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Entries in Food & Drink (38)


John Harbor's Coffee House Lives On!

Picture 3.pngDecember 18, 2008 — John Harbor's is alive!
My favorite local coffee shop, John Harbor's Main Street Coffee House was in a bind on December 7th, 2008. They needed to raise $25,000 and/or gain new business partners by Monday the 8th in order to stay open on Tuesday the 9th.

Our family and some friends visited John Harbor's multiple times since the call went out for support and I've been very happy to see the open sign lit every day, as I pass by John Harbor's.

Here's an email from Jeremy & Erin at John Harbor's, letting their fans know they've survived with new business partners and a new plan:

A Special Thank You from John Harbor's Coffee House

Thank You from the bottom of our hearts.
John Harbors has made a difference in the community and now the community has made a significant difference in John Harbor's.

A single voice of thousands was heard on Sunday night, December 7th.

Since our request for help went out to our community, much has happened and I'm sure everyone would like to know.  Please share this good news.  Our community has helped, and in MANY ways. 

Entire congregations prayed as one for John Harbor's. Individuals stopped by and supported through purchases of gift cards, T-shirts, whole bean coffee, and gifting. The music that was from 4pm to 7pm lasted until 10pm!

A celebration was truly held on Pearl Harbor Day and I find it personally humbling that our community came together to save a dream that we all have come to share - a dream of community through a small coffee house.

Thank you!

For the part time employees... thank you!
For the full timers... thank you!
For the customers... thank you!
For the dream and hope that drives the team and the customers of John Harbor's... thank you!

Please, once again, help spread the word that John Harbor's is open for business due to God's providence.  We stand with new partners, a revised business plan, and much needed internal support.  Most importantly, however, we would like to thank everyone who prayed and gave their money and time.

As "A Thank You for Support" click here for a special gift from us at John Harbor's, print off the coupon and bring it in between now and Jan 31, 2009 to receive $1.00 off any beverage or $2.00 off your food order.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Jeremy, Erin, Our New Partners, and the JH Staff

Thanks for your help if you supported John Harbors!

Here's the first press release from Jeremy & Erin from John Harbors:

You are invited to a special music benefit at John Harbor's!

John Harbors has made a difference in the community:
Erin and I take joy in the growing community and friends that we have come to know. It is part of the reason we open the door every morning.

The staff and friends of John Harbor's have come together on more than a few dozen efforts to bring joy, awareness, and financing to some wonderful local community efforts. We have opened our doors to the Invisible Children of Ghana, the Precious Children of Tanzania, and the AIDS Crisis just to name a few. It also brings us great pride to say that we have supported locally those with Cancer, church groups, community leagues, high school teams, and many other groups that we have touched on a daily basis.

But... we can no longer do this alone.

We have an immediate, dire challenge:
We need commitments to come up with $25,000 by Monday to insure we can open our doors on Tuesday.

How did this happen:
We were able to start John Harbor’s with hope, vision, a dream, and a small budget. Since the opening we have realized that this shoe-string budget is insufficient. We have tried on our own to improve and correct our financial situation but failed to obtain funding. This past miscalculation has led us to needing immediate assistance.

We do have a solution:
We believe that ONE is simply too small a number to ACHIEVE greatness! We realized that the way to serve our community is through getting the community more involved. We are seeking people who want to help make a difference in our community by becoming co-owners and co-laborers with us.

With 2 years experience and a broadened management team, we know what we must do to run John Harbors more effectively.

We don't want a free pass, just a helping hand:
While things can happen that are outside of our control, we will do our best to repay the community for helping us out. If your desire is to co-labor with us, there will be benefits. If you can invest, there will be profit sharing. Together we will ensure that your interests will be protected.

What you can do:

  • COME to our benefit event on Sunday at 4pm
  • Pass out the flyers (download PDF here) take them to your church and to your friends
  • Donate
  • Become a partner with John Harbor's
  • Stop by and get a gift card to bless your family with for Christmas
  • Tell others about our need, please help.
  • Blog
  • E-mail
  • Facebook your friends
  • Submit press releases
  • Call the people of influence that you know

Thank you so much for your support, friendship, and prayer! Feel free to contact me with your questions.


