Royal Doulton is a British company that dates back to the early 19th Century.  Most of us remember the famed Toby Jugs and Figurines that Mom, Dad, or Grandma brought back from their trip to London.  Me? I’ve been carting around a Toby of Captain Ahab from Melville’s Moby Dick for the past 30 years or so. 

The Guilty Party

Doulton wasn’t always this way.  In fact, during the Victorian era they were innovative- look up Doulton Lambeth and you will see some fantastic salt glazed ceramics, for example.  Due to this innovation a Royal Warrant was granted in 1901, adding ‘Royal’ to the name.

The 20th century wasn’t too kind to Royal Doulton; the firm’s notable production remained largely in the realm of collectibles with a smattering of overly ornate dinnerware designed to lighten up an evening so stuffy even a steady diet of Pimm’s Cup couldn’t save it.  Even worse, the last quarter of the century had the firm and their production shuttled from conglomerate to conglomerate- struggling to find direction and a meaning for their brand.

Things have changed. Recently the company has begun to focus on more utilitarian ware, including a highly successful series of dinnerware sets with celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Chef Gordon Ramsay.

The latest introduction from the company is a series of notable and neat products surrounding the world’s favorite drink, coffee. A novel introduction in a world filled with too many coffee mugs and not enough fun.  Dubbed “The Coffee Studio Collection,” the series includes the expected assortment of cups, as well as a press pot and a filter slow drip.  The series has a grey base color that is hand-dipped into dark blue, plum, and dark grey glazes. This process also results in a third color where the two glazes meet- with the final product being varying from piece to piece- somewhat unique in appearance. Definitely not your Grandmother’s brand.

The Collection is also perfect for gifting- the smaller items are packaged in a neat ‘Coffee Bag’- similar to what you would find in the neighborhood grocery.  Clever.

Available at; priced from $14.50-$71.50. On sale at the moment.

A Royal Pour-Over from Doulton’s Coffee Studio

Coffee is a tradition at our house. First thing in the morning, fresh coffee.  Cappuccino for her.  Black for me.

There are many variables in making a good cup of coffee.  Blend or Varietal, Terroir, Roast, Grind…. all of these  terms become rather confusing. Add on the question of the how to: machine made, cold drip, stovetop, presspot, percolator, etc and you end up with stress instead of a good cup. Very intimidating.

The Solution?  Start with fresh coffee- and work from there.

Read more here.

Firecreek Coffee Company

Firecreek web-16

Firecreek Coffee Company was founded in 2008 and has coffee bar locations in Oak Creek (Sedona) and Flagstaff, right on Route 66.

We visited the Flagstaff location for some help with our photo shoot on coffee making with Royal Doulton.  We liked what we drank (and saw)- so we came back for the story.

Firecreek Coffee Company on Route 66 has a warm feel to it, with cork flooring and exposed wood. Like most coffee houses Firecreek makes the espresso, cold drips, and standard drips. The centerpiece of the store is the coffee machine/bar but the interesting part is the multi-use aspect of the location, as well as the concept of the business itself. Following the coffee bar is a real bar with tap beer and the beginnings of a beverage program (think alcohol). The back of the premises may be rented and include a stage for bands (and poetry slams on Wednesdays).

Read more here.