"The mission is to give people better, safer sipping experiences - whilst fighting the war on waste."

It started with a spilt coffee and another ruined laptop. It got us thinking, could there be a closed-lid solution to protect from spills, that would not diminish the sensory pleasure of sipping coffee from a ceramic cup.

Our research was initially inspired by the explosive effects of hot liquid and whether it was possible to capture the energy of a spill. We studied seatbelts and airbags and the way in which they activate on impact to protect passengers. This was the catalyst for our responsive bi-stable valve. Simple science but this hasn’t been a simple process. Designing an anti-spill feature capable of performing with boiling liquids, with a mechanism compact enough to fit inside the lid, has been the hardest thing to overcome. We have worked with an experienced team of industrial engineers to design and test materials that can perform with very fine tolerances. It has taken years of hard work and dedication to get it right.

When exploring the sensory experience of coffee drinking, we realised that taste was being stifled by disposable cup lids. These lids do not allow you to smell or sip your coffee (taste + aroma = flavour). We looked at the evolution of lid design and learnt that the first slot-hole lid was designed in the 60s, signalling the start of on-the-go drinking. Cafe culture evolved with the times but the coffee cup lid did not, meaning that we have been sucking our specialty coffee through poorly designed lids for decades.

Another arm of our research was function versus aesthetic. The humble takeaway coffee cup has become the status symbol of our generation, so we knew that we had to mirror this aesthetic. We wanted to design a beautiful product that people could carry proudly, that also performed on a practical level and answered consumer needs. With TOPL, quality has been our main concern and we have refused to make any compromises. We want people to trust TOPL to solve the problems they are currently facing when drinking on the move, in a practical and straightforward way.

TOPL products are characterised by a sleek, minimalist aesthetic and a level of technical innovation that surprises and delights consumers. By reimagining traditional design, our aim is to disrupt the utilitarian drinkware market.

As the climate emergency accelerates, the stakes have become even higher. We are all now painfully aware of the destructive impact that single use plastics have on our health and our environment. Disposable coffee cups are a big part of the problem, but so far adoption of reusable coffee cups has been poor, with only 1% of coffees sold globally in reusables on a daily basis. Discounts for those bringing their own cups hasn’t appeared to kickstart behavioural change. Besides the practical issue of remembering your reusable cup every day, we wanted to understand why adoption rates were low. It has been claimed that in order to transform an industry rapidly and manage customer resistance, the benefits of innovation must be so great that they overcome the consumer’s overweighting of potential losses. Innovations must offer benefits that are 10x greater than existing solutions. To us that means that the inconvenience of carrying a reusable cup with you to the coffee shop, must be outweighed by joy of using the cup. The focus in developing TOPL has therefore been to achieve this improvement and make TOPL 10x better than your average cup.

We are on a mission to transform the way we drink. We have a sustainable focus and a passion to shape the mobile drinking market for the better. By arming people with reusable products that answer consumer needs, TOPL aims to accelerate the movement from single use to reuse.