Eater: Glanville & Babinski’s High-Concept Shop

07.09

Kyle Glanville, 2008 US Barista Champion and Charles Babinski, this year’s 2nd place US Barista Championship finalist both recently left their former employer, Intelligentsia Coffee to begin their own endeavor in L.A.

While details are still sparse—I have on good authority that it will to be pretty fantastic—it’s poised to create interesting discussions within the industry as well as among future customers. Beginning with their plan to offer absolutely no disposables.

One of the most salient differences this coffee bar will have from others will be its policy of using no disposables. This means no paper cups, napkins, perhaps even coffee filters. Glanville mentioned the “elephant in the room,” as the coffee industry’s dependance on paper and other disposable products that causes a lot of environmental waste as well as a detrimental effect on the flavor of coffee served to customers. –Eater

I’ve been a vocal advocate against disposables and I’m excited to see a shop put these principles in place. Time will tell if customers will adapt and more cafés will follow suit.

Read the rest of the article on Eater.

posted by on 07.09.2012, under Design

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

Leslie Buck, designer of a NYC coffee icon, RIP.

04.30

If you’ve ever been to New York City, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the Anthora coffee cup. Leslie Buck, who passed away this week, initially designed the cups to target the large population of Greek Diners in NYC and it went on to become a coffee icon throughout the city for decades.

A pop-cultural totem, the Anthora has been enshrined in museums; its likeness has adorned tourist memorabilia like T-shirts and ceramic mugs. Like many once-celebrated artifacts, though, the cup may now be endangered, the victim of urban gentrification.

The Anthora seems to have been here forever, as if bestowed by the gods at the city’s creation. But in fact, it was created by man — one man in particular, a refugee from Nazi Europe named Leslie Buck. -NYTimes

Though their use has declined, the Solo Cup company, who absorbed the original maker of the cup, sold 200 Million of them up in 2005 when they began to only offer the Anthora design by special request. However, a few years ago, Graham Hill (founder of Treehugger) began making ceramic replicas of the cup for all those fans who want to reduce their waste, without giving up their sacred Anthora.

Photo: banjo D

posted by on 04.30.2010, under Design, Misc.

A solo opinion

03.08

While I recently posted about the beauty of a reusable lid for your ceramic mug, I was coincidentally sent this editorial, writen by reknown design writer Steven Heller, regarding his love for the Solo plastic lid.

Like Pavlov’s compliant canine, I salivate whenever I see someone walking down the street holding a paper coffee cup topped with a Solo Traveler lid. The various other varieties of plastic covers, including some that look like the Starship Enterprise, don’t move me at all. And Styrofoam cups are a total turn-off, but paper cups crowned with that raised, pierced rim make me want to bark at the moon — I mean, savor a hot beverage… -Times Magazine

While I admire Heller’s passion—I too prefer the simple Solo lid to the complex mechanisms in the fancier ones, which never seem to work correctly—I believe his article’s focus is naive and irresponsible. To praise the design of something that is meant to have a lifespan of less than an hour—only to sit for billions of years in a pile someplace, or float around aimlessly in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch—is wreckless abuse of his authority as a design critic. While the Mug Hug isn’t the most beautiful solution(though it’s clearly inspired by the Solo lid), functionally it’s far superior. It reduces mass amounts of unnecessary waste, which is a far more pressing problem designers should be focused on solving, not how well a lid, metaphorically, resembles suckling from our mother’s tit.

Thanks to Marc O’Brien for the tip.

posted by on 03.08.2010, under Design, Misc.

Dream come true: Mug Hug

03.04

First the Coffee Party, and now the Mug Hug! I need to start sleeping with foil over my head because my ideas are becoming realities faster than I can make them happen myself.

The Mug Hug is a solution to a problem I’ve discussed on here various times regarding disposable cups. Just stop offering them and make customers bring their own mugs. “But what if I want to take it to go,” the critics cry. This is your answer. The Mug Hug is a silicone lid that fits on most standard size ceramic mugs to keep your coffee from splashing and spilling while you walk back to the office. Now you can stop wasting cups, crying, and use your favorite mug everyday.

Below is a photo from my sketchbook,  which I emailed in early January to my brother. It’s called the Mug Buddy™ and is basically the exact same product. I almost had a heart attack when Mug Hug began following me on Twitter. *Sigh*

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posted by on 03.04.2010, under Design, Products