Coffee Cup 2.0

Every year coffee hobbyists are exposed to many new brewing or home roasting gadgets. Not only is innovation occuring at the gadget level, but it is also occurring with the disposable coffee cup. Up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t think there was anyway to improve upon the standard coffee house disposable cup. Let me share with you what I discovered.

Seeing Temperature

The first problem with coffee cup lid is there is no way to tell how hot a drink is without putting it up to your lips and tasting. We’ve all done that quick kiss sip. Pull up just the minimal number of coffee droplets to detect if the drink is safe enough not to burn the mouth. It would be so much easier if we could just read the temperature, but who wants to carry a thermometer with them at cafes?

Smart Lid Systems from Sydney, Australia has come up with a solution. The lids change color based upon the temperature of the beverage. If the coffee is too hot to drink, the lid is a bright red. And if the coffee is a safe temperature, the lid turns brown – the color of coffee.

Smart Lid transformation
Smart Lid transformation

Besides saving you from burning your mouth, the lid has an additional safety feature. If the lid color isn’t solid across the top it indicates that the lid may not be securely fastened. Secure the lid and the color should become uniform.

Ending Spills and Locking in Warmth

The little opening that we sip our coffee from is the coffee escape hatch. Coffee exits that escape hatch either by our direction via lifting the cup and drinking from it or by accident. You may be transporting just one beverage to the drink holder in your car or maybe your bringing back a tray of drinks for the office. A turn or a tap on the breaks and coffee comes flying out.

For a few years cafes tried to solve this problem by taping the opening. This idea lost popularity once people realized that the steam from the coffee would loosen the tape making it functionless. A company called JavaStix has come up with a solution. Using their JavaStix, the coffee opening is closed and secure. And when it comes time to drink the coffee, the stick is removed easily without burning your hand.


A Cup Sleeve With Style

Many years ago fans of quality coffee ditched the styrofoam cups in favor of paper. The problem of burning your hand grabbing a hot paper cup was first solved by using two paper cups. This was clearly wasteful and thus was born the coffee sleeve. Even though this was less paper waste, it was still wasteful. Cardboard cup sleeves are almost always discarded with the empty coffee cup. has a stylish solution. They created a line of designer coffee cup sleeves called Cup Couture. These cup sleeves are reusable, easy to store and easy to clean. Some of the styles they offer are Giraffe, Tigress and Chinchilla.

Imagine strutting out of a coffee house in fur (well faux fur), but the fur is covering your coffee cup not you. It’s sure to be conversation starter. estimates that a coffee drinker can save 6-10 lbs of paper waste a year by substituting the cardboard sleeve with a reusable sleeve. That’s a conversation worth having.

Michael Allen Smith

Michael Allen Smith fell in love with coffee while attending college. Shortly after graduating college, he found himself in the Tampa Bay area far away from the good coffee he had at The Ohio State University. That is when he starting home roasting coffee. Less than a year later in April 1999, he launched the coffee website has been going strong ever since with hundreds of articles and tutorials submitted by over one hundred contributors.

In 2007, Michael moved to America's coffee capitol Seattle, Washington. He has visited close to three hundred different coffee places in Seattle, Portland,Vancouver and San Francisco and met many of the top roasters and baristas in the country. Since 2009, Michael has been the Organizer of the Coffee Club of Seattle, which is a Meetup group of over 800 coffee enthusiasts. Besides the social aspect of the group, the Coffee Club of Seattle partners with local coffee professionals for educational events such as coffee cuppings, brewing demonstrations and roasting tours.

Unrelated to coffee, Michael has a personal blog at which covers several topics including fitness, cooking and economics.