If you've had a cup of coffee at Taproom, you've taken sips out of a vintage Fire-King coffee mug. So what's the whole deal with those things?
I have to give sole credit of the idea to David Lamont, previously with Counter Culture Coffee and now with La Marzocco. (Fun fact: we also have David to thank for coining the term "Beerspresso".) Maybe ten years ago, David introduced me to this fun line of serveware that many people can recognize from their grandparents' kitchens. He said off-handedly at some point that it would be cool to have a coffee bar that served regular coffee out of them.
Anchor Hocking (the glassware company) produced a line of serveware called Fire-King, from the '40s through the '70s. They had mugs, bowls, plates and other dishware in the collection, and are often distinctive for the white "milk glass" that they're made out of (think Pyrex). We've used and sold all styles of Fire-King mugs, but have settled mostly on the stackable ones, with a preference for the Kimberly Diamond design.
I doubt that these mugs were ever intended for high-volume coffee shop use. They chip and crack as easy as any other glassware. They're not super easy to find, even in antique stores, and I've only ever found one at a Goodwill. We get all ours from eBay, and it's only affordable because we bid on the huge 30-piece lots that no one else wants.
So why do we use them if they're a lot of trouble to find and we constantly have to replace them? Well... they're fun to drink out of. We're proud of the coffee we serve, and it makes sense to have the quality and uniqueness of the beverage matched by that of the vessel it gets served in. If you go to Grandma's house and she hands you one of these mugs, you get a smile on your face and you just feel... special. That's the kind of experience we're going for at Taproom.
On your next visit, ask for a regular ol' drip coffee or a manual pourover brewed to order - by default, either one is always served in a Fire-King mug. We don't publicly advertise it much, but at any time you could also purchase any of our mugs if you want to take one home for good. We've actually unknowingly sold some rare pieces that are worth $50-$100 each!
And if you're clearing out Grandma's storage and happen upon a jackpot collection of these mugs and need someone to take them off your hands, let us know!