The cultural and environmental philosophy of your coffee cup.

O.K. so maybe the title is a bit on the heavy side, but I’ve always noticed a few interesting things regarding my coffee cup, more so now with climate change being on everyone’s mindset these days.

My coffee cup

It’s like this – I’ve always found owning a coffee cup, a great way to meet new people, or strike up conversations from people you don’t know. It’s almost like it s an emblem of your character. As if the type of cup you use can offer insight into the sort of personality you are.

Or maybe not…

For example, look at mine above. Pretty much half the time I’m in a coffee line up, a stranger (male and female) will comment about my coffee cup. Usually, a “that’s a cool cup” type of comment, or “that’s cute cup.” Which is kind of strange to me, because I don’t find it necessarily “cool” or “cute.” I mean, is the cup that unique? Or is coffee cup commentary a common occurence?

I’ve also noticed that this trend of openness from strangers is even more prominent these days, and that this is presumably because my being environmentally friendly is part of that character assessment.

So, let’s see… Yes, I’m am environmentally conscious, so that works. I’ve even had this mug for over 5 years now, so I’m well in the clear for the number of uses needed for a stainless steel mug (which happens to be quite energy intensive in its production) to be more environmentally sound than the disposable cup scenario (I recall some academic telling me a goal of about 400 uses is required).

I’m a big science geek, so maybe the steel look is reflective of that. And I’m also someone who appreciates clean aesthetics, so that also works from a design perspective. I was once voted “coolest geek” from my colleagues, so even if I don’t fit the “cute” label, maybe the “cool” label works in some contexts.

Anyway, all of this makes me curious about a couple of things. And hopefully, this will allow us to start a UBC centric meme generally . That is:

1. Can you show us your coffee cup in your own blog? Or tell us about it here in the comments.

2. Can you say a few things about it? Do you think it reflects on your personality?

3. Do you have any interesting anecdotes resulting from coffee cup commentary?

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at