Look, Ask Learn BioArt Coffee Compost Project Meredith, Vincent, Matt

1865 Coffee Shop

The shop has a typical coffee shop vibe in which individuals and groups work on projects while music plays in the background. The space is relatively large and empty feeling in comparison with the number of people there. There is a window into the kitchen in which all of the coffee and grilled cheese is made. The coffee shop has a Christian intonation to its decorations with a chalk bible quotes, religious music, and a wifi password “jesus_saves”.
One corner of the coffee shop is covered in decorations about London. The wall is confusing in comparison with the flow of the rest of the shop. On this wall also sits a large unused flat screen tv and cupboard. This wall could potentially be a great place for an installation.



1) “Would you use our installation if it was in your store?”

“We don’t produce that many coffee grounds but I believe that that’s something people would like”
2) “Do you think customers would like it? If so, then why do you think they would like it?”

“Taking something old and repurposing it, our store has a lot of that. We have biodegradable bowls so I know our customers would like it.”

3) “Would you like the installation? If so, why would you like it?

“I like it because it might inspire us to get a compost and recycle more”
1865 Coffee Shop
Questions asked to Shelby Baker, the manager of the store
1)What does your shop do with its coffee ground waste?

“We were saving it for a while and someone would use it in their garden, but it’s been a while since she’s moved so we do just throw it away. We’ve been wanting to do something better with it”
2) Do you have any idea about how much coffee waste you produce in a week and how it is stored before heading to the trash?

“I would say maybe 5-10lbs at least per week. When we toss it, we just throw it in the trash. We have our drip coffee grounds in the paper filters and espresso grounds that are pressed into a puck; both are just dumped in the trash bin. When we save them to give to people, we put them in an empty coffee bag that the beans were in.”
3) Would you be interested in using the coffee grounds for a piece of sustainable bioArt?

“Yes! That’s super cool!”




We went to a local coffee shop called “Chop Shop” and interviewed different employees about our coffee based art installation. I asked them the three questions stated in the ask category and, after getting their permission, recorded the data I gathered from the interviews.



1865 Coffee

Thoughtless acts: When drip coffee is made the beans and filter are thrown in the trash. When espresso is made, the puck of ground coffee is hit into the trash as well which is right next to the machine for convenience. A separate container could be put there on these grounds.
Opportunities: There is an opportunity to use the 5 pounds of waste grounds a week as a foundational compost for an installation. There is also a significant opportunity to continue the chalk theme and unify the other end of the store with an installation that utilizes the large tv and wall space occupied by miscellaneous London themed paraphernalia.

Thoughtless acts: Some of the employees were not willing to be interviewed. One person said he did not want to be interviewed, instead, he chose to focus on cleaning the store.Another employee was standing in the background and joined in the interview unexpected once she heard we were discussing compost. She appeared to be very passionate about the process of composting leftover food, which taught me that this project is something that people can become passionate within the first minute of a brief introduction.
Patterns: Every employee that I interviewed at the coffee shop agreed that they would enjoy the coffee compost art installation. Furthermore, 2 out of the 3 agreed that the customers would enjoy the coffee compost as well.

Opportunities: An employee at Chop Shop stated, “Taking something old and repurposing it, our store has a lot of that. We have biodegradable bowls so I know our customers would like it.” After hearing a second employee agree that this would be something that the customers would enjoy using, I learned that this installation could potentially be a very successful product if implemented at the right type of coffee shop. Coffee shops that already make it a habit to participate in economically friendly activities would likely be more accepting of the installation than a coffee shop that does not specialize in the same activities. For example, “Chop Shop” would enjoy and use this installation more than “Starbucks” would.


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