Recycled Ceramic Mugs


Starbucks is apparently working on a set of mugs made from recycled clay (20% of them atleast). I really like their shape and the typography made from flecks of broken ceramic. It’s not clear whether those broken bits are what makes up the recycled aspects of the mug, but I like the direction they’re headed. I’d love to see more of these in the future with a higher percentage of recycled content.

This recycled ceramic mug was brought to life in a zero-waste factory in Japan, which reuses the clay of former mugs and dishes to create new ones. It’s a story of reuse and renewal that is told from mug to package. The particles coming together to form words and shapes represent a renewed respect for resources. For from broken bits of ceramic, we can make beautiful things.

via The Dieline

posted by on 06.25.2010, under Design, Products

Student Work – Java Nest


A colorful package design project from Texas Tech design student, Cari Cadwell. While I’m not a fan of blends, the bird theme and the onomatopoeias used for the blend names create a unique conceptual brand within the realm of coffee. There’s also no such thing as an “espresso roast,” (one of my pet peeves of coffee packaging/marketing). Espresso is a method of brewing, but I’ll forgo that rant. On to the work:

The concept for my packaging is a retro feeling coffee. It is a series of coffee that uses the onomatopoeias for the various blends of coffee, such as Cock-a-doodle-doo for breakfast blend. The brand name I made up was Java Nest Coffee because of the bird theme. This was an open project for my student portfolio, and was awarded ‘Best Packaging’ in Texas Tech’s senior portfolio show for Communication Design.

via Lovely Package.

posted by on 06.21.2010, under Design, Misc.

Betacup Winners


Winner: Karma Cup

The Betacup contest has come to an end with 430 entries! Yesterday, the jury selected winners were announced, and first place went to the Karma Cup! Karma Cup transforms buying your daily coffee into a game that can only be played by those with reusable cups. Every person who uses their own mug puts a mark on the chalkboard and every 10th person get’s their drink for free! This is a great idea and I really hope Starbuck’s implements it. This process of engagement is far more rewarding than a $0.10 discount.

Special Mention: Rice Husk Betacup

Special Mention: Champion Cup

Check out the other winners and finalists at Betacup.

posted by on 06.18.2010, under Design, Misc., Products

A Saturday morning happy hour


I have recently been thinking about how much I would enjoy having a morning happy hour with good friends, good coffee and good conversation. I’ve always said I’d choose coffee over alcohol—if I had to pick one—so a reverse happy hour seems like a good idea.

MintedCondition recently sent me a link to this great Design*Sponge post about a coffee brunch hosted by contributor Paige Anderson Appel, including custom cupping scorecards and beignets!

We envisioned a sleepy, grey, Seattle morning with friends snuggly in their Uggs, hot coffee steaming, newspapers being passed, and intellectual chatter abounding. Now we just needed to put our creativity into the party.

Sounds fantastic.

Download a printable version of their scorecard, view the music playlist, and see more photos to inspire you’re own version of a morning happy hour on Design*Sponge.

posted by on 06.11.2010, under Misc.

When BP spills a cup of coffee


“Don’t worry about it, it’s a small spill on a very large table…”

via GOOD

posted by on 06.11.2010, under Misc.

Ka-Pow! Coffee as the new chocolate


I love coffee, but despise coffee flavored candy. It usually tastes nothing like coffee and has little to do with the bean we love. Enter Elizabeth Montes of Sahagún, an artisanal chocolatiere in Portland, OR. She takes single origin coffee beans from local roasters like Stumptown, Heart, Ristretto, and Extracto and treats them like cocoa beans.

Elizabeth combines the coffee with a bit of sugar and cocoa butter for texture, to create a coffee bar that acts like chocolate, but has all the distinct flavor of the single origin coffee used. So each batch of Ka-Pow! bars are as unique as the coffee used to make them.

I’d love to try these, but since it’s the “warm season,” $30 overnight shipping is the only available option for getting a hold of one. Guess I’ll have to wait until Christmas.

Ka-pow! at Sahagún

posted by on 06.09.2010, under Misc., Products

Magic moka


This is a cool concept for a stove top moka pot, designed by Joey Roth of Brooklyn, NY. I met Joey last month at a PSFK salon about design, which featured one of Joey’s newest products—a pair of beautiful ceramic speakers. I discovered this moka pot months ago, but just recently connected the dots, realizing it was the same guy.

