By Molly Freedenberg
Wow, this coffee is hot. And I'm not talking about when it's brewed. SV Holdings, the parent company that operates Stella and Victoria pastry companies, has launched its own line of organic roasts - and the packaging is downright sizzling.
The central theme is vintage pin-up girls whose poses and phrases are meant to embody the characteristics of the coffee inside the bag. A va-va-va-voom hourglass in a Jessica Rabbit dress nearly commands you to drink the bold, intense Espresso Roast by saying, "come taste how strong I am." A smoky-eyed brunette kneeling on the cover of the Full Body Roast wants you to know "I'm known to be full bodied and rich in flavor" -- and also seems to want you to come to bed with her. And your incentive for drinking the Breakfast Blend? The playful, lingerie-clad reminds you to "wake up with me every morning!"
According to Susan Jacobson Flaherty, co-owner of PV and also the artist for PV Fine Coffees, the idea was to do something flirty and whimsical. The challenge, though, was not getting too sexy or explicit. "We came up with some funny things" during brainstorming meetings, said Flaherty. "You start to go over the top, and then taper them down. You want everybody to be able to buy it. I tested it by my conservative parents." (The raciest she would tell me was the alternate version of Breakfast Blend text, "I bet you couldn't wait to wake up with me every morning," but I'm betting it got a lot worse than that.)
And even so, the "tapered down" versions are still pretty sultry. I'm sure the coffee tastes great, but right now, I'm just loving looking at it. Check 'em out:
When brainstorming about the image for the Espresso Roast, Flaherty knew the pin-up should "look empowered. I wanted her to be strutting." In fact, Espresso's saying, is "almost aggressive."
Espresso Roast: "Come taste how strong I am"
With the Full Body Roast, Flaherty wanted a more "come hither" look. And making a curvy model for the blend was a no-brainer.
Full Body Roast: "I'm known to be full bodied and rich in flavor"
This one required something different. "It's little more innocent, so I wanted her to look simple and like she's feeling good," said Flaherty. "I didn't want to make it too sexy."
House Blend: "I'm constant and never ordinary"
For the sweet, bright Breakfast Blend, Flaherty wanted to be a little cheeky, making the model flirty and her signature phrase a bit wink-wink funny.
Breakfast Blend: "Wake up with me every morning"
And the Decaf blend features the line's only fair-haired model. "I wanted her to be blonde and innocent," said Flaherty. "She's decaf. You don't get wound up when you're drinking decaf. You stay mellow...she's sitting around on a furry rug, ready to be laid back."
Decaf Blend: "Mellow, slow, and relaxing"
SV Fine Coffee is available at Stella Pastry (446 Columbus, SF. 415-986-2914), both Victoria Pastry locations (1362 Stockton, SF. 415-781-2015; 292 Bon Air, Greenbrae. 415-461-3099), and online at www.stellapastry.com or www.victoriapastry.com.