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Starbucks Unveils a New Symbolic Cup Design for the Holidays

Starbucks
Starbucks

November has barely begun, but some companies are already using the month's arrival as an excuse to ring in the unofficial start of the holiday season. That includes Starbucks, the national drink chain that’s turned their seasonal drink offerings into an impressive customer draw. For the 2016 holidays, Starbucks is ditching their traditional red cup for a green one symbolizing unity, TIME reports.

The cups, which began appearing in stores on Tuesday, November 1, feature a “mosaic of more than a hundred people drawn in one continuous stroke,” according to a press release. It was designed by artist Shogo Ota, a Japan native who moved to the U.S. 14 years ago. The cup is meant to evoke feelings of community and togetherness, something Starbucks says our country needs to be reminded of now more than ever.

“During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said in the statement.

Conflict around the holidays is something Starbucks is familiar with: Last holiday season the brand came under fire for their stripped-down red cups, an aesthetic choice some consumers characterized as an attack on Christmas. This year, the company is prepping for a different reaction, championing the new design as "a symbol for stitching people together as a united community."

[h/t TIME]

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m01229, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Dunkin' Donuts is Ditchin' Their Foam Cups
m01229, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
m01229, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

There are certain tactile sensations that consumers associate with fast-service franchises. Go into a McDonald’s and you’re likely to walk out with a French fry container soaked in grease. Head to Taco Bell and your takeout bag will be heavy with hot sauce packets. At Dunkin’ Donuts, a thick-walled foam cup keeps your hand cool while your coffee stays hot.

Not for much longer. This week, Dunkin’ announced plans to insulate their beverages in a more environmentally friendly way. Beginning this spring, the company will eliminate the polystyrene foam containers they currently use in favor of a new, double-walled paper cup, a move that's expected to remove 1 billion foam cups from waste streams annually.

The paperboard used in the cups—which will come in the chain’s standard four sizes, from small to extra large—is certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard and is said to have heat retention properties equivalent to the current foam cup. Dunkin’ is promising that consumers won’t need a cardboard sleeve to insulate themselves against the heat.

“With more than 9000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry," Karen Raskopf, Dunkin’ Donuts's chief communications and sustainability officer, said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests. Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S., and with the double-walled cup, we will be able to offer a replacement that meets the needs and expectations of both our customers and the communities we serve.”

The move is scheduled to begin in New York and California and spread to all Dunkin’ locations worldwide by 2020.

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Palmpress
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This Tiny Press Lets You Brew Barista-Quality Coffee Anywhere
Palmpress
Palmpress

Whether you prefer the convenience of single-serve pods or the high quality of pour-over coffee, there’s a brewing method out there to suit your tastes. As Co.Design reports, one of the latest options is the Palmpress, a hand-held silicone brewer that combines the ease of using pods with the delicious taste of more time-consuming brewing methods.

To use it, just fill the press with ground coffee and pour in hot water. Then, screw on the lid and allow the grounds to steep for three minutes. Similar to less-portable options like the Clever dripper or a French press, the Palmpress uses immersion brewing to extract the coffee evenly, giving you a smooth taste every time.

Once the coffee is done steeping, it’s ready to pour: Flip the press upside down onto the top of your mug and compress the silicone base. When you push it down, the Palmpress releases a perfectly-portioned serving of coffee into your cup.

The Palmpress is completely reusable and doesn't require any paper filters, plastic pods, or other supplies destined to end up in the trash, making it both wallet- and eco-friendly. The press only makes 8 ounces at a time, so it’s not ideal if you want to make more than one cup of coffee, but its small size (it's around 2 inches tall when collapsed) makes it an appealing option for traveling, camping, and days when you just can't stomach the thought of the office Keurig.

The Palmpress is currently out of stock, but it will cost $39 when supplies become available again.

And if you’re really looking to improve your morning coffee experience, there’s more you can do beyond updating your equipment. From what kind of water to use to the perfect temperature, here are some tips for brewing coffee at home.

[h/t Co.Design]

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