Addicted to Our Favorite Mugs: Fellow

A hand holding a black Fellow takeaway mug with the Barista Magazine logo on it.

Understanding different coffee-drinking experiences is the key to the innovative product range by Fellow.


Cover photo by Katrina Yentch

Coffee drinkers may change their favorite grinders, drippers, or home espresso machines over time. Yet, a special coffee mug can last for years.

Recently, innovative companies have been reinventing the coffee mug. Among them, Fellow has a rich and interesting design approach. The company describes itself as a product design startup, even after becoming a benchmark for coffee-brewing products and winning several design and coffee industry awards.

Below we are sharing some insights about Fellow’s design processes and principles, focusing on the product range of their innovative mugs.

The Carter Mug is suitable for many brewing devices. Photo courtesy of Fellow.

User-Centered Coffee Mug

In general, mugs and thermal vessels are ill-designed for consumers who enjoy the aroma of coffee and taste consciously, according to Pajnucci Vue, product design manager at Fellow. Fellow is one of several companies that has stepped up to the challenge. To do this, the company has designed an interesting product range to enhance the coffee experience both at home and on the go.

According to Pajnucci, Fellow “follows a user-centered design process where we are constantly interviewing coffee lovers and incorporating their feedback in order to make a beautiful product that actually solves needs.”

In doing so, they have created vessels that address different coffee consumer needs, from espresso enthusiasts to latte-art aficionados and home-brewing experts.

For instance, the Carter Mugs are versatile and convenient for takeaway coffee drinkers. On the other hand, the Stagg Tasting Glasses and the Joey Double Wall Ceramic Mugs address more specific coffee-drinking experiences for home consumption.

The Carter mug is Fellow’s takeaway coffee option. Photo courtesy of Fellow.

A Taste for Inspiration

Business innovation experts recommend taking ideas from other industries. Accordingly, the Fellow design team took inspiration from wine glasses to design the Carter Mug. In the words of Pajnucci, “We drew inspiration from a Cabernet wine glass, where the thin lip delivers coffee directly to your taste buds while also sitting comfortably on your mouth.”

Of course, none of these features would work alone. One of the most interesting aspects of Fellow designs is the way they bring together product features.

For the Stagg Tasting Glasses, the same user-feedback approach led to a completely different product. Why? Because it focuses on another form of coffee enjoyment. Thinking of users who enjoy the aesthetics of brewing coffee as much as drinking it, the design team made these vessels with glass to appreciate the beauty of a good brew. In doing so, they still took great care in the drinking experience. Some features include keeping coffee warm in a double-walled glass that’s comfortable to hold, plus a flared lip to deliver the ultimate coffee flavors.

Fellow content manager Hannah Miller explained to us that combining that double wall with an outward thin flared lip helps to appreciate the entire spectrum of coffee tasting notes while improving heat retention and comfort.

The Stagg Tasting Glasses are inspired by Cabernet wine glasses. Photo courtesy of Fellow.

As Different as Coffee Drinks

The aroma of fresh coffee in the morning connects us with a positive and productive state of mind that keeps us going for hours. However, not all coffee drinks evoke the exact same emotions. Take, for example, those who like to start off with a brewed coffee and continue the afternoon with a milk drink.

In considering this, the Fellow design team created each of their mugs to evoke different emotions. For instance, they created the Carter Mug to embody a peaceful, quiet, and reflexive state of mind. On the other hand, the Stagg Tasting Glasses are meant to create a more intimate, proud, and bright sense of feeling.

Lifestyle, values, and expectations inform our preferences and how we enjoy every day—and this certainly applies to our coffee habits. But, we aren’t aware of them all the time. 

Have you found anything new about how you feel when you hold your mug in the morning? I sure did.

The Joey Double Wall Ceramic Mugs focus on heat retention. Photo courtesy of Fellow.

Yker Valerio (he/him) is a freelance content creator. After more than 10 years of working as a management consultant, he started his blog Bon Vivant Caffè to share his passion for specialty coffee.

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Barista Magazine is the leading trade magazine in the world for the professional coffee community.