Have you ever wondered what happens to all of those used grounds thrown out by coffee shops around the world? Sometimes companies sell or give them away for compost, but most of the time they’re just thrown out with the garbage. German designer Julian Lechner invented a brilliant new way to recycle coffee grounds into something that’s both beautiful and useful.
Following more than five years of research and development, Lechner developed a method for mixing the used grounds with natural glues and and sustainably-sourced wood particles. The mixture becomes a liquid that can be used in injection molds to create solid objects.
The first application for the material, called Kaffeeform, is completely appropriate to the medium: espresso cups and saucers also known by the name Kaffeeform. The tiny cups have handles and the saucers have center indentations to make them easier to carry to a table.
The material is surprisingly hard and strong – it easily stands up to the heat of fresh espresso and it’s tough enough to go through a dishwasher with no problem. Each piece is a little different thanks to the swirling marbling patterns created by the unique materials. According to Lechner, the Kaffeeform products even retain their coffee smell after production.
The cup and saucer sets are still technically in the pre-production phase so aren’t ready for ordering just yet. However, the Kaffeeform site does offer an order form; orders will be reviewed and buyers informed of current availability.