Kat, who lives above the general store, has a dog named Lego, and works for Analog building wheels and packing boxes and prepping frames, has a thing for soup. Baths and soup. Don’t ask me, I don’t know. But the thing is, if you talk to her for more than 15 minutes, one of the two will come up. Or both. She likes saying the word soup, and says it with a sort of enunciated gusto. I can’t replicate in text, so just call her and ask her to talk about soup, and you will see what I mean. When Kat saw the Kupilka big cup, which is halfway between a big cup and a small bowl, she was naturally excited. Here was a vessel that could contain both Stewart’s coffee AND soup, all in the same day.
Interesting side note: we’ve been to Taps (only evening restaurant open after 6 in town, thankfully tasty) with Kat a fair amount. I have never seen her order soup. She asks about it, what’s the soup of the day, etc, but never follows through. So it makes one wonder, what soup is she after? I am a firm believer that if someone clearly wants you to ask them something, you should never ask them about it. Like if someone gets a symbolic tattoo, I go out my way to never ask what it’s symbolic of. Or if someone says, oh I can’t wear Levis, or I never swim in rivers, I never ask the obvious question. Sometimes I’ll respond with something absurd, like oh, I can’t wear chain mail, or I never swim in seas south of Tierra Del Fuego.
Back to this cup bowl thing. The eco police than me (and I’m econuts enough to live in a tent and insist that steel bikes are the only ecological choice) told me to build out camping etc offerings with NO TITANIUM. Titanium isn’t the teflon of the camping world, because the camping world uses plenty of teflon. Heard of DWR or Gortex? Both made from teflon. Don’t know what’s bad about teflon? Look up ‘New Yorker teflon’ and read the first hit. Sure, certain things are teflon unavoidable currently, like cable housing, or sil-nylon tents. The thing is, if there are two items, and one is not made with titanium or teflon, but works well, get that one. Titanium is mined in a horrific way, almost ways in places where the people living there have little or no way to say "no" to the mining. IE the number one place titanium is mined is in Australia, in lands occupied by the Aboriginal people. It’s strip mined from their wetlands, which can never be repaired, because the way wetland strip mining works is that the earth is dug up and spit back out in such a way that it’s just a muddy mire, not a wetland. It goes from being a fragile, amazing ecosystem to a quagmire. It would be one thing (still bad but better) if titanium came out of the wetland in big chunks, like iron comes out. But there are no veins of Titanium. It comes out in tiny specks in huge swaths of wetland. Imagine your entire house being filled with wetland biomass, and the thing the miners want is your favorite coffee cup. That’s how Titanium is mined. If you like the outdoors, you should automatically be titanium adverse.
I bring this up because Ti is seductive. I think Ti cups are beautiful. But the thing is, they’re beautiful like a conflict diamond is beautiful. And we need to see that before we pull the trigger on a purchase.
What’s the alternative? Well for mugs and cups and bowls and sporks, the alternatives are aluminum, steel and wood. Kupilka products fall into the latter envelope. They make engineered wood products for camping in a zero emissions facility in Finland. Here’s the nutshell, engineered wood fibers, wood glue of some sort, net result: fully compostable or burnable products that use renewable sources (trees) as their raw material. Unlike every metal cup or bowl out there, Kupilka stuff doesn’t get hot to the touch, even if filled with boiling whatever. It’s light, but not Ti light. More like stainless steel light. When people pick these bowls up, they say, "wow, that’s light!" so you know it’s light.
Big enough for a big cup of soup, or a large latte. Small enough that you could drink herbal tea out of it and no one would think you are secretly drinking a beer.
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