparkling water, and lemon ”when this guy walks by. Stephen called out, œHey, Daniel! Come meet my friend, Sarah!
Daniel Lee is the store manager of the café. He came right over, super big smile on his face. Stephen said something like, œShow her the Legos, and that was when it all happened. I had my first encounter with Blue Bottle for the second time ¦ through Legos.
Daniel says this is how it started: He and a friend were kind of tipsy one night, and they ended up in a Toys ˜R Us (Don’t ask questions. Just keep reading). They found themselves in the Lego aisle. They had a credit card.
And then he decided to go bigger.
œI thought, what if I made the Blue Bottle at the Mint out of Legos? Daniel says, like it’s a rational musing. But thank goodness he did. It’s pretty genius ”check it out.
It took Daniel around 100 hours to complete the Blue Bottle Mint café. He used to work there, which is why he had such a good sense of the place and how everything fit together in the famous shop.
Daniel says he’s spent around $500 on Legos since he discovered this ”well, hobby’s not the right word, because he’s so damn good at this ”passion, that’s better. I want him to make a Kickstarter to raise money to make models of way more cafés. That is to say, I am a fan, and a big one.
Blue Bottle knows they have something pretty rad in Daniel, which is why they posted an article about him to their blog. But I wanted to share it with you here because, well, I think Daniel is a pretty freakin’ big deal.
I mean, c’mon! Legos!