- Voice in the Wind Magazine Inc.
In my lifetime, I found myself working at a coffee shop a few times. One of the rarer customer requests was to refill a tumbler with coffee. At the place that I worked (which I won’t name), it was normal to say no and offer the explanation of health and safety. Specifically, the tumbler could not touch the coffee pot because of cross contamination. One tumbler would contaminate the coffee pot, then the germs would be spread to the next one. Most customers who brought in a tumbler were environmentalists, trying to keep waste down. Ironically, we would offer to fill one of our disposable cups, which could then be used to fill the tumbler. Could we have done anything different?
CONCEPT #1 – COFFEE URN
The first thing that came to my mind was an urn. The key with a coffee urn is to let the steeping process add the flavour. This means using less coffee grounds and letting it stand for a little longer. Notice the spout in the picture above. This would reduce the chances of cross contamination. Just place the tumbler under the spout and pour.
CONCEPT #2 – TEA BAGS
We’ve all seen coffee grounds placed in tea bags. You can buy them at most grocery stores. It’s a simple solution but it’s a little less “green”. Still, it would keep contamination to a minimum. The hot water that’s used for tea bags is poured from a spout, just like the one on the urn (pictured above). In that sense, the two are essentially the same solution.
CONCEPT #3 – VENDING MACHINE
The third solution that includes the spout seen on the urn above. Are you seeing a pattern? Almost any solution for a refillable mug, tumbler or cup is going to need the spout mounted above the tumbler. In this scenario, the customer would place the tumbler on a flat surface, below the spout. Then the customer would put coins, bills or a card into the machine to pay and press a button to fill the tumbler. We have options, but we never embraced the green movement.
I think this was a fairly simple issue to fix, but there was never any motivation to do it. I’ve yet to see tumblers get popularized. Maybe they will never be popular. It’s interesting that coffee shops never put any time into this particular problem, given that so many of them consider themselves to be good corporate citizens. I guess there isn’t any real money in it. Please like, share, subscribe and tell all your friends I’m on twitter. The link is on the homepage.
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