Portrait Coffee believes water tells our story and Ocean Liturgy has an important one to tell.
A special capsule collaboration between Photographer and Director Ray Neutron and Portrait, Ocean Liturgy "is an homage to the daily rituals we engage in, birthed from the communal longing of Black folks separated across the African Diaspora. Each sip is meant to connect us back through our communal longing so that by this shared experience we can taste the richness of our roots."
The initial concept arose for two crucial reasons, "The idea came from our desire to leverage our platform at Portrait to bring more awareness to Ray's work as well as give value to the coffee community by speaking to the complexities of Black identity." Portrait exclusively tells us. "Our goal is to reimagine the picture that comes to mind when folks think of specialty coffee to include black folks. One aspect of this is to help black coffee drinkers see themselves reflected well."
Ocean Liturgy has a name as deep as its purpose, "We decided to focus on the communal rituals of Black people and the art of brewing coffee. Water is essential in both cases. For the Black coffee drinker, water connects us to the African diaspora via the transatlantic slave trade. For all coffee drinkers, water is an essential component of brewing coffee — without it we couldn't enjoy the drink we all love. By connecting the two we aim to display a vision of inclusivity as we all engage the ritual of coffee brewing and drinking."
While the artist and inspiration were firmly in place, there was still work to be done. "Ray was an incredible collaborator. To prepare for the story, we watched documentaries and viewed the art together — Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, and Ray Francis to name a few," Portrait recounts. "On the tasting side we wanted to focus on accessible taste and a quality experience. In this particular coffee we discerned notes of apricot, Cabernet, and caramel. Ray and our Head Roaster and CEO, Aaron Fender, selected for taste and picked regions where Africans exist outside of Africa (Brazil and Colombia) as a call to the diversity that exists across the black diaspora. We wanted an accessible and delicious profile as well."
Portrait Ocean Liturgy (23.55/325 grams)