Lid Redesign Allows You To Smell Coffee In To-Go Cups


The Viora Lid enables users to enjoy the scent of their takeaway beverage as if they were drinking from a mug.

Vashti Hallissey
  • 27 june 2014

As any aficionado will tell you, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee can make you feel more alive before you’ve even taken a sip. Even if you’re hung-over and sleep deprived, the scent of coffee can make you feel like a fully functional human being again. But unfortunately, if you order a coffee to-go, you’re missing out on the aroma, as the standard lid traps the scent inside.

But now a new lid design promises to deliver best of worlds, by letting people experience the smell of their beverage and also protecting them from spilling it when they’re on the move.

“The last 50 years of lid designs helped one take their coffee or tea to go without spilling their drink all over the place – but all at the expense of what makes ones coffee or tea enjoyable: the aroma. And for Doug – being obsessed with great coffee – those old lids just weren’t good enough. He had to come up with a better design,” Vapor Path co-founder Barry Goffe told PSFK about fellow co-founder Doug Fleming.

The Seattle-based company Vapor Path has studied the science of taste to redesign the to-go lid.

“Aroma is an integral part – if not the most important part – of one’s experience of a cup of coffee or tea. In fact, the most current science suggests that about 75% of our experience of taste of coffee comes from our noses instead of our tongues. With a great cup of coffee, conventional lids rob you of most of what distinguishes that cup of coffee from a mediocre cup of coffee. With tea, aroma is even more important. Conventional lids rob you of nearly all of the taste of a cup of tea, and what’s left is hardly distinguishable from a scalding cup of hot water,” Barry told us.

The Viora Lid lets you appreciate the aroma and experience the three stages of taste. It has an opening below your nose which means you can breathe in the anticipatory aroma, the first stage. The second stage is when you sip the drink, your taste buds get to work and you can continue to enjoy the scent. The final stage is called retronasal smelling, which is when the aroma travels through the pharynx in the back of your mouth to the olfactory membrane. When you purse your lips to drink from a standard coffee cup, it closes your soft palate and blocks the pharynx. As the Viora Lid has a larger opening to drink from, your lips stay relaxed so that you can appreciate the full experience.

Another advantage of the larger opening is that it prevents you from burning your tongue.

“Previous lid designs force one to suck their coffee or tea through a straw-like opening or pour their drink through a spout. When one’s drink is fresh and hot, this almost always leads to a burned tongue or lip. Our lid has a raised rim – like a ceramic cup – that allows one to sip their beverage. We found early on that people dramatically preferred our design over the alternatives,” Barry explained.

The Vapor Path team seem to have thought of everything, as not only does their lid allows you to appreciate your drink’s aroma and avoid burning your tongue, it’s also less likely to spill. The opening is on the inside of the drink-over rim, rather than at the edge, so it keeps liquid inside the cup rather than jetting out. If liquid does spill, it falls back into the ‘drink well’ and drains back into your cup, rather than spurting all over your clothes.

The Viora Lid promises to revolutionise the coffee and tea drinking experience. It means that, for the first time, people who order a drink to-go will be able to appreciate 100% of its taste.

You can find out more about the Viora Lid in this video:

Viora Lid


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