The Australian designed Sttoke reusable cup is made for a community and industry that values quality, performance, and aesthetics when it comes to their coffee and reducing waste.
Most people want to make choices that are better for the planet, but often those decisions come at the cost of quality or convenience.
In 2017, the ABC’s War on Waste brought attention to the millions of disposable coffee cups going to landfill every day, which inspired many viewers to pick up a reusable cup. However, remembering to clean the cup, take it each time to get a coffee, and carry it around until they got home, meant a lot of those cups weren’t reused.
Antony de Fina, Head of Sttoke Australia, says sitting down at a café and drinking from a heat-stable ceramic cup is an experience no plastic or paper takeaway cup on the market could match. So, if reusables cups couldn’t compete with disposables in terms of convenience, they would have to on quality.
Released in 2018, Sttoke cups use a German-engineered Greblon water-based ceramic lining with a high food grade 18/8 stainless-steel body, built to be shatterproof and preserve the heat and quality of a coffee, like it would in a café setting.
“This industry has always focused on improving the sit-down café experience, and takeaway coffee was always an afterthought to that. That’s something we set out to change,” Antony says.
“Sttoke was the first reusable cup with a ceramic lining and using it is like drinking out of a ceramic cup in a café. You don’t get the same tainted flavour or aftertaste you do from plastic or metal cups.”
The Australian coffee community has warmly received Sttoke over the years, which has in turn given back to the industry too, sponsoring the 2020 Australian Brewers Cup among other initiatives.
Industry veteran and current Sales Director South Asia for Hemro Group, Ross Quail, hosted and spoke at the Sttoke launch party in Melbourne three years ago. He tells BeanScene it’s clear Sttoke was made with the Australian coffee consumer in mind.
“Melbourne in particular’s adoption of quality coffee and products has made it a leading coffee market and thought leader around the world,” Ross says.
“When Sttoke came out, it met the needs of sustainably minded coffee drinkers while uniquely reflecting the reverence we had for coffee in this country. It was a perfect addition to our daily coffee lives.”
This respect for coffee carries through to the aesthetic design of the cup. Its lightweight build and slight contours towards the top of the cup make it ergonomic – fitting well in a hand or cup holder – while improving the flow of coffee while sipped through the spill-proof lid.
“The Sttoke cup is just beautiful. It even felt great taking it into a café. People would stop me and say ‘this cup is beautiful, where’d you get it?’” Ross says.
“The look and visual appeal of the cup is what strikes you first about Sttoke – it’s contemporary, sleek, and modern, but more than anything, it’s the practical aspects of the design that are really the clincher.”
If Australia wants to keep calling itself a world leading coffee country, Ross says the industry is going to need to embrace sustainability.
“What we do here filters to many other countries, so we have a responsibility to promote the right message,” he says.
“Using a premium cup like Sttoke, saying single-use is not for us, is a fantastic way to do that while still enjoying our coffee with quality and style.”
Artificer Coffee in Surrey Hills was the first New South Wales café to stock Sttoke cups. Co-owner Daniel Yee says Artificer Coffee has earned a reputation for its meticulous coffee selection, roasting, and brewing, so the products it sells at the coffee bar need to match that quality.
“We don’t offer another [reusable cup] brand, except our own custom hand-made ceramic mugs,” Daniel says.
“We held off for quite a while on offering a commercially available reusable cup as we simply didn’t like any of the other options out there and didn’t want our name on them. When we got [the Sttoke cups] in, they sold by the box-load because our customers trust us. We don’t offer anything in our shop that we don’t stand by and they know it. If we like something, generally they will too.”
The main drawcard for Artificer Coffee was Sttoke’s ceramic coating which could preserve the flavour of its coffee. Daniel says his customers also give positive feedback on how Sttoke can retain temperature and the visual appeal of the cup.
“I think if people invest or spend a bit more on a quality item, they are more likely to use it and take care of it over a longer period of time,” he says.
“The irony with all the reusable cups out there is that people often buy them like shopping for fast fashion and end up with a drawer full of them. [That’s] great for sales but detracts from the point of trying to reduce waste.”
Prior to COVID-19, Daniel estimates that up to a quarter of Artificer Coffee customers were using reusable cups. After the pandemic caused a slump due to safety concerns, he says it has returned to about 8 to 15 per cent of customers per day and is gaining weekly.
“With all the ‘hype’ around moving to a reusable cup, people have become more aware of the need to reduce their wastage where they can,” Daniel says.
“There was a lot of momentum before COVID to use reusable cups and that needs to gain traction once again… I don’t actually believe reusable cups are the ‘silver bullet’ in solving the wastage issues of disposable cups, but they are a step in moving forward and changing the habits and sins of our past.”
Sttoke’s Antony confirms there was a lull in sales for reusable cups in 2020, but Sttoke has bounced back quickly in 2021, with people realising how much waste disposables have generated over the last year.
“We’ve always got new colours, designs, and products coming out to meet the wants and needs of customers looking for a reusable they will actually use again,” Antony says.
“We’ve introduced a little sustainability kit with a metal straw to use with their Sttoke Cup and have a new range of colours coming out in the lead up towards Christmas.”
Sttoke is also in the process of attaining B Corp and Climate Neutral certification to provide another level of reassurance that using a Sttoke cup is the right thing to do.
“It’s not enough for us to just create a reusable cup and put it out there if it will still one day end up in landfill. Sttoke has thought ahead to the end of life of their cups and ensured they’re fully recyclable,” Antony says.
“Demand for reusables is only going to grow stronger as people become more aware of how they can contribute, reduce single usage, and improve their carbon footprint.”