What is the biggest change in your life as the winter thaws and the spring flowers bloom? We hope it’s more than putting on shorts for the first time, but what we really hope is that Cold Press coffee makes it back into your morning routine! It is that time of year again and we are happy to announce that Cold Press on tap is making a splash this year. To celebrate this highly-caffeinated-borderline-addictive brew, we felt it was only fitting we had our own handmade custom tap handles.
Richard Venberg, the artist behind the tap handles, is a long time wood worker who now calls Minnesota home. After various odds jobs in the wood working industry, trying to figure out what he wanted to do, he started a custom furniture and cabinetry shop in Longmont, Colorado and hasn’t looked back since. Over the next several years he took a serious interest in renewable energy and its future in the United States. In 1990, he decided to pursue this interest more directly and enrolled in the College of Architecture at the University of Minnesota with a focus on Sustainable Design — and boy are we glad he did! Though he came to Minnesota for school, he — like many — just decided to stay. Outside of education, Richard was also an active member on the American Institute of Architects Minnesota – Committee on the Environment (AIA MN-COTE) for 12 years, helping to build the green housing movement in its earliest stages.
Richard has completed projects all across the spectrum of fine wood working. Most recently, Richard worked on building a cedar shed — and even more recently, our tap handles. But Richard also has experience in flooring, cabinets, home additions and staircases.
Richard created the staircase pictured here without any mechanical fasteners, just traditional wood joinery techniques. That means no nails, screws, or bolts holding this staircase together, simply oak wood.
To use on his many projects, Richard has an extensive inventory of unconventional, secondhand, sustainably sourced wood. One of the pieces we used to make a tap handle was from California Redwood that had been turned into a deck on Lake Harriet home 50 years ago. Another, our personal favorite, came from a structural beam from a nearby Minneapolis home made of original, old growth Minnesota pine, dating back to the 1790s. Before these small, leftover pieces of former projects were turned into tap handles, they stood a part of many iconic Minnesota locations.
All of this may you leave you wondering why in the world we went to such an experienced wood worker to have something as simple as tap handles made. Richard’s strong commitment to environmentally friendly production seemed to match with our own sustainable missions; he has experience in eco-friendly finishes, a wide selection of sustainable wood and his wood shop is right in his backyard. In our eyes, he was the perfect combination of custom and professional work. And if that wasn’t enough, Richard is a incredibly humble man, who at no point made us feel like he was too skilled for this project.
For over fifteen years now, Richard has been running his wood working business out of his backyard studio. The shop itself boasts a green roof full of vegetables by mid summer, passive solar collection to power his radiant in-floor heating, and a large skylight for day lighting. It was featured on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home and Garden Tour in 2006 and has been on the National Solar Home Tour for the past fourteen years.
The Cold Press
Now that you know everything about our tap handles, let’s talk about the Cold Press. For those of you who are just climbing on the Cold Press band wagon we’ll give you a little introduction. We blend a mix of light and dark roast beans, grind them coarsely, and soak them for approximately 18 hours before we squeeze as much of the concentrate out of the grounds when finished. This makes a wonderfully rich but balanced finished product. The subtle sweet notes in the beginning soon become a rush of milk chocolate flavors, with a refreshing finish. We like it best when served ice cold on tap. But don’t just take our word for it– try it yourself. You can find our Cold Press on tap in the Minneapolis Skyways at SIMPLS, in the Como neighborhood of St. Paul at Healing Elements and at the Minneapolis Farmers Market every weekend from now until October.
Welcome to Summer!