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Unravel Coffee: Jar Return Program

Unravel Coffee Glass Jar Program

Since day one, we have not served a single paper cup. People often ask us what the deal is with the glass jars? To really understand the glass jar, though, we first have to take a look at the paper cup.

For better or worse, a paper cup with a plastic lid has become a symbol of coffee for many of us. From the infamous Greek-themed “Anthora” to the newsworthy Starbucks holiday cup, we have all become accustomed to getting our coffee in a paper cup. Even when sitting and enjoying your drink in the shop, many times your drink is still served in a paper cup. But why? Cost and convenience, that’s why. And how many times have those two things led to outcomes that were ultimately better for us? Hm… 

Let’s take a quick look at the impact of the simple, single-use paper cup.

  • Americans discard 58 billion coffee cups per year, enough to fill New York’s Central Park 90 feet high.
  • That single use coffee cup (that you have used for around 15 minutes) will outlast your time on earth (most likely in a landfill).
  • Only 1 per 400 cups gets recycled and the production of one single use coffee cup sends about a quarter pound of CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Consumer waste has increased more than tenfold over the 20th century, from around 90 pounds to well over 1200 pounds of waste per person, per year.
  • The majority of paper coffee cups use a polyurethane liner which prevents them from being properly composted or even recycled.

Now what’s the real cost of a paper cup? 

With glass jars, we at least have a fighting chance that the vessel will be used again so we encourage our guests to bring them back. We collect them, sanitize them, and serve them again. This was a huge hit and the popularity has grown as several other coffee shops are now adopting this regimen. We would love to take credit but a great friend of ours, Zayde Naquib of Bar Nine Coffee in Culver City, CA started this about 6 years ago. 

When we opened in 2019, we were shocked that not a single cafe had followed Zayde’s lead. We made it a point to be the second and to spread this sustainable practice. We do it because it is the right thing to do. We feel the need to change our bad habits in a society that has become so comfortable with the disposable.

Why glass?

  • Purity of taste: there’s a reason wine and spirits are stored and served in glass.
  • Glass is made from naturally abundant materials – primarily sand – and can be 100% recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity. 
  • An estimated 80% of all glass containers recovered for recycling are re-melted in furnaces and used to manufacture new glass containers.  
  • Glass container manufacturers hope to achieve 50 percent recycled content in the manufacture of new glass bottles. This achievement would save enough energy to power 21,978 homes for one year and while removing over 181 tons of waste from landfills monthly.

Spending time on coffee farms made us realize the importance of sustainable practices. After all of the effort to create a sustainable growing and social environment at the farm level, we couldn’t imagine not continuing that at the market level, so we decided to use a glass jar program for takeaway beverages.

Your first takeaway experience at Unravel Coffee. 

  • Upon ordering, you will be asked if your order is for dine-in or takeaway.
  • If dining in, great. We love that you’ve chosen a bit of time out of your day for escapism through an upgraded taste experience.
  • If takeaway, we will serve you a 12oz glass jar for warm drinks or a 16oz glass jar for iced drinks. For hot drinks like brewed coffee or tea, your 12oz jar will be wrapped with a linen-like napkin for safe handling and consumption.
  • We do not charge extra for a glass jar, but we would highly encourage you to please bring them back so that we can continue to stay sustainable. 
  • If you absolutely cannot bring the jar back, we then hope that you can find a way to reuse it in your daily life. They make great glassware (obviously) but can be used for storage, decoration, or even the start of a succulent garden.

Jar Exchange

Upon each visit, please bring your washed jar/lid and place it in one of our return stations. We properly sanitize each returned jar and will serve you a fresh one. If your jar is moldy or not acceptably clean, we will not be able to reuse it.

Order Online

All orders placed online at toasttab.com/unravelcoffee. Your drink will be prepared within your scheduled pick up time.


If you already have a handful of Unravel Jars taking up space in your pantry, bring them back for a drink credit! From February 8-12 bring 5-9 jars back for $1 off your drink and 10+ jars for a $5 drink credit.


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