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5 Underrated Coffee Innovations

Friday, December 06, 2013

Whether you are part of a mobile coffee franchise or just love hot beverages, you’ll have seen plenty of innovation that isn’t ever praised as much as it should be.



Alt: UHT is a bit of a wonder product.

You’ve almost certainly come across the little cartons of milk in hotel rooms and on planes labelled ‘UHT’. If you’re a bit scathing then you aren’t alone. A lot of people don’t like the idea of milk which doesn’t need to be refrigerated and lasts months. But UHT isn’t artificial or excessively processed. In fact, UHT requires just 2 seconds of pasteurisation as opposed to the 15 seconds milk is traditionally treated for. It is heated to extremely high temperatures to kill off more bacteria than your average short fridge life bottle.

Sure, UHT kills off good bacteria as well as bad, and six months seems awfully long time to keep milk hanging around for. I throw away milk if it went out of date the day before, without smelling it or checking in anyway at all. I’m a tiny bit dairy paranoid. UHT is an excellent emergency milk option. It starts out exactly how any other milk you buy does, but it gets a really clever package and a whole heap of heat for a very short amount of time.

I probably wouldn’t chose to drink a glass of UHT, but a splash in a cuppa? I’m all for it.


Much like UHT, stirrers get a bit of a bad rep. A wooden number if much more environmentally friendly than its plastic counterpart, but is more expensive to produce. If you’re take a sugar or two and you’ve tried to cope without stirring you’ll be familiar with the gritty mess which ensues. We’d much rather a spoon, but in a mobile coffee franchise without kitchen facilities, a stirrer does the job very well.  

The Coffee Sleeve


Alt: Along with the paper cup, coffee sleeves make mobile coffee franchises possible.

The coffee sleeve was a real game changer. The concept was invented by an American called Jay Sorenson in 1991, after he scolded his hand and spilt coffee on himself because of a poorly insulated cup. Originally he tried to create a new cup with better insulation, before realising that not all drinks sold from coffee shops are hot enough to warrant a more expensive cup. And thus the humble and hand saving coffee sleeve was born under the particularly catchy title of the Java Jacket.

An example of Sorenson’s genius was honoured in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in their Humble Masterpieces exhibition.

Well done that man.

The Paper Cup

Simple and elegant, the paper cup makes mobile coffee franchises possible. While cafes and coffee shops could provide mugs or cups for their drinks, any takeaway services need a takeaway container. The paper cup has been around a pretty long time, growing in popularity since the beginning of the 20th century due to an increase in hygiene awareness.

The paper cup needed a bit of a rework to make it suitable for your steamy beverage, but the concept hasn’t changed. The slightly tapered shape makes the cups stackable and stable, and the reinforced lip helps to prevent spills.

Alcoholic Coffee?

If you’re well versed in all these mobile coffee franchise essentials, perhaps you haven’t come across some of the newer coffee innovations. Portuguese and Spanish researchers have discovered a new way of using coffee grounds to produce a very different kind of drink. By heating the powder in scolding water then removing the liquid and adding sugar and yeast they have found a way of turning coffee into a strong spirit, like tequila or vodka. It just needs a bit of fermentation and the result is pretty palatable.

The caffeine is lost in the process but it gives way to a whole new realm of bean based possibility.

Can you think of any other everyday coffee innovations?

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