Featured image for Get Ready For Lidless Coffee

Get Ready For Lidless Coffee

by Rudy Sanchez on 11/25/2019 | 2 Minute Read

For all the progress made by coffee slingers like Starbucks, McDonald's, and Dunkin’ to produce a more sustainable single-serve cup, the plastic lid remains a pernicious piece of junk that feels unavoidable.

Editorial photograph

Removable lids do hold some advantages; a single-size lid can get used on multiple-sized cups, and empty vessels can be stacked vertically to save space in tight coffeehouses. Plus, they're easy to pop on, and when an espresso bar is pumping out hundreds of cups of coffee every morning, even a little complication can put a barista in the weeds, and a place full of caffeine-deprived Karens waiting a few extra seconds is an undocumented ring of hell Dante missed.

The enormous amount of plastic trash that single-serve toppers generate prompted Tom Chan, co-founder of Unocup, to design a coffee cup with an integrated lid that folds together. After some buzz, including being put on display in a Taiwanese national museum, Chan and longtime friend Kaanur Papo decided to make the Unocup concept a reality this year. 

Editorial photograph

Unocup is also more ergonomic than a paper coffee cup. When the lid gets folded together, the spout has a slight curve, forming a more natural, comfortable sipping experience. The top folds and unfolds just as easily as a plastic lid, with less risk of spillage. The innovative cup can also be used lidless by folding back the top flaps. Beverages can be handed off to customers open-topped as well, allowing guests to add their cream or sugar to their drink while baristas can still showcase their latte art before closing.

Editorial photograph

While the current iteration of the cup is not plastic-free (like pretty much every disposable coffee cup on the market), they do plan to introduce a compostable or recyclable version in the future.

Unocup is currently running a Kickstarter campaign and has nearly reached its goal as of this writing, though they have until December 3rd to raise the $14,000 they need to bring the cup to market.