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This reusable tin can coffee cup is inspired by traditional baristas in Singapore

Design studio Forest & Whale created the KopiCup, a reusable coffee container that takes inspiration from the past to offer a sustainable alternative today.

A reusable coffee cup or travel mug is a simple way to bring the virtues of sustainability into your everyday life. Hence, we have seen designs for such items increase in the past few years ranging from tumblers that look like traditional to-go cups to classic thermoses. Here, the KopiCup goes for something even more basic, drawing inspiration from the simple tin can.

More specifically, the KopiCup reinvents a cultural icon in Singapore that harks back to the 1950s when baristas in traditional coffee shops would refashion used milk tin cans into takeaway packaging for drinks.

It’s a practice that slowly faded with the proliferation of foam and paper cup packaging in the latter part of the 20th century, especially given the sharp edge of the can, which didn’t exactly make for comfortable drinking. 

Now, Reuse Lab, the experimental branch of multidisciplinary design studio Forest & Whale, is bringing this practice back to life. Comprising a double-walled stainless steel body, which gives the cup its necessary strength thermal properties, the design team has opted for a silicon seal and a simple screw top lid. It might not make for the easiest access but was chosen to limit spillages as most reusable cups currently on the market are designed for drinking on the go. 

To make up for this, Reuse Lab has designed a raffia string handle attached to the KopiCup lid that makes it easy to carry or be hung even when your hands are full. Highly customisable, the braided cord adds a stylish touch and can be easily changed within seconds for a play of colours. The braided strap, which may be subject to wear and tear, can be purchased separately and easily replaced.

Disposable coffee cups are an environmental challenge, which was accepted by studio Flynn in order to “design the world’s best reusable coffee cup”.

Recyclable up to 300 times

Reuse Lab worked together with international design studio Stanziano to develop the KopiCup, which can be recycled up to 300 times. It forms part of Forest & Whale’s mission to propose circular innovations with potential to transform the products and service industry.

Coffee is a great place to start considering how universal it is as a drinking habit. According to statistics from e-importz, Americans alone drink 400 million cups of coffee a day, many of which are sure to be takeaway coffees. In a bid to lessen the impact of such extreme numbers, the Reuse Lab has designed the KopiCup with a novel design and a nice story about old consumer habits that are relevant to inspire users today.

To make a coffee is to participate in an important ritual, and no one knows that better than Fiorenzato.

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