Drink coffee like a real New Yorker

Ceramic edition of the iconic "We Are Happy To Serve You" cup saves paper and celebrates a longtime coffee tradition.


Living in New York, I get most of my coffee on the go. This means that I often feel the pangs of guilt that are associated with the amount of paper waste coming out of the city every day. I try to mitigate the problem by holding onto my cup through the day, refilling it with coffee or tea at work.

For hygienic reasons, this is probably not the best idea.

I use my French press religiously on the mornings that I can make time for it, but on my busy workdays, the coffee and bagel cart down the street from my workplace makes a darn good cup for just over a dollar. Plus, it comes in the "We Are Happy To Serve You" cup that has become a cornerstone of New York java culture, making me feel a little bit more like I'm a fixture in the Big Apple instead of a two-year visitor.

Introduced in 1963, the cup serves as inspiration for one of the newest coffee cups available at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Design Store. According to the MoMA Web site, more than 180 million of these cups are handed out every year (about a half million each day). When you consider how many coffee restaurants are serving up the stuff on any given morning, this number is pretty significant, so it seems appropriate that one of the city's most celebrated museums is doing its part to celebrate the much-used coffee vessel.

The cup was designed by Graham Hill, founder of environmentally conscious group Exceptionlab, in conjunction with Sweetheart Cup Co. and Aid to Artisans. Converting the cup from paper to ceramic eliminates waste while celebrating the traditional design.

It saves money, too: the cup is available from the MoMA Design Store Web site for $14, or for $12 at WeAreHappyToServeYou.com.

About the author

    Jenn Lowell spent her time at the University of Colorado building robots and other toys before earning her graduate degree in mechatronics and mechanical engineering. She is a self-proclaimed lover of anything that runs off of electricity and has moving parts or motors. Currently pulling double-duty as a high school science teacher and freelance blogger, she has free time seldom enough to deeply appreciate the modern technological conveniences that give her more of it. She is a long-time recreational blogger currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY.


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