The Holdster Mason Jar Handler

10.05

Mason jars are beautiful vessels for drinking everything from lemonade to ice tea. While  some people have tried promoting them for hot coffee, it never seemed very practical on account of the heat. But now, thanks to a couple crafty guys in Vermont, the mason jar is not only a viable take-away option, but it just got a bit sexier.

The Holdster is a leather coffee clutch designed by Marsh Gooding that has been made by hand and sold locally in Vermont, until now. The company’s dream of expanding nationally has been realized by Kickstarter backers who easily helped them surpass their goal. The company currently sells 4 models, with and without handles, ranging from $20 – $30 (much less than an early 19th century zarf).

The Holdster offers a unique, reusable solution in a new form that is well designed and beautifully crafted. Now any standard wide-mouth mason jar can become your new favorite coffee mug. Congrats to Marsh and Bobby for successfully funding their goal, and giving us one more way to avoid paper. Damn thy disposable.

Holdster USA

 

posted by on 10.05.2012, under Design, Products

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

Curface: Furniture Made From Coffee

01.05

Curface is a composite material made from spent coffee grounds and recycled plastic. The nonprofit industrial design firm, Re-Worked, have been combining their creation with reclaimed wood to build some truly unique and sustainable furniture. Curface first debuted at the 2010 Ecobuild Conference in London, but have recently replaced their website with a vague message about halting all production.

The firm’s most recent project was the Google Coffee Lab, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. That project included large custom tables made from Curface and exterior panels for a Sanremo espresso machine, designed by Alessandro Milanese.

The material’s finish resembles a matte carbon, is waterproof and needs no sanding or finishing. Hopefully the production was only stopped to figure out how to keep up with demand. It’s an innovative material that would fit nicely in a café setting.

posted by on 01.05.2012, under Design, Products

Starbucks “Sustainable” Container Drive-Thru

12.30

On December 13, just south of Starbuck’s hometown of Seattle, a new drive-thru location opened up in Tukwila, Washington. Unlike the other 17,000 locations though, this one is built from reused shipping containers. Green architecture isn’t new for Starbucks, last year they began opening LEED certified cafés around the world, but this is the first one utilizing cargotecture—the reuse of cargo shipping containers for architecture.

Starbuck’s isn’t the first coffee company to use shipping containers (Illy previously used a transforming shipping container as a café at the Venice Biannale and Ritual Proxy opened this summer in San Francisco) nor is their architect the first to design with them—though they speak as if they were:

We were able to open our minds to the use of very common elements destined for the landfill as structure for a high-quality, drive-thru coffee house design – essentially creating an industrial beacon for sustainable thinking. –Tony Gale III

I’m a big fan of shipping container architecture and applaud reuse in any form—however, I find it ironic that the modest green giant’s “beacon for sustainable thinking” is a drive-thru coffee shop in the suburbs. Maybe the sheer spectacle will introduce a unique perspective to a new audience, but I don’t see how a line of idling cars waiting for their trenta ice coffee is a beacon for anything other than the worst of American consumerism and suburban sprawl.

For being as large as Starbucks is, they aren’t entirely bad. I may not like their coffee, but I also won’t deny the trail they blazed for specialty coffee or the sustainability efforts they do make. Sadly, the reality of being a publicly-traded company too often encourages them to make decisions that counter all of their positive efforts (like joining the K-Cup trend) for the sake of maximizing profits.

In the long run, if this prototype became the new format for all future drive-thru locations, it could reduce the use of virgin material in construction and inspire other large companies to follow suit. But please Starbucks, show a bit of humility—shipping container architecture is not a Starbucks invention, nor is roasting “light.”

More photos and an interview with Starbucks on Inhabitat

posted by on 12.30.2011, under Design

Peace Coffee’s Resourceful New Shop

01.13

This summer I spent two weeks in Minneapolis and fell in love with it. They have the bike culture of Portland, coupled with a Norwegian resistance to cold, wrapped up in the beauty of 10,000 lakes. I never thought I’d want to live in the Midwest (again), but Mpls really made an impression on me. However, the coffee culture left me wanting something more—good news is Peace Coffee, one of the most prominent roasters in town, is working hard to fill this coffee void I experienced on my visit.

After roasting Fair Trade organic beans since 1996, Peace Coffee opened their first coffee shop last November in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The new shop carries all the principles I would expect from a company who delivers their coffee around town with bikes and biodiesel trucks.

Reclaimed wood was used to build benches along the exposed brick walls, while an old fire door hangs transformed above the bar as a unique menu board, and Craigslist finds help furnish the rest of the space. The companies quirky personality is reflected in the brightly colored mosaic (made with recycled glass) and with the support of a local artist, who’s little clay monsters are hidden in crevices throughout the walls.

The shop offers espresso, pour-over (one of only a few I know in the city), as well as pre-brewed for those in a hurry. But if you’re smart, you’ll stick around for the homemade pepparkakor (swedish gingerbread cookie) served with each drink. I was already planning another trip to Mpls but this gives me one more reason to go back.

Peace Coffee Shop & Peace Coffee

posted by on 01.13.2011, under Design, Recommended Roasters

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.