Q&A Session 6: Jurrien from Stojo
Ever since Ashley from The Little Black Coffee Cup started promoting the use of reusable cups (aka Bring Your Own Mug or #BYOM) I have made efforts to never accept a paper cup in a coffee shop. Carrying reusable cups around is a pain though; they’re heavy, bulky and easy to break. Enter Stojo, the collapsible cup that fits in your pocket, can be resized to fit different drinks and comes in a load of funky colours. We got given a freebie from the fine folks at Ecoalize so we reached out to Jurrien, the co-founder of Stojo, for a Q&A.
Who are you and where are you from?
Jurrien Swarts. Co-Founder of Stojo. We make collapsible, leak-proof, reusable coffee cups. I’m originally from Vermont but have been living in NYC/Brooklyn for 15 years.
We love your Stojo cups, give us a quick rundown on what they are.
Stojo Pocket Cups are the world’s first ultra-portable, leak-proof, collapsible reusable coffee cups. Ever feel slightly bad about all those disposable cups you use, but would never consider carrying a bulky travel mug around? Me too. That’s why we came up with Stojo.
Ladies and gentlemen meet Samuel the Stojo! This little rascal is a fully collapsible and very portable coffee cup that can be adjusted depending on the size of your drink. One of the things I always found difficult with the bring your own mug movement was lugging around a bulky receptacle. Well this can fit 12oz and fit in your pocket! #byom game changer. To get yours head over to @ecoalize_ who are a great new startup in Vancouver specialising in sustainable products. Tell them I sent you! You won’t get anything free but it’ll make me feel warm and fuzzy for helping a local business! #VancouverCoffeeSnob
Without giving away your secret recipe, tell us a little about some of the technology that goes into making the Stojo Cup.
Ha ha! It’s patented, so no worries about that. The beauty of the Stojo is it’s simplicity and minimalist form factor. It is made up of the lid, cup, stopper and heat sleeve. The parts fit together without adhesives, making it really easy to disassemble and wash (dishwasher safe!). The technology lies in the collapsibility. We’re to only product that collapses from over 5″ to below 2″. Everything else on the market that claims to be “collapsible” is thicker.
One of our favorite things to do when people inevitably ask us about the cup is to slam it down on the table to collapse it for travel. Have you found any other fun things to do with the cup? Small dog frisbee? Ice Hockey Puck when the NY Rangers want to beat the Canucks?
I’m a Bruins fan, so I really don’t appreciate your Rangers reference… but it is true that Stojos make awesome pucks in a pinch. Other uses for the cup? Make oatmeal, scrambled eggs or ramen using the office microwave. I’ve heard that they can also be used to smuggle really small people across impenetrable border walls.
Are you planning any other Stojo technology devices in the future? (Sign us up for a Stojo Tent!)
Yes, we ultimately see this company as a brand focused on designing/inventing sustainable reusable consumer products that either reduce waste and/or save space and that make living sustainably simple, convenient and fun. Areas we’ll focus on include food and beverage containers and storage or organizational devices. You could see our products in the kitchen, on the commute, in the gym, hiking, skiing, boating, in the garage. The most obvious waste generators are water bottles, coffee cups and plastic bags. Those toss away items are literally polluting ecosystems and putting a needless strain on municipal infrastructure.
As we scale, we will ensure that our products are made of recycled materials, provide ways for our customers to recycle our products, and lead the charge to adopt or even develop best in class sustainability and social responsibility practices.
Tell us about a cup of coffee you’ve had that blew your mind.
Gosh. I’m going to digress for a moment here. I need to acknowledge how intimidated I get when industry people ask me about my coffee preferences… And all you coffee snobs will laugh at this (or roll your eyes), but even though I drink between 3-6 cups of coffee daily, I’m a simple man and do not have an incredibly well developed palate when it comes to coffee. I always take my coffee with cream or whole milk, no sugar. I’ll add a drop or two of Vermont maple syrup when I’m feeling saucy. I tend toward milder roasts and don’t like my coffee to be acidic.
For me, coffee is less about the taste and almost all about the ritual. I enjoy the tranquility that comes to me for the few minutes I spend grabbing a cup of joe. No trivial thing when you’re a father of two running a startup!
Back to your question. I was vacationing in Norway this summer with my wife Diana and our 2-year old son. We rented a camper and were touring the fjords, glaciers and mountains. As we drove through Norway’s highest mountain range (still lots of snow everywhere), we passed a little glacial pond with a mini iceberg in it. I had never seen an iceberg in real life before and naturally decided I had to swim out and climb onto it. After a 10 minute dash across a boulder strewn tundra, I reached the water’s edge near the iceberg, stripped down to my viking suit (fully monty) and dove in. Holy cr*p! Coldest water I’ve ever been in. I could barely breath and my gonads felt as if they’d retreated up into my stomach. With a few quick strokes I got to the iceberg, climbed up, did a very brief victory pose for photo opps, swam back, got dressed and hopped into the camper to warm up. I shivered for the next hour until we got to camp. I brewed up a pot of some italian dark roast I can’t remember the name of and drank the hell out of it! Best cup of coffee in 2016 hands down.
You’re based in New York – do you recommend any coffee shops to the travelling vancouvercoffeesnob.com readers?
Oh my there are so many! First I’m going to give a shout out to my favorite neighborhood cafe, The Annex in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. They were the first cafe to carry and sell Stojos in NYC. The staff and vibe of the place is beyond excellent, and they make this breakfast sandwich with thick, cut maple cured bacon that is to die for. I can’t even begin to describe it.
There’s a small chain of Swedish espresso bars called Konditori with Brooklyn locations in Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Greenpoint. They have a nice Scandinavian vibe and cardamom cookies, which if you’ve never had before, you should.
Then there are a number of indie places in Soho that I like, Joe & the Juice has a cooler than me vibe, Cafe Integral is an espresso bar in a clothing boutique and gift store.
My all time favorite is called Cafe Orlin. It’s got French/Israeli/Lebanese food, serves wine and is located on St. Marks off 2nd Avenue, right in the heart of the East village. Sit in to study, or outside to people watch. Place used to be open until really late. Food is amazing.
Do you have any events you’ll be attending soon that you’d like our readers to say hello to you at?
Not really. Don’t get me wrong, would love to meet any of your readers! But as a startup we don’t have a huge marketing budget and won’t be spending money on events this year. We attended a bunch of shows and events last year without seeing a huge return on investment. We’re going to focus on product development, building our brand via social media, emails and blogging in 2017, and improving customer experience and lifetime value.
What is your favorite sweet snack to eat with coffee?
If you could pick one person dead or alive, real or fictional, to have coffee with, who would it be and why?
Jesus. I have a lot of questions for him.
Thanks to Jurrien for taking the time to chat to us. If you want to buy yourself a Stojo Cup you can do so here.