Damn thy Disposable

01.12

Coffee is a wonderful thing. But it takes a vast amount of resources to bring us our daily cup(s). The least we can do is try to minimize that impact. In an ideal world, everyone has the time to sit down with a ceramic mug and enjoy their coffee until it’s gone. However, in real life people have things to do and places to go—so they take their coffee with them. All of those cups add up (500 Billion per year) and they do a great job of ruining the drinking experience as well.

For the last year, I’ve been trying to find the best travel cup for my coffee. Ceramic tastes the best, but it’s too heavy, too fragile and those rubbery lids are worse to drink from than plastic ones. Stainless steel would seem to be the most “sustainable” but you still end up drinking through a plastic lid and they’re a costly investment. So after weighing the benefits of several different option, including the overall design, cost, functionality, taste, etc.—the KeepCup is my favorite option available for mobile coffee drinkers.

So I partnered with the Mug Users Guild to bring DCILY fans a reusable cup that works great, looks great and lets the world know how you feel about all those paper cups.

The 8oz (black) is my favorite and holds the perfect amount for an AeroPress on the go. The 12oz (white) will let you carry a bit more but still has markings for both 8oz and 12oz volumes on the inside of the cup. These also fit under the grouphead of most espresso machines, which means the barista won’t need to waste a cup, just to transfer the drink.  The lids are splash proof—not spill proof. So you can walk or drive around without spilling, but don’t take it rock climbing or throw it in a bag with coffee inside. [also great for poolside cocktails when there's no glass allowed]

While a KeepCup isn’t the same as drinking from a ceramic or glass mug, the taste differences are more of a perception than a reality and the rounded design of the lids make drinking from them far more enjoyable than a standard disposable one. KeepCups are BPA free, recyclable at the end of their life and have been tested for up to 1000 uses (more technical details).

The DCILY KeepCups are limited, so get them while you can! Make 2012 the year you stop throwing away coffee cups and damn thy disposable.

Order one from the DCILY merch store.

 

posted by on 01.12.2012, under Design, Misc., Products

Mighty Handsome Coffee Packaging

12.21

When I was last in the US, Handsome Coffee had yet to release their new packaging—so until now, I had only seen it via twitpics and Instagrams posted by all the lucky ones drinking it. But it was immediately obvious they made a fantastic choice working with Sissy Emmons, at PTARMAK in Austin, to capture the Handsome brand.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of browsing the aisles of the SCAA tradeshow with Tyler and we talked a bit about the importance of a brand and how great packaging can make a huge impact on a company. I knew then that Handsome was working with PTARMAK and I’m really pleased to see the the outcome of their relationship so far.

Yesterday, Handsome’s new bags were featured on The Dieline—the internet’s top package design website. The featured photos give a much better look at some details I hadn’t previously seen. The new packaging combines the right amount of handcrafted illustration and wit with enough modern typography to give the handsome ruggedness a refined feeling of quality. Great work to everyone invloved.

We employed color, shape and a little figure ground to differentiate between the lines and categories. The color system was developed loosely around a 1940′s craftsman—workshirt blue, denim, utility orange, metallic copper, crisp white, no-nonsense black and a rich black-brown… in honor of the coffee.

Illustrations line the sides and are what we like to call the manly-man items—objects that share the Handsome dedication to a by-gone era where handmade craft and a dedication to quality were a labor of love as well as a way of life. A dip of copper at the bottom of the bags is a continuation of the copper counters in the Handsome shop and on the Handsome Traveler. It adds just a touch of elegance to the otherwise practical bags. The system is intended to be humble and utilitarian with every detail lovingly applied. -PTARMAK

Read more about the design and see all the images at The Dieline

posted by on 12.21.2011, under Design, Recommended Roasters

Why the Compleat Cup is Incomplete

12.12

There’s been a lot of buzz in both the design and coffee worlds this past week about an innovative take on the disposable cup called, Compleat. The concept was developed by Architect Peter Herman and refined by graphic designer Daren Bascome, both based in Boston. The problem behind it is a persistent one that many people have attempted to solve—reduce the waste from disposable cups.

Last year Starbucks sponsored the BetaCup contest on Jovoto, a forum for product design competitions, to develop a more sustainable to-go cup. The winner wasn’t a cup at all, but a game that served as an incentive to bring your own reusable cup. I found the winning solution quite admirable, but have yet to hear about it implemented in Starbucks stores.

The Compleat Cup is the latest attempt to solve one of the more annoying environmental problems in the coffee industry. While it’s a nice concept, I don’t think its ready for prime time and I wouldn’t expect to see them popping up in coffee shops around the world just yet.

Sustainability
While the main pitch is that you reduce the use of a plastic lid, which is of course a scourge in itself—many lids alone can be recycled. The cups are the problem, because the paper is fused to a thin plastic lining that most US recycling systems can’t handle.

Even if the lining used a bio plastic, those only degrade if they are properly disposed of, i.e. composted. Most places in the US don’t have compost programs in place. So while these cups will reduce part of the problem, it still leaves a pressing one that can really only be solved by bringing your own mug.

Design
The design may be iconic, but what about the people—myself included—who prefer to drink without a lid? If you open the folds, I don’t see any practical way to drink from this like a normal cup.

When the cup is folded up to create a drinking spout, it forms a direct funnel into your mouth. While this may be a great idea for cold drinks on hot days, it makes me pause when considering hot coffee. There’s no longer a barrier to allow for the “is this going to scald my mouth” sip while drinking blindly.


