Visitors earlier this month to Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS – festival showcasing European music, ed.) who ordered a coffee-to-go could expect a delicious alternative to standard carton cups. Cupbite was at the 34th edition of the festival in January with their cookie-based coffee cups.

ESNS 2020 was the second festival where founders Vladislav Mazur and Anastasia Chorna put their edible coffee cups to the test. In 2019 they attended the Sustainable Week in Utrecht. Cupbite is part of Climate-KIC, a start-up accelerator from the European Commission aimed at stimulating sustainable business activities.

Vladislav talks about how Cupbite came into being.

How did you come up with the idea for Cupbite?

Coffee is the best-selling product in the world and is increasingly being consumed on the go. The carton cups end up in the garbage bin, we think that’s a waste. That’s how we came up with the idea to design edible cups. Our edible cups are delicious and offer a zero-waste alternative. Even if you don’t feel like eating the cookie and just want to throw it away, it’s much more of a sustainable solution than a paper coffee cup. A cookie won’t end up in landfill. Plus the ingredients, such as flour and sugar, don’t take as long to recycle like the 30 years a tree needs to grow in order to make a paper coffee cup.

How are the reactions from customers?

In general, people respond positively, but are for the most part a bit surprised. They often find it hard to believe that the coffee cup is completely edible and tend to check to make sure that there really isn’t any plastic inside. Our product is a brand new experience: people first have to try it before they believe it.

What has been the biggest obstacle that you have faced?

We had the idea, but it proved to be more difficult to implement than we expected. We ended up making a lot of botched cups before we found the perfect recipe. The most important criteria, of course, is that the cookie shouldn’t melt, no matter how hot the coffee is. We are constantly improving our recipe. We’re in Groningen at the moment with the second generation of our Cupbites. Our third generation coffee cups will be released over the course of this year.

Where will Cupbite be in five years’ time?

In five years’ time, we will be a major supplier of sustainable, edible coffee cups and we will have customers all over Europe. After that, we will also focus on countries beyond Europe. Hopefully people will then gradually forget all about paper coffee cups.

Would you like to read more about start-ups? You can find all of the articles in our series here.