Chai latte? Want a Dick Frizzell with that?

Chai latte? Want a Dick Frizzell with that?

A New Zealand entrepreneur on a mission to get us to buy our takeaway coffees in reuseable (read sustainable) cups has teamed up with a bunch of Kiwi artists – including Dick Frizzell – to produce a range of designer beakers.

 You know you shouldn’t, but it’s so much easier getting your coffee in a disposable cup and then just chucking it in the bin. Can you really be bothered to carry around a reusable coffee cup in your bag all day?

Yes, should be the answer, according to Cuppacoffeecup owner Darren Turner.

Turner, who founded the business as a way to wean New Zealanders off their single-serve fixation, has just released a new range of reuseable cups featuring Kiwi artists and local designs.

Turner says the idea behind the Kiwiana reusables is that by having attractive designs on the cups people will be more inclined to use them.

 “My opinion is that most people like to support sustainability, and the visual impact of the cup can encourage them to do so.

“The cups enable people to show what they are passionate about. Our focus is now about creating amazing designs with our artists and our business partners that make people want to use our cups.”

This month Turner will launch a new website to showcase designs. And early next year he plans to open an office in Sydney to make it easier to market the product to the Australians.

It’s hard to get figures on how big an environmental waste problem disposable coffee cups produce, but an Australian study found 8% of rubbish at one university was made up of coffee cups.

The problem is it’s hard to get people to switch.

Turner spent 12 months on market research and development, leaving his sales job, before the cups hit shelves in 2012.

 “I had seen some reusable takeaway coffee cups and, though they were often very practical, I thought I could make a better looking option."

With little knowledge in product development, starting the small business was a challenge, he says.

“Although I had this idea, it was difficult to know where to start. I initially found it quite intimidating contacting product designers, as you tend to feel that you need to convince them of your idea.”

However, design company Phd3 saw value in Turner’s idea and developed the Cuppacoffeecup, using a simple and standardised design.

As well as its own designs, Cuppacoffeecup provides customised designs for cafés, coffee roasters, charities and other companies.


At the start of this year the company got a boost when  former AWT Water CFO Andrew Curran came onboard as an investor and business development manager.

Turner says reuseable coffee cups are more common in Australia and after two years of involvement at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo, his brand has gained exposure in Australia.

For this reason Cuppacoffeecup is opening a Sydney office early next year.

This does not mean the New Zealand market will be left behind, he says, with the upcoming launch of an exclusive Dick Frizzell range, with an exclusive design called ‘Tiki Pou’.

A kiddies cup will also be released before Christmas.

Artists Tony Cribb, Greg Straight and Angie Webb share the inspiration behind their designs for Cuppacoffeecup:

Tony Cribb: "TIN MAN NEEDS COFFEE!!! First thing in the morning it’s his ‘Wake Me Up’ call – he drinks, blinks, and then eventually he thinks. It comes with a warning sign – ‘Too much thinking may cause your head to burst’." Greg Straight: "The Kiwiana cup is inspired by the classic Kiwi road trip to the bach. It’s sort of a collection of summer memories on a cup." Angie Webb: "I've been painting pohutukawas since 2002, and it's been a favourite design of my customers. It's reminds Kiwis that summer's on its way."