In 2015, coffee sales in the UK were around £8 billion. By any measure, this is a huge number, and it cements coffee culture’s status as an economic big hitter. Every year, faceless analysts tell us that the market is near its saturation point, and every year the official figures tell us something very different. But there will come a point when the market levels off, which is why coffee companies are always looking for the next big thing.
Green policies and sustainable products are a huge part of the industry today. Not only do they help the planet, they make money. These policies are now currency; increasingly, they persuade consumers to choose one coffee retailer over another. The companies that can set the green standard over the coming years are destined to be the most successful in the West.
One hot topic that has been the source of huge controversy in the coffee industry is coffee cup waste. Billions of paper cups are discarded around the World every year, adding to landfill issues and plastic waste. In the UK, only one in four hundred coffee cups is recycled, which is why the invention of cups made from real coffee is so exciting.
A Sydney-based company has developed a process that turns discarded coffee into very distinctive cups and saucers.
Rather than using discarded coffee grounds, HuskeeCup uses the husk from coffee beans to create something similar to a ceramic mug. The same colour as a dark roasted bean, HuskeeCup features a grooved design — something its inventors claim keeps coffee hotter for longer.
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Not only does this innovative product utilise waste, it is said to be resistant to chips and cracks. Reasonably priced, robust and strangely elegant, the HuskeeCup could prove very popular with independent coffee shops.
Initially, the cup will be available in 6oz, 8oz and 12oz sizes, but there are plans for larger versions, as well as a selection of additional items. Crucially, HuskeeCup can be washed in commercial dishwashers, which means it has the potential to cut the costs of small, independent coffee shops.
The initial range of HuskeeCups comes with a universal saucer, and there’s an optional lid — which turns the cup into an insulated travel mug. And although the price for a pack of four 12oz cups is around £40, there is still real value in this product. HuskeeCups deliver all of the aesthetic charm you’d expect from a ceramic mug, but they won’t smash when you drop them. They are also resistant to dishwashers, so they won’t become increasingly brittle as they age. For the princely sum of £155, you’ll get four cups of each size, along with four saucers and four lids.
Set aside the environmental benefits of the HuskeeCup, and there is still plenty to get excited about. Put simply, it looks beautiful. There is a touch of the Roman Empire about this handleless chalice, yet it is also practical and easy to stack. The cup’s colour and design combine to create the impression that it was hand carved out of a single giant coffee bean.
There is something almost poetic about drinking coffee from a HuskeeCup. All you have in your hands is coffee — and that is any coffee addict’s dream.