Design

Finally, a Coffee Cup Lid to Befit a $4 Latté


It’s a bind every on-the-go coffee drinker faces: You spend upward of $4 on a small cup of shade-grown, single-origin brew, only to suck it through a hole cut into a plastic cover. A new lid percolating across the Internet could be the barrista-approved antidote: It’s designed not only to reduce the likelihood of spillage (another shortcoming of disposable cups) but also to offer a taste and experience more akin to sipping from a ceramic mug.

Courtesy Viora

The Viora lid, from Vaporpath (based in Seattle, of course), grew out of a desire to unleash the aroma of coffee in takeaway cups. To do that, the lid’s inventor, Doug Fleming, enlarged the mouth hole and placed it farther back from the cup’s rim, so that when tipped, a pool of coffee collects in a well underneath the drinker’s nose. More exposure to wafting java, the thinking goes, the better the taste. The bigger hole established the added benefit of creating a smooth pour like that from an ordinary cup.

Fleming also replaced the round recessed portion of an ordinary sippy lid with an angled canyon that’s better at catching splashed coffee and redirecting it back into the cup. (Watch the video below for proof.)

Vaporpath President Barry Goffe told CNBC that the company is first targeting specialty cafés that might pay a premium to enhance the flavor of their carefully brewed beverages. (The Viora is odorless and recyclable.) “There’s so many of these ‘Third Wave’ shops that put all this time and effort [into] brewing this cup of coffee, and then they put this 30-year-old product on top of it and push the customer out the door and hope for the best.”

Let’s just hope that those early adopters don’t pass along the expense to their customers. Another price hike at the local coffeehouse may prove hard to swallow.

Lanks is the design editor of Businessweek.com.

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