Miir, World Coffee Research Launch Artists’ Collaboration Series

The collection of sustainable drinkware, featuring art by Lucy T. Smith and Michael Buchino, will raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit’s work. 

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Photos courtesy of World Coffee Research

World Coffee Research (WCR) is well-known in the coffee realm for its work that aims to protect and enhance the supply of quality coffee, through measures such as supporting the development of coffee varieties that are not only high-yielding and resilient to the changing climate, but also delicious. 

WCR recently entered into a new partnership with Seattle-based brand MiiR working with two artists—Lucy T. Smith and Michael Buchino—to create a series of sustainable drinkware to support WCR’s mission, raising both awareness and funds for the nonprofit’s work. Items in the line include coffee mugs, tumblers, and bottles; for every piece sold, World Coffee Research will receive $8. 

World Coffee Research and Miir collaboration products with artist Lucy T. Smith.
The illustrations in the collection from Lucy T. Smith show the development of a coffee plant.

The MiiR x World Coffee Research products are available to consumers from several coffee retailers around the world, including Black Oak Coffee Roasters, Bridge Coffee Co., Camber Coffee, Coffee Circle, Fulcrum Coffee Roasters, Intelligentsia Coffee, Union Hand Roasted, and Workshop Coffee. Coffee businesses worldwide are invited to join the collaboration and to make the MiiR x WCR products available to their customers; interested retailers can email here for more information. 

About the Artists

WCR and Miir selected two decorated artists for the collaboration. Lucy T. Smith is a multi-award winning botanical artist and illustrator who has worked with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and created works for broadcaster David Attenborough. For the Miir x WCR collaboration, Lucy’s intricate botanical drawings illustrate the arabica coffee plant, which accounts for 60% of global coffee production. 

“In my work I have used classic botanical illustration to depict many coffee species both known and new to science, and here I’ve treated Coffea arabica in the same style, showing its main botanical features,” says Lucy in a press release from WCR. “Not just a crop plant, it represents just one of many coffee species. All deserve to be cherished and protected, to preserve them and their wild habitats.” 

Michael Buchino's pieces for the WCR and Miir collaboration.
Michael Buchino’s pieces for the collection illustrate three characters that embody the work of WCR and its impact: the Lab Technician, the Farmer, and the Coffee Connoisseur.

The other artist in the collaboration is Portland, Ore.-based Michael Buchino, who uses color and vibrancy in his illustrations for the project—taking inspiration from vintage ads and other influences—to capture the “joyful labor” of coffee research throughout the supply chain. “World Coffee Research is working in the lab and on the farm to make sure we get great coffee in our cups each day,” he says. “With their work, we can count on coffee being a viable industry for years to come.”

A Collaborative Effort

Spearheading the collaborative initiative is Workshop Coffee, MiiR’s U.K. distributors; the series had a pre-release in fall 2021, and has already raised almost $20,000. “We’re ecstatic and really proud of what this initiative has already generated for World Coffee Research,” says Richard Frazier, CMO of Workshop Coffee, in the press release. “We’re enormous proponents of the continued work that they do, and the entire specialty coffee industry is a benefactor of their commitment to lab and field research.” He added, “We’re excited to see the impact this collaborative project will have and are pleased to be supporting a cause that means a lot to us.”

he collaboration is particularly meaningful for World Coffee Research, explains Hanna Neuschwander, WCR’s director of communications and strategy. “The MiiR x WCR collaboration is extraordinary because it lets us hold in our hands a truly beautiful object that reflects the joy, passion, and optimism for the future that underpins the work of coffee researchers,” she says. “Along with delicious coffee, these mugs hold something else precious—hope for the future of coffee.” 

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