Ruminations over Coffee

Behold the Starbucks Coffee Cup.
Certainly one of the most used and most widely recognized objects in North America.
Certainly you would think if anything about this cup could be optimized and improved upon, it would have already be done. For example, notice the convenient half-height grip which prevents you from burning your hand. It’s not a full-height grip, which may get in the way of your SUV’s cup holder, nor is it a full-on extra cup, which would be expensive for the store. Well done.
However, there is still a great flaw with the Starbucks Coffee Cup. It is NOT designed for walkers.
Perhaps it is assumed that people who drink coffee do not walk.
Or perhaps there is an underlying suggestion that one should drink their coffee AT Starbucks, negating the need to design the cup for non-walkers.
But even that suggestion is faulty.
Take a look at the cup, with lid. The problem for walkers is immediately apparent. If you don’t drink the coffee right away, you will splash it out the gigantic drinking hole as you walk. But of course the beverage is at its hottest at the very beginning, so you’d have to BURN YOUR MOUTH in order to do this. The alternative is to get LESS coffee, thus reducing the chance of splashage. But why on earth would one do that??
I’ve devised a scheme which helps, which is to put a stirring stick into the hole and then cover it with a napkin. This prevents splashage for a time, with the stick reducing splash and the napkin catching splash, but if one’s walk is longer than 100 paces the coffee wicks up the stick and spreads out through the napkin, creating a huge mess.
If one uses just the stick, that reduces splashage somewhat, but one must still be quite careful – which I am not, as evidenced by this cup’s messy lid.
Unfortunately, even if we solve the splashage problem, there is yet another issue with the cup design. See the cup rim? The location where the cardboard joins at the rim is quite problematic. Again, if you drink your coffee quickly you might not notice. But if you walk with the coffee for any distance, the jostling motion will urge coffee THROUGH this tiny little gap and it will drop, boiling hot, onto your hand. NOT recommended.
One should note that in the awkward situation where you are drinking from a Starbucks Coffee Cup and the rim join is accidentally located coincident with the drinking hole, you are really in trouble and best hope that you’re not wearing anything you won’t appreciate turning into a coffee-colored art piece.
So the moral of the story here seems to be, “use a damn travel cup, you idiot”. But when I’m traveling, the last thing I want to do is CARRY A TRAVEL CUP in my luggage.
I think there is a market for some solutions here.
The first thing that comes to mind is a Starbucks Coffee Cup Steadicam. This device takes the lessons learned from steadying film cameras and applies it to steadying coffee. What could be better? Of course, the full-torso harness and lack of compactness may be a hindrance. But you’d be bound to get appreciative looks from envious fellow walkers.
Another possibility could be a Starbucks Coffee Cup Stopper. This simple device, placed in the drinking hole, would put an end to splashage and reduce coffee errors to simple rim join accidents. Starbucks could carry them in-store and give them to anyone who is walking. Fancier models could be available for purchase and include a one-way drinking valve.
I suppose ultimately the right answer would be a lid without drinking holes, which vacuum seals over the rim of the cup. This would remove splashage as well as rim join accidents. But then once again I’d probably have to carry it with me when I travel, which is just NOT going to happen.
Maybe I’ll just switch to espresso.






11 responses to “Ruminations over Coffee”

  1. johnwbyrd Avatar

    Gad, how much cream did you put in there? Take it black, like a manly man!

  2. markdeloura Avatar

    I had a half-and-half accident with the thermos. ah well, still drinkable! 🙂

  3. kpallist Avatar

    Dude, you’ve been to japan, right? Weren’t you paying attention? I generally don’t go to starbucks there, but some of the other places I go when there have small stickers they put over the drinking holes. They also use foam cups that don’t have a seam.
    The sticker idea in particular is so simple, it’s maddening. I can’t beleive no one at starbucks has picked up on it.

  4. CMelissinos Avatar

    Actually, I go into any Starbucks by my house and just ask for a sticker. They useually have a roll of them next to the sleeves 🙂

  5. markdeloura Avatar

    well, that would have made the story a whole lot more boring!

  6. kpallist Avatar

    Well, you had a nice illustration.
    Chris, nice catch. I hadn’t even thought of asking. Japan it’s just ‘standard issue’
    The ‘cup seam’ issue still exists. Seems they could do a little something with a little extra wax/glue along the seam. There’s got to be some margin in that coffee biz to allow for that 🙂

  7. DR's Ideas Avatar
    DR’s Ideas

    There are many ma and pa solutions. I imagine even your early morning dental gum could fix the problem. Good news however! A special new product is being introduced to the “powers that be” at Star… headquarters. This product changes everything! But do they want full cups or fool cups?

  8. Steven P Rojas Avatar

    Hi Everyone…The Starbucks coffee lid sip hole spillage issue is a problem. There is a sip hole plug sold at that works like a charm. So no more coffee lid sip hole spills.

  9. langeloro Avatar

    Here’s another cool solution to the Starbucks…any other coffee cup…sip hole spillage problem: Sip Klip!
    The miss the boat on this consumer answer…nothing smaller than 1000 for an order! Would be great to buy a simple 10 pack!

  10. langeloro Avatar

    Here is another COOL solution to the Starbucks…any other coffee house…coffee lid sip hole spillage problem: The Sip Klip
    They missed the boat on this consumer product…only sell them in 1000 qty. A 10 pack sold direct would be GREAT!!

  11. Terry Weitzman Avatar

    All the Lid problems have been corrected since our Company, Simply Lids has U.S.A. and International Patents on a new Hot Cup Lid. We also have a Patent Pending on a new Closure on the Lid for the Company’s like McDonalds who have a closure on their Lids.

    We are now dealing with a large chain, we’ve signed a Non-Disclosure and can’t mention their name at this time, who will be the first to come out with our Lid.

    We’d love to talk to Satori and discuss the benefits of our Lids.

    Thank you,
    Vice President
    Simply Lids