(NOTE: See update on my FoFoCup story below!)
I just bought a new reusable coffee cup. It’s a very special cup. Partly because I bought it at an art gallery for the bargain price of $10. But mostly because it folds flat and can be stored in a cute little pouch in your pocket. It’s the Fold n Fold FoFoCup!
I hadn’t planned to buy anything when I checked out the industrial design exhibit at the Artisphere the other day. I was really just taking the long way back from the bathroom during our weekly writing meetup. On my way out of the exhibit, I noticed a sign by the information desk that said there was something for sale. So I asked the guy at the counter whether they were selling the pieces in the show.
“No,” he said. “There’s a little gift shop here.” He directed me to a shelf around the corner.
Thanks, I said, but I was just curious. He assured me that the cheapest thing was $10. I perused it out of politeness.
Instantly I saw it. “Is that a folding coffee cup?” It was, he told me, and it was their most affordable item. I bought it immediately.
[Click "read more" to see the rest of the story, my review, and the happy ending!]
I brought my plunder back to my writing buddies and showed them my new cup, in all its collapsible glory. They were impressed when I collapsed it flat and when I opened it up again. Suddenly I wasn’t so impressed. “Oh,” I said.
“It has a hole in it, doesn’t it?” asked my buddy next to me.
I sighed. It did. I went back to exchange it.
“That’s weird,” said the guy who sold it to me. “It’s supposed to last over 10,000 uses.”
I laughed. Then I realized he was serious.
I didn’t collapse my new cup that night. I waited till the next morning. My mom had come over and I showed it to her, telling her what it does.
“Can I see?” she asked.
“Let me get the instructions.” She laughed at me while I ran upstairs for them. I had reviewed them the night before. They explained that the cup can last over 10,000 folds if folded and unfolded correctly. They even have a YouTube channel with instructional videos. I watched them.
As it turns out, there really is an art to folding and unfolding the FoFoCup. This thing is origami in polypropylene (and BPA-free, by the way!). Now that I know how the thing works, I feel bad about the first one. I don’t know if it was me or some previous user who broke it, but this thing comes with an instruction manual for a reason.
Still, I don’t expect to use it 10,000 times. Maybe a few dozen. But if it really lasts 10,000 uses? Best $10 I ever spent!
Fold n Fold is a small Taiwanese company with the endearing tagline, “engreeneering” (emphasis mine). Their goal is to save the world by reducing packaging and minimizing landfill waste. One of their upcoming products is a retractable, reusable, self-assembling chopstick with the unfortunate name ChopSDick. I kind of want to Hug n Hug them, in a completely platonic way that has nothing to do with the whole chopstick debacle.
The FoFoCup can be purchased for $10 at the Artisphere in Arlington, VA as part of the gift shop for The Next Wave: Industrial Design Innovation in the 21st Century, which runs until May 19, 2013. You might also be able to buy one here, depending on your foreign language skills and what countries the retailer ships to.
UPDATE: (June 18, 2014) Fold n Fold read this review and sent me a new FoFoCup! Apparently they have fixed some problems with the manufacturing process and the durability of the cups has improved. They say that the cup really can be folded 10,000 times! My new cup is working just fine. Yay!