Black Tap Coffee discovers overseas imitator

Black Tap Coffee serves a Shakerato: a double long-shot of espresso shaken with ice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Grace Beahm/Staff

Like most business owners, Ross Jett of Black Tap Coffee tracks his company on Google Alerts, which is a good way to keep up with bloggers’ images of his baristas’ latte art and travel magazine write-ups. But recently, one of the Black Tap mentions referenced a London bodega by the same name.

Using Google Street View, Jett’s mother was able to zero in on the shop, which also appeared to be using Black Tap’s logo.

“She got all ruffled about it, and wanted me to look into it,” Jett says. “I talked to a couple of lawyers, and they told me if I got a cease-and-desist order, there was a 99 percent likelihood it would get thrown in the trash.”

Charleston’s culinary successes are apparently spawning copycats along with admirers.

“It’s flattering on some level, but it’s annoying that someone would lack the creativity to come up with a logo,” Jett says.

The London version of Black Tap Coffee could not be reached for this story. Jett hasn’t tried to contact the business, but says the distorted quality of the logo led him to believe it was a copy-and-paste job.

Jett hired a Salt Lake City designer he found online to create the Black Tap logo, which features a single Eiffel tower-like “A” at the center of the words “black” and “tap.” The coffeehouse a few months ago asked local graphic designer Jay Fletcher to touch up the logo. Like the previous iteration, it’s unprotected from entrepreneurs outside the U.S. who browse Pinterest for attractive logos.

“As a small business, it’s one of the things we have to swallow,” Jett says.