Admittedly these observations have been made without having yet tried a Compleat cup, however, I feel that I’ve drank coffee from enough beverage receptacles to make an educated critique of it. Once I’ve had the opportunity to try one, I’ll be sure to follow up with the results.

The Compleat Cup

posted by on 12.12.2011, under Design, Misc., Products

Star Wars Coffee

12.01

For all those Star Wars fans out there, designer Eric Beatty has designed the ultimate gift—if only it were more than a concept. This was developed for a school project asking students to design a new product for Urban Outfitters. While I hope the clothing boutique refrains from selling coffee, I’m sure there’s a very big market for something like this. Intelligentsia x George Lucas Collab anyone? The set includes Darth Coffee blend, Storm Trooper filters, and Chewbacca brown sugar. Truly wonderful…

May the force brew with you…
No, I am your barista…
He’s holding a thermal carafe!

Ok, I’m done.

[via TheDieline]

posted by on 12.01.2011, under Design, Misc., Products

Hario Canister Mill

09.22

I’m not sure how I’ve never come across this hand grinder from Hario until now, but I love the way it looks. It’s a nice hybrid of the traditional Zassenhaus grinder and the more modern Hario Skerton. With its steampunk aesthetic and a price range that falls in between the other mills, it’s very enticing.

However, I could only find two reviews on it, so I’m not sure how well it actually works compared to the other hand grinders out there. Does anyone have any experience with it? Would love to know what you think.

Hario Canister Mill

posted by on 09.22.2011, under Design, Products

Revolver Coffee

09.21

A few weeks ago a new coffee shop opened in downtown Vancouver that’s moved the Canadian west coast even higher on my list of “places to visit soon.” Revolver is run by the Giannakos brothers, whose family also owns Café Crema, in west Vancouver. The new venture takes a refined approach to offering great coffee with little excess.

Aside from wanting to see the space itself, designed by Craig Stanghetta, the coffee line-up at Revolver is pretty stellar too. They’re serving coffee from Ritual, Coava and Phil & Sebastian on a brew bar lined with Chemex Kones, as well as offering tasting flights. One option includes three different coffees brewed the same way, or you can try the same coffee brewed with three different methods. The tasting flights seem like a great way to allow curious customers to explore and coffee lovers to indulge.

It’s exciting to see more coffee bars taking such a comprehensive approach to quality coffee. If you’re in Vancouver and haven’t been yet, you probably should.

Revolver Coffee

Photos by Kam Lau

 

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Also, some amazing detail photos by George Giannakos himself on CleanHotDry.

posted by on 09.21.2011, under Design

Wilfa Svart Is The New Coffee

09.05

When Tim Wendelboe announced the launch of the Nordic Coffee Culture blog, he also hinted at the unveiling of a new brewer that he had been working on with Norwegian housewares company Wilfa (and Europe’s largest design consultancy, Designit). When the top baristas from around Scandinavia gathered last week for the Nordic Barista Cup in Copenhagen, they had the chance to test out the new product.

The new brewer, called the Wilfa Svart (Black) Manuell, consists of a matching electric kettle and carafe with a funnel hanging above it. The funnel has a flow control valve which allows the user to pre-infuse the grounds and better control the extraction time. The kettle can also be pre-set to heat water in 10 degree increments—from 60° to 100°C. Making the kettle useful for more delicate teas as well various brewing preferences.

The Svart isn’t available  yet on the Wilfa site, but I hope to demo one soon.

[UPDATE] This is still in prototype stage. Tim says they’re working on implementing a scale and timer + (addressing) some design issues.

[photo via @timwendelboe]

 

posted by on 09.05.2011, under Design, Products

30 Cups, 30 Days, 3D Printed

08.16

Barcelona based design firm cunicode, tasked themselves with designing and creating a new espresso cup every day for 30 days. The results are pretty incredible. From the clever, to the impossible, there’s a great range of  creativity. The cups are made with white glazed ceramic and each demitasse can be purchased and manufactured to order—one of the benefits of 3D printing.

Last week I wrote about an artist who draws a daily cup of coffee on post-it notes—and now this. Drinking coffee every day just isn’t enough for some. These were posted on ShotZombiesSprudge a few weeks ago, but they’re worth giving another bump.

See all of them here

posted by on 08.16.2011, under Design, Products

Six Months of Coffee

08.08

I planned on saving up a years worth of coffee bags, but when I recently packed up to move abroad, I choose not to save them any longer. So here is roughly six months of coffee consumed at the DCILY headquarters—minus a few bags I gave to friends.

View the high-res on Flickr

posted by on 08.08.2011, under Recommended Roasters

Coava Grows Up & Able Rolls Out

07.08

Today is the one year anniversary of Coava’s coffee bar and roastery in Portland and they’ve released photos of the new Able Disk (AeroPress filter) packaging just in time for the celebration. As I’ve mentioned before, I totally love Coava. Their continued innovation, attention to design, stellar baristas—not to mention great coffee—make them a truly inspiring company in the world of coffee.

Since opening the doors of their shop a year ago, they swept the Northwest Regional Barista and Brewers Cup competitions, released a new and improved version of their popular Kone filter and spawned a second company, Able, which will focus solely on creating quality, sustainable coffee brewing equipment that’s made in the USA.

The packaging itself mirrors the thoughtfulness that exists throughout both companies. The package doubles as an envelope for easy shipping and the custom designed postage stamp nicely illustrates an adept attention to detail. The generous use of white space, simple color palette and solid typography make it lovely all around. Who wouldn’t want to pull this from their mailbox?

The “Year of the Coava” isn’t over yet and I look forward to all there is to come.

Design by Jolby

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posted by on 07.08.2011, under Design, Products, Recommended Roasters