Posts Tagged 'Coffee'

[PICS] Food Portions Then & Now


What do 200 calories look like?

Visiting with my boyfriend’s parents this weekend tempted me to revisit the portion control post from back in December 2008. His mother and I talked about the sobering reality of an American portion size. Here’s a visual representation from author Liz Monte of of what a portion used to be twenty years ago versus now:




Cup of Coffee







Coffee Lids Revisited: McDonald’s

Photos Louise Harpman and Scott Specht.

Photos Louise Harpman and Scott Specht.

When I first blogged about the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks Coffee Lids, I explained that I rate beverage product packaging based on the ability to function well while traveling. This morning, I took advantage of McDonald’s free medium cup of coffee special for the month of February (I would link to a reputable article about it, but it appears that the McDonalds’ marketing team decided to promote this deal purely through viral marketing).

After the McDonald’s employee handed me my coffee cup, I realized that the lid has no hole — that is, until I’m ready to puncture it to consume my coffee. While one consumer complained that the lid does not allow for safe slurping of hot beverages, I beg to differ. The lid does well in traveling safely without spilling coffee. My new rating for beverage product packaging, with #1 being the best, is:

1) Dunkin Donuts

2) McDonald’s

3) Starbucks

Judging from the comments and other blogs on the web, it seems like many people have an opinion about the design and functionality of coffee lids. Which one do you think is more important? Design or functionality?

For further reading, check out this article, Peel, Pucker, Pinch, Puncture.” A little outdated, but offers an extensive analysis of what should go into the engineering of lid design.

Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks Coffee Lid


On my way in to work this morning at 7:30AM this morning I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for a cup o’ joe. I ordered a large French Vanilla Coffee, which my coworker calls, “frufru coffee.” Meh. So be it. I paid for the coffee and I was on my way. Side note: if you know me or my commute, you’ll know that I park my car a good 15-minute walk away from the office. Therefore, it’s essential that I can travel well with liquids. Well, I’m happy to say that from the time that I left Dunkin Donuts to the time I plopped down in my chair at my desk, my coffee was spill-free.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I even bother to talk about my buck-fifty coffee. As a designer, I tend to be a little more observant when it comes to product packaging. When a company takes the time to engineer the product packaging well, it shows. Any good company will invest the time and money into observing consumer behavior. Dunkin Donuts did precisely this. They did an incredibly good job with designing their spill-proof lid. The lid comes with a standard pull-back tab that covers the mouth of the lid, which appeals to coffee drinkers on the go. In addition, you’ll notice in the photo above that there is a crevasse in the lid — almost in the shape of a racetrack. This acts as a drain basin for coffee that spills out of the air hole of the lid.Ā  Ingenius. Because Dunkin Donuts invested the resources into creating a great package for their coffee, it traveled well, and won me over as a repeat customer.


I also give props to Starbucks for their attempt in product packaging. While their coffee lids do not have built-in pull-back tabs for the mouth of the lid, they offer a swizzle stick that has a snug fit in the mouth part of the cup.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has noticed this packaging. Check out Aram Squalls‘ article on “Dunkin Donuts coffee lid: innovation at the intersection of regulation and free markets” and see what the Starbucks Gossip blog has to say.

As good as these inventions might sound, there seems to be some backlash. Some consumers are angry that Starbucks has created more waste on our planet with their plastic swizzle stick. Do you think that this is something we should be concerned about?

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