The original two iterations of the Rocket Cup were both 3D printed in ceramic by Shapeways (the second iteration was a mild adjustment to the first, based on feedback from Shapeways). As far as I know, Shapeways contracted out its ceramic 3D printing to Figulo, a small company in Boston. Because of the cup’s success, I ended up interacting a bit with Andy Jeffery, president of Figulo; they occasionally wanted to use images or physical models of the cup for promotional purposes.
In January I saw Figulo, Andy, and the cup in the news coming out of CES. It seemed that 3D Systems had announced a new line of printers, including a small ceramic one. Digging further, I discovered that 3D Systems had acquired Figulo, making Andy their Director of Ceramic Products. Way to go Andy! I’m very excited to see what happens with ceramics at 3D Systems.
This news prompted me to contact Andy about an earlier dream of mine. Figulo had been experimenting with multicoloured glazing of their ceramic prints, and I mentioned that my original vision was of a white rocket cup with red fins. At the time, he told me he would consider making a few. When I emailed him at the end of January, he said he already had them sitting around. I sent him my address and was thrilled when these showed up a couple of days later.
The fins aren’t quite the candy-apple red one might want from an archetypal cartoon rocket, but the cups are still absolutely beautiful.
Of course, I had to incorporate these newly arrived cups into the World Tour. With a red-finned cup in hand, I paid a first visit to a new London espresso bar, one that had just turned up on my radar via the app. It was hard to resist trying out Mother’s Milk for two main reasons. First, the app’s description of the place was positively hyperbolic, painting the shop as the final culmination of the history of Oxford Circus (this in contrast to the tagline on their website: “serving alright espresso in an already saturated market”). Second, they were apparently using a lever espresso maker, and I hadn’t seen one around London yet.
This is a new business, run by two baristas who (as far as I know) both still work at other shops around town. It’s exceedingly coffee-obsessed, and may be unique in using beans from JB Kaffee, a roaster in Schwabhausen outside of Munich. The lever espresso machine is as beautiful as I had hoped, and made an excellent shot.
I had a great visit and chatted for quite a while with the barista, but this isn’t a great spot for the laptop crowd (i.e., me) — there are no tables and limited bar-like seating. You’d probably want to swing through and grab a quick drink on the go. And while the espresso was delicious it was also £3, making it one of the more expensive shots in town. Still, I enjoyed my time there and I can only hope that they will blend in with the saturated market, and not precipitate out.