The pot is made from porcelain, cork and steel and offers a new perspective on the iconic Bialetti moka pots most people are familiar with. It makes 2 shots of “espresso” and looks super futuristic while doing it.

more from Joey Roth

posted by on 06.08.2010, under Design, Products

Coffee Branding – Stumptown


In this ongoing series about coffee branding, I’ve decided to begin with one of the best roasters in the US, Stumptown Coffee. Portland, Oregon based Stumptown was founded in 1999 by Duane Sorenson, who cares deeply about his coffee. The brand itself has been built on his passion for quality. No logo, aesthetic, packaging, or marketing can capture the word-of-mouth buzz that transcends the taste of their product.

Packaging: There is no universal style to the Stumptown brand. Instead, an understated, but eclectic voice weaves itself through the various elements—beginning with their bags. For a company once credited with having the most valuable stock of coffee beans, you’d think more money would be spent dressing them. However, Stumptown choose a simple brown bag with a slight modification, a pocket. The slit in the front of the bag allows a color-coded card to be slipped in, displaying the type of bean, while the rest of the card contains information on the bean’s origin, elevation, and flavors. This modest, but functional packaging is a humble proclamation of the companies confidence in its product.

One thing I really appreciate about Stumptown’s branding, is that they’ve avoided the largest cliché in coffee branding, what I call the “origin aesthetic.” Coffee only grows in countries within the “coffee belt” roughly bordered by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, so every company selling coffee gets it from similar cultural regions. It’s difficult to “own” tribal patterns, native color palettes, or photos of the locals, when any of your competitors can do the same. It’s an overused and therefore meaningless way to tell your customers who you are—think bottled water and images of mountain springs.

Company Responsibility: When companies do use origin images, it often seems like it’s only purpose is to exploit the perception of the local population to increase coffee sales, instead of genuinely helping them. Stumptown however, has gone above and beyond most in the industry to establish relationships and pay above fair trade prices for coffee. They also work intensively with farmers to improve the quality, and thus the value of their crop. In 2006, Duane also helped create a non-profit organization in Rwanda that builds and maintains cargo bikes to help coffee farmers deliver their crop. Yet, they’ve chosen not to exploit any of this in their branding or marketing, they just do it because it’s right.

Cafés: I’ve only been to a couple Stumptown cafés, but I found them both to have a similar ambiance, even though they were quite different. The atmosphere captures a slight steampunk vibe, with dark wood contrasting against the shine of La Marzocco espresso machines. The barista’s were casually dressed like members of an indie band, except at the Ace Hotel in NYC where the baristas resemble the cast of the Newsies. While the environment will quickly be dubbed “hipster” by some, I think the latter is a fun and sophisticated twist on a bygone era. It makes visiting the café as much of an experience as drinking Stumptown coffee. If you want commodity comfort, look elsewhere.

Collateral: What I find most successful about the Stumptown brand, is the freedom and flexability it has established. All of the collateral has a unique aesthetic, designed with the brand in mind, but not dependent on anything designed previously. Each item is considered and fits comfortably into an invisible aura that Stumptown has created for itself. This characteristic has successfully allowed the brand to be placed within various lifestyles instead of trying to create one itself.

Coffee is a huge industry—the second largest commodity in the world after oil—and Stumptown is one company treating it differently. While I know there have been others in the past, most have let their concern for the quality in the cup slip. Stumptown meanwhile, has been a master of making that their greatest concern, which is more valuable than anything good branding can do.

Visit Stumptown Coffee
Design by Fritz Mesenbrink, now with OMFGCO.

posted by on 06.07.2010, under Design, Recommended Roasters

Canon love meet coffee love


I’ve seen a number of concepts for camera lens coffee mugs floating around the internet, but this spring Canon took the idea and made it a reality.

The Canon Limited Edition 70-200mm L-Series Coffee Cup was introduced at the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver this past March. When the mugs were handed out to photographers covering the event they became instant “must-have” items in the photography world. The few retailers offering them have already sold out of pre-orders and the mug’s popularity has spawned its own Facebook fan page. Rumor has it that Nikon isn’t far behind.

Photos via Rob Galbraith

posted by on 06.04.2010, under Design, Misc.

Wilkins Coffee


Mix Jim Henson’s puppet magic, extreme cartoon violence, and a love for coffee and you get a series of entertaining ads for Wilkins Coffee.

From 1957 to 1961, Henson made 179 commercials for Wilkins Coffee and other Wilkins products, including Community Coffee and Wilkins Tea. The ads were so successful and well-liked that they sparked a series of remakes for companies in other local markets throughout the 1960s.

The ads starred the cheerful Wilkins, who liked Wilkins Coffee, and the grumpy Wontkins, who hated it. Wilkins would often do serious harm to Wontkins in the ads — blowing him up, stabbing him with a knife, and smashing him with a club, among other violent acts…

More at Muppet Wiki

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posted by on 06.03.2010, under Misc.