Jeremy, Erin, & the JH Staff

John Harbor's Main Street Coffee House
N88 W16521 Main Street
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
262) 250-7700


Coffee Achiever Interview at

cp-sketchtoon-calendar-2009.jpgI'm very honored to be interviewed and featured as Coffee Achiever for December 2008 issue of the iNeedCoffee newsletter.

I replied to questions from Alex Scofield, who crafted his article from my replies. It's fascinating to see how Alex's article compares with my interview replies. If you're curious, I've included my interview replies below.

Here's an excerpt from Alex's article:

"The coffee artwork in Rohde’s calendar is an outgrowth of his Sketchnotes. They’re a twist and a major upgrade on the margin doodles of a note-taking student – Sketchnotes capture an event utilizing visual elements and fonts that are as crucial as the text in the overall presentation."

You can read the entire interview and the other great articles at

Original Questions & Answers

Here are Alex's questions and my detailed replies, the basis of the final article.

Q: Can you say a little bit about where you grew up, where you went to school, and how you developed as an artist?

I grew up in Chicago, an area called Rogers Park, right on the border with Evanston, Illinois near Northwestern University. I went to school in that area through my Freshman year in high school, when our family moved to the Milwaukee area, where I still live today.

My elementary and high school years were very formative as an artist, because I drew all the time. That early experience of constantly drawing has been key to drawing and illustrating now that I'm older.

Q: How were SketchNotes born, or how did they evolve toward their present form?

They were born back in 2007 in a form clearly defined as "sketchnotes". I was attending a UX Intensive event put on by Adaptive Path in Chicago when I created the first set:

I decided to try intentionally including drawings and fonts in my notes to see if it was possible and how well I would be able to capture the event. It worked out so well, I've continued to take sketchnotes at other events:

Lately, I've been invited by organizers of several events like SEED 3, and An Event Apart to be the official 'sketchnoter' at those events, which has worked out quite well:

I'm scheduled to attend Word of Mouth Crash Course on December 10th, and SXSW Interactive in March 2009 as the official sketchnoter. I'm very excited about these and other future sketchnoting opportunities.

Q: Was there anything in particular that inspired the calendar’s coffee theme?

Our friend Kathy loves coffee and happens to have a coffee themed kitchen. We had a terrible time finding coffee calendars for her at Christmas, so we decided to create our own coffee calendar at Café Press.

A few years ago my wife and I created a coffee calendar with photography, which our friend loved. Then, as I had been sketching more in the past few years, I had the idea to do a calendar with an illustrated coffee theme.

So, I took my Moleskine pocket sketchbook to local cafes and began the illustration, which were scanned and colorized in the Mac and posted at Café Press as the calendar you can buy today:

It's been very popular as a gift, I think because there are so few good coffee calendars out there. Turns out I'm the top organic hit in Google search results for 'coffee calendar' along with my friend Ricardo Levins Morales' wonderful illustrated coffee calendar:

Q: Can you describe the “colorization” process used for the Sketchtoon calendars?

The art is all done in black and white in a pocket Moleskine sketchbook, scanned in and colorized in Photoshop.

I've found a few special brushes in Photoshop to created the mottled look for the dark brown, and the color for the coffee drinks was painted so it overprints the black artwork.

Q: The first time you colorized your art this way, was it a happy accident, or the expected result?

I've actually done similar colorizations in my career as a graphic designer, in particular some illustration work for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee years ago, with black and white art colorized in Photoshop.

I like this approach because I can easily change direction or colors by simply re-doing a layer of the Photoshop file.

Q: Do you ever do your coffee Sketchtoons while you’re drinking the beverage described?

Heh, great question! I've had most of these drinks, and a few while sketching the art at the local café.

Q: Do you remember when you first drank coffee?

When I was about 5 I spilled hot coffee on myself at my grandmother's house, but it hasn't deterred me! I recall starting to drink coffee regularly in college, when I worked as graphic editor for the Milwaukee Area Technical College Times. They had a coffee club I could afford, and during the cold winters, hot coffee was perfect.

Q: What is the café/coffee scene like around Brown Deer and Milwaukee? Any favorite places?

Of course we have the chains here, Starbucks and Caribou, but in Menomonee Falls where I live, we have an excellent local coffee shop called John Harbor's Main Street Coffee house. They feature great, locally roasted coffee, food, free WiFi, and live music:

Another Milwaukee area roaster and coffee chain called Alterra Coffee, with cafes all over the city in interesting and often historical buildings:

And there are all sorts of small, independent cafes and coffee shops around the city, too numerous to list.

