Coffee in a clay pot? It’s the latest sustainable trend

It might sound strange, but one California coffee chain now offers customers the option to have their brew served in a small clay pot.

It’s actually a 3D-printed coffee cup made of just three materials: salt, water, and sand.

Recently, I visited Verve Coffee in Downtown LA, which is partnering with a San Francisco-based startup named Gaeastar to offer sustainable cups.

“We’re always looking for new ways to push forward, look to the future, innovate and find ways to be more helpful for the planet,” said Micah Heykoop, who handles marketing for Verve Coffee Roasters.

The small coffee chain, which has roots in California’s laid-back beach town of Santa Cruz, offers the reusable cups for $2 dollars at several locations.

“[It’s a] beautiful cup, fun for consumers to use, and something that replaces a huge problem we have, which is a single-use paper cup,” said Heykoop.

Gaeastar founder Sanjeev Mankotia got the idea in India, where they’ve been serving drinks in handmade terracotta cups for thousands of years.

“Our mission is to eliminate single-use plastics,” said Mankotia.

The ingredients are simple: sand, water, and salt.

“We make these rapidly using our proprietary 3d printing technology, with the north star being that one day the machine can sit in a cafe like this or a restaurant and you can rapidly print a plate, a bowl, a cup of any size to go on demand,” said Mankotia.

That 3D printing process is closely guarded. It takes about 30 seconds to produce a cup.

“Use it as many times you want. You could wash it, you know, rinse it out, reuse it. It’s yours to keep but if it breaks or you forget it, you can buy another one for a couple bucks,” explained Mankotia.

The cups disintegrate when you’re done with them. And if you want to uphold the ancient tradition, you could even shatter it and toss the pieces into dirt to break down.

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