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Ceramic Coffee Cups: A collaboration with Skye Corewijn

by Michael Cleland

Is there a perfect coffee cup? Is there a shape of vessel that enhances the unique characteristics of a brew? James Wise collaborated with renowned London ceramicist Skye Corewijn to find out.

— James Wise

Good coffee generally tastes amazing whatever you’re drinking it from - in fact, maybe that’s one measure of how good it is. Good wine, good cocktails and good tea also taste pretty damn awesome however they’re drunk too. But we all know they taste better, or at least seem better, when the vessel itself adds the finishing touch to tip it over into organoleptic bliss.

Earlier this summer I applied the same logic to coffee drinking vessels. Along with Skye Corewijn* of Lazy Eye Ceramics, I attempted to create a one-off** ceramic coffee cup that would make my specialty sipping experience even more special.

We soon realised that not one cup could do it all. In order to amplify the variety of taste profiles you’d hope to encounter as you discover the coffees of the world, we’d need specific vessels to suit different profiles.

Eventually we settled on three favourite components and set about creating the vessels to highlight each. The following is what we’ve been drinking from ever since…


The Aroma Cup:

This is a taller vessel with a tapered brim which funnels and traps the volatile aromas, preventing them from escaping before you’ve had the chance to fully appreciate their perfume. Any coffee that’s clean and bright works well, and this takes East-African washed coffee to another level in particular.

The Balance Cup

The hourglass shape is designed to both capture aroma and also create a softer, more natural, delivery of liquid to the palate. It’s a pretty good all-rounder and used regularly for Central American coffees here in the roastery.

Mouthfeel cup

This one was selected by Lewis Maillardet for his 2019 World Brewer’s Cup routine. It might look a bit unusual for drinking coffee but the large surface area cools quickly to reveal all of the cup’s character much faster and the extra wide brim coats all of the palate evenly for a heightened perception of mouthfeel.

Brewer Set

The idea here is that the decanter and cups fit together so you can brew into the the same device you decant from and the cups will warm up on top while you’re waiting to serve.

Illustrations by James Wise
*We first encountered Skye when we saw her beautiful ceramics turning up in some of London’s best restaurants. We were later introduced by friends and are very thankful for the opportunity to work together.  If you fancy seeing more of her commissions and personal work then head over to her website and take a look.
**Individual coffee cups will be available early next year.