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Edible coffee cups?!

There’s a new frontier in the battle against single use plastic: coffee cups that you can eat! Sounds good, right? We thought so, so we visited a Bristol coffee shop that’s recently started stocking them to find out more.

Edible coffee cup

First things first, let’s assess the problem edible coffee cups are addressing. While disposable coffee cups appear to be made out of cardboard (making them easy to recycle) a lot of them actually incorporate a thin plastic lining to help ensure they’re waterproof (making them very difficult to recycle). One solution to this is reusable coffee cups. There are loads of models out there which we’re sure you’ve all seen (e.g. check out our review of one of our favourites from Circular&Co here) but on the occasion that you forget yours, it can be easy to fall back into the single use trap. Only around 5% of UK coffee shop sales are poured into reusable cups and recent research suggests we throw away around 2.5 billion disposables every year, so it’s a big problem in the coffee industry that needs addressing.

Bristol coffee shop

Our initial thoughts were that an edible coffee cup sounds like a reasonable idea, particularly when you forget or misplace your reusable, so we visited Bristol coffee shop Zero Green to see if we could validate this assumption. For context, Zero Green is Bristol’s first zero waste shop. They stock all sorts of refillables and other natural, plastic free products and are also home to one of the Bristol Coffee Roasters in our Bristol coffee subscription: Unica. They’re a top bunch and seem to be a great fit for edible coffee cups, so this felt like the perfect place to conduct our research. We “forgot” our reusable and headed into the shop to ask for a flat white in an edible coffee cup. A minute or two later - Bristol coffee beans ground, tamped and espresso pulled - and we were good to go, Cupffee in hand.

Cupffee edible coffee cup

First impressions

The Cupffee felt sturdier than we thought it would. We’re pretty clumsy and often drop, spill and generally make a mess of things (sort of like an adult sized toddler), so this was good news. It was a nice day so we made our way out of the shop and pitched up on one of Zero Green’s tables on North Street. We weren’t especially delicate as we put the cup down and it remained intact. Good start.

Coffee shop Bristol

Cost

The Cupffee added 50p to the price of our coffee, so not prohibitively expensive (especially as you get a little snack when you finish your drink!) We think it’s a price worth paying and assuming edible coffee cups are here to stay and become used more widely, their cost may go down over time anyway.

Cupffee edible coffee cup

Taste


We enjoyed our coffee and there wasn't any aftertaste so we'll give Cupffee a big thumbs up for that! The wafer itself tasted… like a wafer! Cutting edge insight or what. It had the consistency of a thick ice cream cone and while we don’t think it’ll win Zero Green any Michelin Stars, it was perfectly edible.

Cupffee edible coffee cup

Practicality

Cupffee say their cups last for about 40 minutes. We didn’t want our coffee to get cold so we didn’t properly test this out (we definitely didn’t just forget) However, there weren’t any signs of deterioration in the 15 minutes or so we spent drinking from it, so we’re fairly sure it would comfortably hold out for the full duration. Something we did wonder was how practical it would be to move around with a Cupffee. There’s no lid so this could be a challenge, but it’s more than adequate if you’re just walking a short distance. We wouldn’t want to go power walking with it or take it for a ride on the bus (our hands definitely aren’t steady enough), but better balanced people might just about get away with it.

Cupffee edible coffee cup

Other features of Cupffee


  • Made of natural ingredients only and produced in an eco-friendly way

  • 100% GMO free with no colourants, sweeteners or preservatives

  • 100% Vegan with no ingredients of animal origin

  • Low calories (56 kcal for the 110ml version, 105 kcal for the 220ml version we drank from/ate)

  • Able to hold hot drinks up to 85˚C without burning your fingers!

Conclusion

We think the Cupffee edible coffee cup is a cracking development that would make a great addition to any coffee shop. We’re glad Zero Green have adopted it and while there’s a bit of a novelty factor to it at the moment, we think it’s an idea that’s only going to grow in popularity. It’s certainly a far superior, sustainable alternative to the standard, single use coffee cups offered by many cafes so we’re big fans here at The Local Coffee Club. We hope other coffee shops take note!

While we’ve got you here...

Do you have a product or service you’d like us to review? Then let us know! Perhaps you’re a new Bristol coffee roaster and want some publicity? Or a Wales coffee roaster not currently on our Wales coffee subscription? We’re always interested in trying out new things at The Local Coffee Club so get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!

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jimsim1989
Oct 10, 2023

Love it

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