Nespresso coffee clock

11.08

While cool in theory, it’s fitting that Nespresso is reusing its aluminum capsules and coffee grounds to power a clock. This way we can accurately count down how much time we have left before we completely destroy our planet for stupid conveniences like Nespresso capsules and their unsexy cousin, the K-Cup.

Designed by Mischer’Traxler for Vienna Design Week, the installation—in Nespresso Austria’s storefront—shows how the contents of six used capsules can be wired together to power a small clock. The whole exhibit (96 capsules) could power a small radio. How neat! But, I can’t help but wonder how many clocks could be powered by the energy used to manufacture, ship, and dispose of the Nespresso capsules in the first place. I doubt Nespresso user’s will be turning all their old capsules into batteries anytime soon.

While I usually herald such clever reuse in design, the fact that this was funded by a company whose entire business model revolves around disposability, it makes this nothing more than an creative green washing of their image. There’s nothing sustainable about a product that has a 30 second life span before it’s thrown away. Yet, it was still named one of three winners in a competition titled, “Sustain.Ability.Design.”

Photos via Dezeen

posted by on 11.08.2010, under Design, Misc.

Tiny Footprint Coffee

10.18

I’ve recently been having conversations with friends about the ecological impact of drinking coffee. No matter how you brew your fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee—unless you live at origin—your coffee is still being shipped halfway across the globe. The environmental impact of that journey can’t be offset by simply using a filterless, non-electric brewer (eg. French press or Presso). While they are responsible options to minimizing our impact, it’s still a losing battle.

For those who love the Earth as much as their coffee—meet Tiny Footprint Coffee, the world’s first carbon-negative coffee roaster. In business for less than a year, this Minneapolis based roaster offers light, medium, and dark roast blends, as well as decaf and espresso. They also offer a selection of single origin beans for purists like myself. TFC sources organic, shade grown beans from a variety of countries around the world and roasts them in small batches on a vintage Probat.

What makes TFC so unique is their efforts to offset the carbon impact of their coffee. They’ve done the math and figured out that 4lbs of CO2 are emitted during the harvest, shipping, roasting and delivering of a single pound of coffee. So for every pound sold, TFC plants enough trees in the Mindo Cloudforest of Ecuador to suck up 54lb of CO2. This endeavor makes each pound of coffee’s footprint, net negative 50lbs. Aside from absorbing CO2, TFC’s reforestation efforts also provide jobs to local farmers, improves local infrastructure, rebuilds water tables, reinforces soil conservation techniques, and provides habitat for rare and endangered bird species in the cloudforest. So not only is this a great solution to the eco impact of coffee, it also tastes pretty damn good.


Tiny Footprint Coffee: Organic Light Roast
Whole Bean
Minneapolis, MN
www.tinyfootprintcoffee.com

Aroma: While the beans were darker than what I normally consider a light roast, I wasn’t disappointed. The scent of the grind was pleasant with a sweet earthy smell. Once brewed the aroma transformed into a rich cocoa with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Taste: The first sip was very smooth with enough brightness to part the lips for more. After passing the initial spark of that first sip, the doors opened wide to a very unique mix of citrus, oak and pine, with a touch of clove. If there ever were a coffee that captured an early morning in the Minnesota (or Maine) woods, this would be the closest I’ve ever tried. The medium body brew brightened as it cooled and finished with a mellow taste of almonds.

posted by on 10.18.2010, under Coffee Reviews, Misc., Recommended Roasters

Recycled Ceramic Mugs

06.25

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

Starbucks, more than just a green logo

05.05

Last week a Starbucks in SoHo was reopened to the community, but now with more from the local ecosystem integrated into the store. After 15 years of service, the newly renovated location became one of a dozen pilot stores around the world to implement more sustainable practices into the construction of new locations.

The Spring and Crosby location is part of an experimental batch of 12 stores around the world, testing the feasibility of Starbucks’ recent initiative to have all new global locations LEED-certified by the end of the year. Each store is located in a different “bio-region” of the world–Kyoto, Japan; Lisbon, Portugal; Toronto, Canada; and Seattle among them–to test the varying shifts in energy use and locally sourced materials -PSFK

The store’s use of reclaimed wood, locally manufactured furniture, and recycled glass tiles are quite beautiful. The place feels more authentic than the cheap strip mall quality most locations posses. They also offer “for-here” mugs, an option they never should have removed from stores in the first place. Although, I was the only person I saw during my hour long visit who used one.

The new location is the first in NYC to boast a Clover machine for single cup coffee brewing. The quality is great (best cup I’ve ever had at a Starbucks), but there is a bit of a knowledge gap among the employees. I had to repeat my order 6 times between the two people I encountered, and it was still made iced before I could notice and correct them. It’s not like I was ordering off a secret menu either, it was a featured item on the menu board.

However, if Starbucks is to continue growing at the rate they have, it’s an extremely admirable goal to have all their future locations LEED certified. The quality of the materials truely add a rich new layer to the experience and the responsibility behind the decision illustrates why they continue to be an inspirational business leader, even if you don’t like their coffee.

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posted by on 05.05.2010, under Design, Misc.