the-deal

Pagan Kennedy penned “Who Made That Coffee Lid?” for the New York Times Magazine last week and explored the history and sociology of the plastic to-go cup topper. In it, she interviewed Aaron Panone, designer of a resuable lid that fits atop common, everyday mason jars.

Well, we know a guy who knows a guy who invented something purported to be even better – it’s called the FoamAroma. And it’s a lid with two holes. One for your mouth and one for your nose. Because aroma.

We spoke with FoamAroma creator and owner Craig Bailey.

What exactly is the FoamAroma?

FoamAroma is a hot drink lid designed specifically to enhance the to-go drinking experience while providing spill protection. With FoamAroma you can smell the aroma, inhale air as you drink to slurp which cools the liquid on the mouth and coats the entire pallet with liquid droplets for full flavor (like when cupping), the mouth is relaxed and the drink flows out so no need to pucker up and suck on a sippy cup, no “geyser squirt” on your sleeve, and with espresso based drinks you can feel the foam as it flows out integrated with the milk and espresso. Plus, it is made from a flexible plastic that resists splitting and can stretch to fit most brands of cups with a satisfying “snap on” pop with just one hand.

Who came up with idea for FoamAroma?

I experienced my first latte in October 2007. I drank it in the shop from an open cup and it was amazing. The next day I went back to the same shop and ordered the same drink, but I had to take it to-go. I was so excited to have that experience again, yet so frustrated with how the lid with a small hole did not allow me to fully enjoy my coffee. The experience in the shop with a cup was so vastly different than that on the go through a lid. This epiphany prompted me to design a lid that allows the consumer to fully enjoy the coffee experience while on the go as if drinking from an open cup. If I have the time I always choose to relax in the shop to fully take in all that the drink and environment have to offer. But, when I need to take the drink to-go I still want all of my senses to get involved which gives me a better coffee experience and allows me to connect with the coffee. Aroma is the King of the senses.

A comparison of lids. (FoamAroma)
A comparison of lids. (FoamAroma)

Where is it most popular?

Good question. At the moment we are about evenly split between USA and England. Partly from the great work my London based distributor is doing (Progressive Supplies, Ltd.) and partly because Europe is relatively new to the take-away drinks so they are open to new ideas. The tea drinkers also really like FoamAroma. FoamAroma is MADE IN USA which is a positive in both locations. We have a 7 location shop in Holland that loves FoamAroma and interest from Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

There are regional variations of the plastic lid in the US. Do you find your lid popularizing in different regions?

We have more sales in the middle and Eastern states at this moment primarily because there are more coffee focused distributors carrying FoamAroma in these parts of the country. FoamAroma is also available through an online distributor. Our focus now is to bring awareness to the shops that even though they work very hard to provide the best product possible for the customers that drink in the shop, many of their customers drink on the go. I am not aware of any shop that has asked their customers, “So, how do you like the drinking experience you get with our lid?” All I do is ask the baristas and shop owners to do a taste test comparing their current lid to FoamAroma. I love to watch that “Ah Ha” moment when they first try FoamAroma. Then the task is to get FoamAroma into distribution that makes it easy for the shops to buy.

A fan. (FoamAroma)
A fan. (FoamAroma)

What’s next?

1. Continue talking about the to-go drink experience and how to improve it.

2. Partner with a cup manufacturer or brand my own cup.

3. I am currently developing a device that snaps into both holes in FoamAroma to maintain the heat for as long as possible. Production should be early 2014.

4. Sales, Sales, Sales.

You can learn more about the FoamAroma by visiting FoamAroma.com