Tuesday, February 19, 2008

De-spill-inators! Cool New Coffee Gizmo

Cooler than sliced bread? Absolutely! I went into my favorite coffee shop this morning and was delighted to find this fabulous device, straight from this weekend’s coffee convention.

What are they called? De-spill-inators? Glug plugs? Crotch-savers? They look like tiny plastic pacifiers and the name doesn't matter! All I know is this simple but brilliant idea made my day.

Every morning I stop by my favorite coffee shop, Orinoco Coffee House (http://www.cafeorinoco.com/), to pick up a large (you’re allowed to call it “large” there) piping hot cup of my morning nectar (Orinoco’s house blend), filled to the rim.

My car’s cup holder is directly behind the stick shift so I have to do the stick:lid shuffle. I hold a bunched napkin over the sip hole of the plastic lid to keep it from spilling all over the console, while simultaneously changing gears, trying to prevent a historic reenactment of Mount Vesuvius.

Today I saw a bowl full of these wonderful devices, which easily plug into the sip hole of a plastic lid and keep your coffee where it belongs. I prefer they not be treated as disposable and reused but who am I kidding? We’re driving to coffee shops for something we could make for ourselves in the morning and drinking from disposable cups instead of our favorite mugs.

Not to hate on Starbucks but why haven’t they solved this dilemma? I didn’t stop purchasing from them just because of their horribly designed coffee cups/lids, which contributed to more than just a few morning wardrobe changes; my local Starbucks stops brewing mild coffee after 4 PM. Pardon? I’m not looking for hi-test at 8 PM to help keep me up if my demons aren’t doing the trick. Besides, I always prefer to support locally owned businesses and this is one of the reasons: they're taking care of me before I even ask. Anyone wonder why Blockbuster has collapsed? Meeting the needs of your customers shouldn't be an afterthought.

One note of warning: there is a tiny hole in the plastic lid meant to release steam and pressure. So if you have that plug in, be sure not to squeeze your coffee cup when holding it; otherwise, that coffee will find its way out, possibly at high speed (through the back edge of the lid, through the air hole or launching the de-spill-inator skyward like it’s New Year’s).

It’s the little things that make me happy. Now if I could just get a disposable cup I can retrieve from my cup holder without simultaneously disengaging the lid I may make it to work unscalded and dry one morning.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you Mike! I love the "de-spill-inator" and Orinoco too! :-)

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