Everyone in the coffee industry, including us over at Bristol Coffee are quick to tell you all about the benefits of coffee, but the negatives are very rarely discussed. We’re referring to coffee waste, and for this blog, specifically that caused by coffee cups. Although most coffee shops now carry recyclable to-go cups, studies show that only 1 in every 400 cups gets recycled. It’s not all bleak, however. HuskeeCup, a Sydney based company is working to make a positive change and essentially reuse and reduce coffee waste.
HuskeeCup has reinvented the coffee cup. They have created a cup and saucer made from coffee husks (waste product obtained in the process of coffee production) and it will likely soon replace the traditional ceramic variety that the café industry normally uses. They have created 3 cup sizes (4, 6, 12 onz.), all of which fit a universal saucer. It’s a design that has been custom-made for coffee drinking, is milk integration friendly, has grip and thermal dispersion. Did we mention they’re machine washable too?
Photo: HuskeeCup, Huskee Co.
With an eco-friendly mind set, HuskeeCup has created this product with the purpose of using and taking advantage of the waste material that the coffee production generates. This idea came from a team of people in the coffee industry: Joshua Jagelman (coffee grower); Saxon Wright (founder of Pablo and Rusty’s); and Adrian Chen, Michael Chin and Nicole Barnes. They worked with Vert Design’s Andrew Simpson and Edward Ko on the product’s design.
Their first scheduled production phase ended in November, and initial distribution starts this month. Barnes, their company’s operations manager says that zero waste is their ultimate goal.
The husks are generated in the milling phase of coffee processing. After the ripe coffee cherries are harvested and washed, the milling follows, where coffee is hulled, polished, graded and sorted. Roasting and brewing complete the process.
Once the husks are collected, then they are blended with other materials, polymers and dyes that are eco-friendly. The blended material is then pressed by a machine to the design, and that is how the durable, dishwasher-friendly and recyclable cup is born.
How are these cups ecologically better than traditional ceramic cups? Well, the answer lies within materials sourcing and production process. As discussed, HuskeeCup is made from coffee waste which is a renewable resource, and as Barnes explains: “sourcing the raw materials needed for ceramics often involves large scale, ecologically destructive mining operations. “
“Unlike ceramics, HuskeeCup's molding process is a one-off event at less than half the temperature of commercial kiln firing. Additionally, ceramics often require three separate firings including a glaze firing at extreme temperatures for sustained periods, with huge ecological implications and emissions.”
The HuskeeCup team is additionally proud of their sustainable packaging and transportation of their cups. Due to their durability and shape, the team is able to stack and ship them in larger quantities than the ceramics. Meaning that they lower their eco-footprint though the minimal use of cardboard, minimizing CO2 emissions in the transportation process (since less vehicles are needed to transport).
HuskeeCup has approximately a 3-year lifespan. The team says that they are still formulating and testing the final material, and that they are certain that 3 years is a conservative minimum. What really excites them is that HuskeeCups will exceed ceramics in its working lifespan, due to the fact that the ceramics are prone to chip and crack, which is a common occurrence in the café environment, and café owners are forced to replace them sooner than expected.
At Bristol Coffee, all our coffee waste goes back into the ground for our composting worms to provide natural, organic fertilizer for our coffee plants. However, not all coffee farms make use of their waste. HuskeeCup and other companies working with usually discarded coffee waste help draw further attention to the fact that coffee waste isn’t waste at all, but rather another resource that can, and should, be used to ensure that the coffee industry be truly sustainable. Sign us up for that!
If you’d like to know more about Bristol Coffee, coffee news, facts, etc, keep reading our blog. And remember, a great idea usually starts with great coffee. So go buy some Bristol Coffee why don’t you?