U.S. News

New Cup Lid is Hot and Cool

By Linda R. Sittenfeld, Senior Producer

Is there anyone out there who has not burned their tongue on a hot cup of coffee ? It's just part of life, right? Well, life as we know it is about to change.

The "smart lid," a new innovation from some forward-thinking Australian coffee drinkers, turns bright red when the coffee is hot and slowly returns to coffee bean brown as the coffee cools.

Nick Bayss, Managing Director of Smart Lid Systems in Sydney, answers some questions about the new lid.

How did you get this idea ? Isn't burning your tongue on hot coffee just part of life?
I've grown up in coffee shops. I used to see people burning their tongues, spilling. I thought, there must be a better way. My brother, my father and I started this. We got a few investors

on board to raise money for testing and patents

So what's your innovation?
It's a disposable coffee cup lid with an additive in the plastic that reacts to heat. We can set it at any temperature - now it's at 45 C, 113 F. We don't want it too high; it has to change color at a fairly low temperature. And the environment is an issue too; it can't be triggered by hot summer air. Also, if the ring around the lid isn't a uniform color, the lid isn't on correctly, so that prevents spills.

Are the Lids readily avaliable?
They will be soon. Right now we're only available in Australia. We did a lot of testing with the largest lid-maker in Australia, so they've got the rights for Australia and New Zealand. But we've got an office set up in Hong Kong to start mass production. And we're taking orders from the U.S. and Europe and Canada.

Who are your clients ? Are you doing business with the big boys?
It's all wholesale. We don't deal with cafes. Right now we're in negotiations with about 40 different packaging distrubutors. We've had some preliminary talks with Starbucks. But not yet with the huge players - like McDonalds.

Do the colors have to be red and brown?
Right now we're doing red and brown, but we could do corporate colors. We could do red to yellow for McDonalds, or black to green for Starbucks. We can also print on top of the lids. It could a great branding exercise for a client.