Our last post was about how we describe Sip Coffee and Beer to new or potential friends. We wrote that one because we get asked a lot, “What kind of place is Sip?” (We said, “We’re a local cafe in the European tradition.” You’ll have to go find that post to see what that means.)
Less often, we get asked about our name. Now, we happen to think it’s kinda self-explanatory but, hey! — people are interested.
The problem is … we don’t have a good answer.
When we were first getting started back in 2013/14, as we talked about what to call our new place, there were two words that kept coming up in the conversations: “sip” and “brew.” Or sometimes, when we got tired of that, “brew” and “sip.”
Yeah, these may not have been the most stimulating conversations. But we were getting tired from all the planning. And cranky, because we didn’t have a place to make the coffee yet.
Sip won. Mostly because we don’t operate a brewery — although some of our best friends do, and we’re proud to feature their products at both Sip locations — and we didn’t want to give customers the impression that we do too.
Still, the conversation was kinda interesting in a philosophical, angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin way, and we thought you might be interested. After all, you’ve made it this far down the page, right? So, as best as we can remember, here are some of the things that came to mind during those exciting, starry-eyed nights when we stayed up late, sitting on plastic chairs in the drywall dust long after the construction crew went home, wishing we had some place to set up the darned espresso machine.
“Sip and brew” starts with you
Sip and brew are simple enough words. Both are verbs. But they each have a different verber and verbee, as they’re known in grammar. [No they’re not. Ed.] So when we first began thinking about a name, we had these in their logical order: Brew and Sip.
We expect you, the customer, to be the verber of sip. That means a cup of one of our delicious coffee blends from our friends at Cartel is the verbee. It’s a simple transaction, really: You order a cup of coffee or a blended drink. You sip it. Pleasure ensues.
We, however, are the verber of brew, which is, of course, how we make your coffee. That has to come before the sipping. So brew comes first. That means the coffee is also our verbee. So transactionally, there are two verbers and only one verbee: We (verber 1) brew a cup of coffee (verbee) which we present to you. You (verber 2) sip the coffee (verbee).
And there it was, all logical and obvious: We would be opening as Brew and Sip!
“But,” somebody asked, “isn’t ‘brew’ also a noun?”
A clear brew
“Brew” is an overachiever, as words go. “Sip” means basically one thing. But “brew” can mean:
- Making coffee
- Making tea
- Making beer
- Making bread [Not anymore. Ed.]
- Making trouble
It can also mean the product of 1, 2 or 3. So while Brew and Sip would have worked, it also might have led people to believe we do either or both of 3 and 5. (We don’t do 3, and try not to do 5.)
So maybe we would be better off without “Brew” on the sign. Otherwise we might get even more questions than we do about our name. Still, that ignores both the verb of what we do for people who want coffee and tea, and the noun for all those delicious … yes, brews … from Arizona crafters that rotate in and out of our taps. But one word applies to both.
“Sip it is!” somebody said with an enthusiasm that made it sound like they’d finally found a way to get the La Pavoni a’steamin’.
“Yeah,” said somebody else. “But sip what?”
Our brew-and-sip compromise
We wanted to keep “sip,” because that’s about you. But we wanted to be clear about what your verbee is for that. [Stop that. There is no such word. Ed.] And maybe because we were too exhausted to think hard anymore, or maybe because the signmaker was breathing down our necks for a decision, the simplest answer came to us all at once; a solution that would be perfectly clear about sip and brew and brew and sip and verbs and nouns and who’s doing what to which: Sip Coffee and Beer.
“OK,” somebody said. “But what about the food?”
Just go read the last post.