For modern coffee lovers, it’s not just about that early morning kick of caffeine. Issues such as fair trade, environmental responsibility and sustainability are just as important to the coffee connoisseur as the taste itself. And this is no less the case when it comes to coffee-to-go. Cups and mugs for everyday use are the perfect answer. We discovered at Ambiente a diverse array of products for every requirement, taste and look.
With cream, style and method
With the incredible success of coffee-to-go chains, coffee has experienced an impressive revival over the past twenty years. Customers are now well versed in the relative merits of Arabica and Robusta. They have their favourite beans and mixes and display strong preferences for or against fully automatic machines and sieves. Even filter coffee, which up until recently was seen as a relic of a bygone age, is enjoying increasing popularity. But is it possible to enjoy a cultured cup of coffee when standing, walking or driving? We certainly think so! Even if in this digital age of uncompromising flexibility and 24/7 availability it’s not always possible to find time to sit down in a café, people still want to have their foaming latte macchiato, fiery espresso or creamy cappuccino while on the move. The coffee-to-go cup has now become as essential an accessory as the notebook, tablet or smartphone for today’s city dwellers – from Amsterdam to New York.
A sustainable accessory
The new coffee culture essentially represents a return to the virtues of a natural product and to social traditions. It was therefore only a question of time before the coffee-to-go trend addressed the issue of sustainability. There is now a move away from throw-away paper cups to high-quality containers that preserve the wonderful aroma of this valuable ‘black gold’ over several hours – and in an environmentally sustainable way. They can be filled at your favourite café or at home with any sort of coffee, whether small, strong, black, milky, decaf, lactose-free, with soya milk or aromatised. As we found out at Ambiente, the coffee-to-go mug made from high-quality materials – e.g. glass, porcelain or plastic – that keep the freshly brewed pick-me-up hot or cold is more than just a practical companion. It has now become a lifestyle accessory like the personalised timer or ballpoint. There are almost no limits to personal preferences. These stylish mugs can be plain, decorated with your favourite colours or motifs, or personalised. As with the coffee itself, it’s all a matter of taste!
In ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Anne Hathaway spends much of the film fetching coffee-to-go for boss Meryl Streep. These days, coffee-to-go cups and mugs feature in almost every production to come out of Hollywood. But film mirrors reality – and even on celluloid there is now a move towards sustainable solutions. In TV series, sitcoms and cinema blockbusters the hero is often seen leaving the house with a portable beverage container, getting into the car, placing the mug in the specially provided holder and starting the day with a reviving shot of caffeine. It seems that no production is complete without a scene showing the morning coffee-to-go being poured. And, as with every trend, there are personal preferences when it comes to these beverage containers. Whatever your inclination – with straw or drinking slit / made from earthenware, porcelain, plastic or aluminium – there is a perfect companion for every requirement and taste. In addition to the flavour of coffee, there are of course preferences in terms of the look of coffee-to-go containers. There’s something for everyone – from light, sporty mugs made from modern recycled plastic to high-quality glass products. Coffee-to-go solutions were presented at Ambiente for every lifestyle – and are equally at home in the casual, laid-back rucksack or the designer handbag.
Cult meets culture
Ulrike Neiss, Head of the Lavazza Germany Training Centre in Frankfurt, also confirms that the coffee-to-go trend combines style and awareness of sustainability issues. In addition to professional barista training sessions, the Centre offers courses for ordinary coffee lovers in which they receive a comprehensive introduction to the cultivation, production and processing of coffee as well as learning various tips and tricks around the preparation, brewing and presentation of the finished product. “Coffee is more than just a pick-me-up beverage”, states the experienced barista. “It’s also a drink that can bring a sense of calm – before the working day begins, during the mid-morning break or for a moment of reflection. And, of course, it’s a natural product. I therefore like to compare coffee with wine. With both of them people’s preferences are very different, but for the connoisseur the key focus is on the quality.” As a genuine coffee professional, Ulrike Neiss is pleased to see a trend towards refillable mugs made from materials that are able to retain the temperature and aroma for a long time. She is particularly enthusiastic about porcelain: “Ultimately, even espresso tastes best out of a good porcelain cup.”
Focus on added value
Expert barista Ulrike Neiss would have had a real treat at Ambiente. Here cups and mugs for coffee, tea and other hot and cold beverages were presented that precisely meet the demands for temperature and aroma retention that real coffee lovers value so much. “However I think it’s also important that resource conservation and environmental awareness play a role in this trend”, she says. “Ultimately this is the message that we and other quality coffee manufacturers are trying to put out. Respect for the product and for its traditional harvesting and processing is reflected in how it is consumed.” Here, too, she returns to the comparison with wine: “For a fine harvest and a good vintage, you need to choose an appropriate glass.” It’s no wonder that as a Lavazza barista, Ulrike Neiss represents the coffee tradition of the next Ambiente partner country: Italy. “Even though Italian ‘caffè’ may be consumed quickly while standing up, it is part of the country’s cultural heritage in the same way as wine, pasta and olive oil. The trend towards respectful and sustainable consumption is therefore all the more welcome
To go or not to go
Of course, we also wanted to find out from coffee expert Ulrike Neiss what is currently on trend when it comes to coffee. She first of all mentioned the classic filter method. But she also said that there is a trend towards teas, which also work well in heat-retaining mugs. There are in fact mugs that contain an extra tea filter. “A further trend is towards the ‘cold brewing’ process”, she reveals. For cold filtered coffee you need a litre of water and 200 g of coarse ground coffee. You should leave this mixture overnight covered with cling film and then pass it through a sieve/filter the next day. You now have a coffee concentrate that can be infused with about 140 ml of hot water. “The result is a beverage that concentrates solely on the coffee. With no bitter substances.”