Form and function are heavily intertwined in Kruve’s latest transition into coffee glassware.
BY YKER VALERIO
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Kruve
Do you hold your coffee with one hand, swirl it, smell it, and then sip it? Or do you hold your mug with both hands and feel its warmth while taking in its scent?
Preference and tradition play a role in these decisions, but design can be even more important than all of the habits mentioned above, according to Kruve’s Karol and Marek Krupa—whom many may recognize for their groundbreaking (pun intended) coffee ground sifters.
Today we learn more about Kruve’s design process, and how they elevate the coffee experience through glassware.
Thinking Out of the Sifter
Kruve is famous for empowering coffee geeks through their sifters. So why did they get into the glassware market?
According to Karol and Marek, Kruve is a “product-developing company focusing in the specialty-coffee industry,” and they don’t see themselves tied to a specific product range. Thus, after considering ways of improving the coffee experience, they found that vessel design had substantial room for improvement.
Kruve’s team started by looking at their own needs as fellow coffee drinkers. First, they conducted user research at home, and also complemented their findings through industry experts’ feedback. Then, they developed different prototypes, executing several iterations in the process. This exhaustive research earned them the SCA Design Lab and New Product Awards in 2019.
Coffee Is Like Wine and Whiskey
Treating coffee as a premium product, Kruve’s team, like many new-age coffee design minds, drew inspiration from other luxury drinks vessels like wine cups and whiskey glasses. In doing so, they wanted to “highlight the aromatics, accentuate certain flavor notes, balance the flavors, and involve all the senses,” say Karol and Marek.
Visually, the company’s interpretation of double-wall glasses for coffee is exciting. After using double-wall glasses at home for some time, they became a personal favorite for the team. Still, they wanted to improve their design to get a better mouthfeel by adjusting rim thickness and shape.
Kruve’s solution looks and feels counterintuitive, but it’s appealing and functional. According to Karol and Marek, the glasses have a “double-wall construction on the bottom half of the glass to keep your coffee hot while being cool to the touch. Then, a single wall for the top half of our glasses gave us more freedom to create the rim shape we wanted and the lip feel we desired that mimicked that of a wine glass.”
Designing for Experience
In the words of Karol and Marek, “If you are given whiskey in a shot glass, you are more inclined to shoot it back in one go. If, however, you are given whiskey in a tumbler or a larger Glencairn glass, you instinctively swirl it, smell it, and sip it, thus prolonging the drinking process and elevating the drinking experience. We wanted to bring these same aspects to both brewed coffee and espresso.”
To put it simply, these small glasses don’t accommodate binge coffee drinkers. However, their design attempts to convert binge coffee drinkers to sip and savor their experiences. In the words of Karol and Marek, “By limiting the size of the EXCITE and INSPIRE glasses to a five-ounce pour, you are encouraged to brew into a carafe (such as our 10-oz PIQUE or 20-oz EVOKE). This alone prolongs your enjoyment of the coffee, and the shapes of the glasses enhance the aroma and flavor of the coffee.“
Kruve recently launched their glassware for espresso and milk-based coffee drinks. Their way to reimagine coffee drinking has taken a bold aesthetic proposal. Still, the function is there, tied to a very specific mood and mindset of serene and sophisticated pleasure.
Despite the growing interest in their glassware products, Karol and Marek told us that “we are not switching to glassware only. In fact, our next product is not glass, but we feel that will be one of our biggest hits yet. We have a number of products lined up for next year and we are excited to help fellow coffee lovers elevate their drinking experience.“
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.