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Crowdfunding a 10-year-old's cup design for her grandad, who's got Parkinson's; and her dad, who is a klutz

Lily is a ten year old girl who's into pottery. Her grandpa has Parkinson's disease and is prone to spilling his coffee due to his tremors, and so she invented the "Kangaroo Cup," a stackable, reusable cup that is hard to knock over or spill from (she modified it for her dad's use, so that he wouldn't spill coffee in his keyboard anymore, too). It's got a inward-curving lip to make it less spill-prone when you carry it, and its legs make it super-stable (you also don't need a coaster for it).

Lily's dad is a product designer who's brought other products to market successfully, so he and his daughter are raising funds on IndieGoGo for bulk manufacture (in JingDeZhen, China) and sale.

We are launching this project to fund our first production run of 1000 pieces. The samples pictured here and in the video are 1st production samples made at the same facility that will do the production run. The facility we've selected for this first run is not a mass production, low cost factory, but a high quality porcelain producer that generally makes decorative vases and tea pots and such. They make the kind of ceramics that JingDeZhen is famous for: "white as jade, bright as a mirror, and harmonic as a bell." In addition, because they are high temperature fired, they are stronger and less porous that standard ceramics. This makes them more hygienic, easier to clean and harder to stain.

We chose JingDeZhen for our source because of the high quality and the ability of the artisans there to help us work through our initial production issues. If the project is successful, we will likely need to move to more conventional manufacturing sources to reduce cost, but today, JingDeZhen China provides a nice reward for our early supporters.

No Spill Kangaroo Cup (Thanks, Alex!)

PSY foam-art


Redditor DivineBaboon posted an unattributed photo of an espresso drink with a beautiful PSY (of Gangnam Style fame) portrait in the foam.

My friend ordered a cappuccino and this is what he got.. (i.imgur.com)

Mug appears to be stuck in table

Treasuremmm The Treasure Mug is a delightful illusion cup available directly from Japan via Plywood or Amazon JP. (via Spoon & Tamago)

English seaside town with no chain coffee shops fights off Costa Coffee incursion

The Guardian's John Harris looks at the battle taking place in the Devon town of Totnes, a kind of counterculture/hippie haven on the "English Riviera," where residents are furious at the plan to open an outlet of the Costa Coffee chain. Harris paints a picture of Totnes as the kind of place that would be pretty nice to live in: they issue their own currency that only works with local businesses, have a record store that puts the best music shops in Manhattan to shame, and have dozens of nice coffee shops where skilled baristas ply their trade -- like Portland, OR crossed with an English seaside village.

For Harris (and the Totnes residents with whom he speaks), the fight to keep Costa out of town is a microcosm for the fight against global capitalism, and the triumph of profits and shareholder value over local community and mutual aid.

Totnes's local economy looks to be in reasonable health, which is surely down to the fact that it is about as far from being what we now call a "clone town" as could be imagined. The local record shop, Drift, is mind-bogglingly great: the kind of place that you'd think was amazing if you found it in New York. The quality and diversity of restaurants is amazing. Most pertinently, the town has 42 independently run outlets that serve coffee, and – so far – not a single branch of any of the big caffeine-selling multiples.

Now, though, Costa – whose most visible slogan remains "Saving the world from mediocre coffee" – is on its way, as part of programme of expansion that will look either worryingly aggressive or admirably ambitious, depending on your point of view. Certainly, it seems to be bucking the prevailing trend of our flatlining economy, opening scores of new outlets while independent coffee shops are truly feeling the pinch.

A fully owned subsidiary of the food and hospitality conglomerate Whitbread, it currently operates 1,400 British outlets, and recently announced plans for 350 more. Thanks also to a snowballing presence in petrol stations, pubs and motorway services, its logo is becoming inescapable, which is exactly the point: the chief executive, Andy Harrison, has talked about increasing the number of branches to 2,000, and thus making them ubiquitous. "People really don't want to walk very far for a coffee," he has said. "We can have them a couple of hundred yards apart on a really busy high street, then another at a retail park and another at the station."

Totnes: the town that declared war on global capitalism

Coffee ad from the 1650s


This handbill -- which can be seen in the British Museum -- dates back to the 1650s, and was produced by the first coffee shop in London, in St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill.

It is a simple innocent thing, composed into a drink, by being dryed in an Oven, and ground to Powder, and boiled up with Spring water, and about half a pint of it to be drunk, fasting an hour before and not Eating an hour after, and to be taken as hot as possibly can be endured; the which will never fetch the skin off the mouth, or raise any Blisters, by reason of that Heat.

The Turks drink at meals and other times, is usually Water, and their Dyet consists much of Fruit, the Crudities whereof are very much corrected by this Drink.

The quality of this Drink is cold and Dry; and though it be a Dryer, yet it neither heats, nor inflames more than hot Posset.

It forcloseth the Orifice of the Stomack, and fortifies the heat with- [missing text] its very good to help digestion, and therefore of great use to be [missing text] bout 3 or 4 a Clock afternoon, as well as in the morning.

The Vertue of the COFFEE Drink.

