The Dish

By Nici Wickes

Abigail Forsyth's colourful Keep Cups are catching on with environmentally friendly consumers. Photo / Supplied
Abigail Forsyth's colourful Keep Cups are catching on with environmentally friendly consumers. Photo / Supplied

Coffee with a conscience

One woman's colourful and caring idea is a keeper, catching on with environmentally friendly consumers.

Abigail Forsyth is used to people clutching her reusable coffee cup while saying "I thought of that too". But the Australian inventor of the Keep Cup is the one who turned a good green idea into an award-winning design, exported globally.

For concerned cafe habitues, a Keep Cup purchase is becoming as essential as a flat white. And unlike the usual twice or thrice daily coffee habit, it does not leave behind a mountain of needless waste.

So far, more than 60,000 Keep Cups have found a home in New Zealand, each retailing through savvy cafes for $20 or less. Forsyth, a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur and mother of two from Melbourne, was in Auckland recently to keep tabs on her growing sales here.

Since launching the world's first "barista standard" reusable cup in 2009, it is estimated the business worldwide may have diverted as many as 100 million paper cups from landfill every year.

Forsyth runs Keep Cup with her brother Jamie and now employs 20 staff. They export the Australian-made cups by ship to distribution warehouses in the United States and Britain, and sell in markets as diverse as Scandinavia and Africa.

It was when they ran the popular Melbourne CBD Bluebag chain of sandwich shops that the duo decided to act on their concerns about waste. They weren't impressed by the disposables on offer and neither were baristas who had to fill flasks and oversized cups by pouring coffee from one container to the next, destroying its crema. By coming up with something that appealed to those on both sides of the cafe counter, the Forsyths met their market. Forming links with roasters and corporate clients has helped the company thrive. Making the cup lightweight, stylish, BPA-free and non toxic added to its appeal.

A large Keep Cup takes the plastic of 35 plastic disposables and industrial tests show they can last for up to 1000 uses, with Forsyth saying many early purchasers are still using their original cups. You can even wash them in a dishwasher, provided you don't squash them in and out of shape. New out is a brighter range and a smaller size for espresso lovers.

Support the whales and look out for the new Project Jonah Keep Cup ($15-$18) available from the Project Jonah online shop, The Food Room in Ponsonby, Sliced in Grey Lynn, MacGregor Brothers Kitchen on Wellesley St and Holy Beans Cafe on Commerce St in the CBD.

Tres beaujolais

Every year, at the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday of November, France erupts in a mass of celebrations to uncork the new vintage of Beaujolais - that fruity, pretty in pink wine from Burgundy's most southern subregion.

In New Zealand there's less of a tradition of welcoming these early released wines, but in Francophile pockets across the country, Kiwis will be the popping corks on the first 2011 Beaujolais to hit our shores.

Put it on the list

Next time you're mixing a G&T, try Quina Fina (kee-na fee-na) - a tonic water made in New Zealand paired with quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree in Ecuador, spring water from Nelson and organic lemons. Bottoms up! $11.99 for four bottles from Nosh Food Markets.

Sky high

If you're looking for a chic, stylish location for your next party - be it an intimate cocktail affair, sit-down dinner, work Christmas gathering or wedding - then the Rooftop Terrace at the Rydges Hotel is the place. With an all-white fit out and fabulous views of the harbour and city it truly has a sophisticated, cosmopolitan feel. Imagine watching the sunset from here with a cocktail in hand and some funky tunes filling the air. Rydges Hotel, 59 Federal St, City. To find out more contact Emma Sharplin on (09) 375 5975.

- NZ Herald

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