Lavazza invents the new kind of coffee cup

Lavazza Ecup 4a

Lavazza, whose attitude to ‘design’ in the Italian sense has led to such fascinatingly diverse projects as the world-famous annual calendar illustrated by world-leading photographers, the cappuccino foam, and the spoon with a hole in it for stirring espresso without disturbing the crema, has produced another unexpected invention – the ceramic cup shaped for the pouring of espresso.

This is the E-cup, which includes three unexpected design features, only one of which is immediately apparent.

This is the fact that it has no handle. Instead, it has two slight hollows in the wall providing a grip for the fingers – in the language used by Italian designers, this ‘allows even more intense contact between container and content’, and is ‘minimalism and purity in a simple coffee cup’.

The other features are not obvious.

One is that it has a double wall that insulates the coffee. The second is that the cup is asymmetrical – the inner wall on one side is steeper than the opposite wall.

The point of this, explains Lavazza, is to ‘allow the coffee to fall gently and fluidly from the espresso machine’s spout to the bottom of the cup… the E-cup then collects the espresso gently, just like two hands joined to protect the content’. In practical terms, this means that there is no breaking up of the crema.

‘This creates a timeless no-nonsense cup, dedicated exclusively to espresso and offering the irresistible experience of the slow flow of coffee, which respects preparation times, protects perfectly the coffee’s aroma and solid consistency and reflects the ritual nature of Italian-style espresso’, says Lavazza.

Interestingly, the saucer also follows the asymmetric theme – one half of the saucer inclines towards the other, exactly like the inside of the cup.

An additional feature of the E-cup is the use of the discreet ‘white on white’ branding on the outer wall. This is so discreet, it is quite possible to miss the branding entirely – however, says Lavazza’s British office, there has been a quality improvement to this etching, in that it now remains absolute pristine after a lot of washing.

The overall result is of an extremely stylish espresso cup, although the very best description is probably most entertainingly left to the Italians:

‘The clean and coherent design enhances the complementary nature of the two objects: the cup and saucer seem to blend into a single austere and seductive unit. The exceptional nature of the E-cup is revealed gradually, at the same slow meditative pace with which a good cup of espresso should be savoured.’


This story, by Boughton’s Coffee House magazine, has also appeared on the Caffe Culture news portal, the news site allied to the coffee trade’s main exhibition.


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