Ray: I’m Ray.

Kandace: I’m Kandace.

Ray: This is Unpacking Coffee. This week…

Kandace: Pilot Coffee Roasters.

Ray: Revisited.

Who did we talk to this time?

Kandace: We talked to Nat Fried.

Nat: My name’s Nat Fried. I’m the head of account management for Pilot Coffee Roasters.


Ray: We’ve covered them before and what’s interesting is that they’ve changed their packaging. I’m a huge fan of this, but I want to talk about they actually re-drew their logo.

Pilot new logo

What’s interesting to me is that before it was just the Archer typeface. What’s bothering me is I don’t know what typeface this is, and I’m usually the typeface geek. *

They use a compressed sort of Franklin and then they use a nice script here and then you also see on these crazy awesome cards they give you they also use a little bit of the DIN for the German highway feel.

It’s very scientific. This is crazy, there’s like an extraction wheel, how extraction works, all these brew cards with numbers that match my sweater.

Kandace: They called ahead and asked what you’d be wearing and just sent us…


Ray: Do I want to know something? Hit me.

Kandace: They do all of their design in-house! Nat’ll tell us a little bit about it.

Nat: Rob’s wife Michelle (who’s one of the partners here now) is our Creative Director. She was a day a week up until recently and you could see changes in the brand happening, but very, very slowly. There’s only so much you can really do one day a week.

She’s in brand development in Toronto here downtown as a Creative Director there, so we’re extremely fortunate to have her and it’s been a huge change since she’s moved full time. So the Roastery and I think it really, really shows we’ve actually rebranded pretty much the whole company.


Kandace: Pilot started in 2009 in Toronto, but it actually has kind of an interesting history. One of the founders is from New Zealand, one from Canada. Nat told us a bit about how they got started.

Nat: The two founders, Jessie and Andy Wilkin had just moved back from Australia…New Zealand. Andy was from New Zealand originally, and Jessie, she’s from Toronto.

So that was 2009 and since then, the Toronto coffee culture has really developed in an amazing way with more roasters doing amazing work, great coffee, so a really vibrant scene. A lot of shops …


Kandace: They built this gorgeous new space, roasting facility that’s open to the public. They were the 2014 Micro Roaster of the Year in Roast Magazine. Do you know how they pick roasters of the year? Neither do I, but Connie from Roast Magazine came by and told us.

Connie: I’m Connie Blumhardt, publisher of Roast Magazine. What struck me about Pilot is they just seem to do everything really well. Their facility is beautiful, their packaging’s beautiful. You can really tell that they strive to have a high quality product from the start to the end. Toronto, Toronto specifically, so we’ve had three winners from Toronto close to consecutive, but we had Pilot, we had Propeller, and we had Reunion Island, all from Toronto within a three or four year span, which I think is really amazing. I think it speaks to the quality of coffee that they’re serving up in Toronto.


Kandace: They’re in Toronto, that’s a little bit far-

Ray: It’s in Canada.

Kandace: … for us West Coasters.

Ray: Well, that’s East Canada.

Kandace: Hmm, you got to go over a border and then-

Ray: And I think you can only get there by horseback, I’m not sure.

Kandace: Guess where they are in December, though?

Ray: Where?

Kandace: Just in case.

Ray: Where?

Kandace: Just in case you’re not from Toronto. Guess?

Ray: I’m guessing the La Marzocco space at the KEXP in Seattle?

Kandace: Nope.

Ray: Where?

Kandace: Kidding.

Ray: They’re having a one-month residency.

Kandace: Yeah, and they told us a little bit about what we could expect at the residency, sounds …

Ray: Okay, probably coffee.

Nat: We’re really going to try and do something interesting, which is like a high volume version of our bar. I could probably spin around here and give you a quick look, actually. It’s really a slow bar. It’s a slow serve. Come with an hour to drink coffee and talk to a barista. We’re on a laneway, it’s sort of hidden, it’s off the beaten path, you really have to know you’re coming here. We’re going to run Linea PB with auto brew ratio scales, really excited about working with that machine.

Kandace: They’re super passionate about cold brew, and one of the things that’s interesting is that they talk about cold brew as just being another method of brewing coffee.

Nat: We’re really excited about the ability to, you know, for a roaster to source, roast, brew, and package coffee and sell it to people for up to a month or a little longer is pretty exciting.

Kandace: Up next we have holiday special, can we say that? Next week …

Ray: Next week holiday special. This week was Pilot Coffee Roasters of Toronto, Canada. See you next week.

Trio of Pilot bags

* Update: Creative Director Michelle Wilkin Gives Us the Scoop

“Yes the previous logo was Archer. Well done. The curves and quirky nature of the font were a nice fit with our previous packaging and branding which was more artisan in nature.

However, the reason for your confusion with our new logo is it’s entirely custom. Our rebrand gave me the opportunity to customize our logo and tidy up areas of concern. The starting point was Archer, and I then spent time correcting curves, aligning and straightening so that the end result was a stronger more angular fit with our new modern packaging.

The supporting typefaces are Interstate (using a variety of styles) for all headings (condensed) and body copy. And my favourite unexpected addition of Harriet (always in Light Italic and lowercase) to add a bit of appetite appeal and romance to the delicious tasting notes, and a conversational element to the instructions.”

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