Q: How big a part of your life is coffee these days?

Coffee is very important. I brew coffee in the morning for my wife and I to
start the day. At Northwoods Software where I work, I often pull shots of
espresso or make cappuccinos on the office DeLonghi Magnifica — which I have
to say is great to have around.

I also have a Krups espresso maker at home which takes pods as well as ground coffee, a French press and a handy moka pot.

Every now and then I like getting away to my local café for coffee to read,
or do a little sketching or design work in a relaxed environment.

Q: What is your favorite kind of coffee, or your favorite coffee-based beverage?

I like darker roast coffees and given a choice, I'll take a cappuccino or a well-pulled shot of espresso. For me coffee is all about taste.

Q: From the ‘Diner Coffee’ entry, I get the feeling that you appreciate high-end coffee, yet are okay with drinking diner coffee, too, depending on the situation. Am I right?

Yes, exactly! I like exploring a wide variety of coffee and surprisingly, some diner coffees aren't so bad. I think in the US there's been a positive effect of Starbucks and other coffee establishments improving the quality of coffee overall, which benefits we coffee fans in the end.

But I will say that when I encounter truly bad coffee I won't drink it. Life is just too short to torture my taste buds. :-)

Alex, thanks for the opportunity to interview with iNeedCoffee!

Check out the full interview at


2009 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar is Available!

cp-sketchtoon-calendar-2009.jpgThe 2009 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar is now up for sale! You can buy it for $19.99 plus shipping at CafePress, with US and international shipping available.

Back in 2006 I started drawing sketchtoon style coffee illustrations in my Moleskine sketchbook in ink, scanning each illustration into the Mac for colorization in Photoshop.

In 2007, over 100 of the 2008 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendars were sold, so it seems there's a demand out there for coffee calendars.

Each month's illustration features a different coffee drink, with several unique drinks from various areas of the world, like the Flat White from down under and the Greek Frappe. Check out the cover and 12 illustrations at Flickr. I'm very pleased with how the calendar turned out.

Sketchtoon Photos
I've posted several photos of the original ink sketchtoons to Flickr:

Espresso Sketchtoon (Close-up)Latte & Espresso SketchtoonsCappuccino SketchtoonMacchiato Sketchtoon

It's a great gift idea for coffee lovers who would enjoy a unique coffee calendar.

Buy It Today: 2009 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar: $19.99 + shipping.

Related Links
Check out Ricardo Levins Morales' very cool 2009 Coffee Calendar too!


Pizzas on the Grill

After mentioning on Twitter that I was going to make pizzas on the grill for friends today, I decided to record the process on video:

Making pizzas on the grill is great for small or large groups and is especially fun for kids. Everyone gets to participate, yet each person can be an individual within the group. Even better, they taste great!

Give 'em a try while you can still fire up the grill!


INeedCoffee: Creating the 2008 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar

Espresso SketchtoonMichael Allen Smith, the publisher of provided a great opportunity to share how I created my 2008 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar, in the February 2008 issue of INeedCoffee.

In the article, I share details of my inspiration, how I researched coffee drinks and the process of sketching, scanning and production to create the 2008 Sketchoon Coffee Calendar.

Here's a teaser:

A few years ago, my wife and I went looking for coffee-themed calendars to be used as gifts for coffee-loving friends. We were very surprised to find none in the calendar kiosks at the local malls or at coffee shops and very few to choose from online.

Being creative people, we decided to create our own calendar, using Cafe Press to print them. Our first calendar used black and white photos and was received very well by our 2 friends.

About the same time, I'd been working on a drawing style I had created called Sketchtoons where I mixed loose sketches with hand-written notes in my Moleskine sketchbook. I decided to do a new calendar, creating sketchtoons for 12 coffee drinks.

In this article, I'll document how I came up with the ideas, drew, scanned and colorized them for use in calendars and other items, and then marketed and sold the calendar with no budget.

I invite you to read the entire article: Creating the 2008 Sketchtoon Coffee Calendar and check out the excellent coffee resources on

Even better: get in touch with Michael and submit your articles, reviews, and artwork for potential publication in a future monthly issue of the INeedCoffee Newsletter.