3D printed rocket-ship espresso cup


Shapeways contributor Isohedral came up with this awesome design for a two ounce stubby rocketship/espresso cup, which is available as a 3D print in ceramic:

Rocket Espresso Cup 3D Printed in Ceramics All Systems Are Go!!!!

How to make Vietnamese coffee (video)


[Video Link] My friend Andrea James sent me this video. She said, " I thought it was nicely shot, and I like the music!" I agree. The song is called "Ding Ding Dong," and it is by Waipod Phetsuphan (Thailad). It's on a compilation album called "The Sound of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam from Thailand 1964 -1975."

Coffee associated with the opposite of death, according to new scientific study

"Sexy girl in coffee beans," by Marcel Jancovic, via Shutterstock.


A large prospective study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that "coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality."

In other words, data showed that there is a connection between drinking coffee and not necessarily dying. Sort of.

"Whether this was a causal or associational finding cannot be determined from our data," the summary concludes.

Boing Boing science editor Maggie Koerth-Baker is on the road today, so I can't enlist her science-fu in interpreting the details of this study. But I think what they're trying to tell us is that while drinking coffee does not necessarily cause you to live longer, it is associated with the opposite of dying sooner. I'm going to have a cup while you all argue it out in the comments.

Thermos-Nissan 61-oz Insulated Bottle

Three times a week I get up early to go lift weights with a colleague. One of the main motivations for getting out of bed is the knowledge that I'll have ample coffee throughout the day to keep me going post-workout. In the past I've carried the previously reviewed Contigo (which is still the best travel cup around) but found it held too little, especially if I share coffee with my work out partner. I've also used my fiancee's grandfather's old Thermos built around an insulated glass bottle which, while larger, is too fragile for daily use that involves rolling around in the trunk of my car. I realized I needed a replacement.

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Barista plunges three Aeropresses at once

Johanna writes, "Carlos Aguirre, a trainer at Academia Barista Pro, stunned audiences worldwide when he pushed not 1, not 2 but 3 aeropresses at the same time for his signature drink during National Salvadoran Barista Competition."

That's a lot of aeropressin'. The key scene starts at 20:41.

SUBCAMPEON de Baristas en El Salvador GANA Mejor Espresso del País - Entrenador Carlos Aguirre (Thanks, Johanna!) h

Ambiguously ironic superfluous grocer's apo'strophe


Alice spotted this coffee cart from the (above average) London coffee chain Apostrophe, which includes a superfluous apostrophe. It's either ironic or too clever by far.

Oh the irony.

Japan's high-detail coffee, booze, food, and fashion simulacra

Writing in the WSJ, Tom Downey describes what he perceives as a new shift in the way that Japanese food, coffee, cocktails and fashion relates to the outside world; according to Downey, the ideal now combines the much-vaunted Japanese attention to detail and precise copying with a kind of remaking that produces a "replica" Brooklyn coffee that's better than the best coffee in Brooklyn, a "replica" vintage pair of jeans that look more vintage than the actual item, and so on. It's Baudrilliard's simulacra, with more denim and espresso.

"It's not so difficult to make something that's 100 percent the same as the original," he says. He holds up a heavy, metal zipper, American-made new old stock. "I've got 500,000 of these. Enough for the next 40 years.

"But the key isn't just getting the details right—it's knowing when to change things," Tsujimoto continues. "My style has to be an improvement: With 1 percent more here, 2 percent less there, we create something that looks better. You have to change the fit because all these classic garments were designed with extra room to carry tools or weapons."

He takes a deerskin-lined flight jacket off the rack and points out the colorful American military design stitched onto the back. He passes me what appears to be a standard-issue '50s-style gray cotton sweatshirt until I actually touch the thing. The heft of the loop-wheeled cotton makes it the thickest, heaviest sweatshirt I've ever felt.

Made Better in Japan (via Kottke)

(Image: downsized crop from a photograph by Tung Walsh)

Cat-butt coffee: A critical review


Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world. At my local specialty coffee bean store, it sells for $420 per pound—or $10 for a 10 oz.

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HOWTO make a home-made pocket-sized espresso machine with tiny alcohol stove


Instructables user Urant decided to create a pocket-sized espresso machine that could be built using simple tools and parts from a local home-improvement store. He came up with a tiny, soldered contraption with its own tinsy winsy alcohol stove that uses a filed-down syringe to deliver a very slow drip of fuel for a boil that goes long enough to extract a single shot. It's a great design.

Design constraints are some of the most important points of any product design; they tell us what the limits are. The tighter the constraints, the more limited the design, and we have to be more creative to be able to meet them.

On this project, I set the following ones.
1- The product had to fit in the pocket of my jeans.
2- The product had to be made out with common, cheap and easily obtainable materials from any home improvement store or corner hardware store.
3- The product had to be made using simple tools that most makers would probably already have, or could easily borrow or buy cheaply.
4- The product had to be self-contained.
5- The budget was maximum 30 dollars.

Pocket size Espresso Machine with integrated alcohol stove. (via Make)

HOWTO attain radical hotel-room coffee independence

I travel a lot — book tours, sf conventions, paid lectures, activist visits — and I am no stranger to jet-lag (I even wrote a novel about it).

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