Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Now Shipping: Container Coffeehouses

Photo by KUT News

The La Boite shipping container-cum-coffeehouse in South Austin.

Would you like a manifest with your soy latte? Starbucks is getting into the coffeehouse-inside-a-shipping-container game, the New York Times reports, with plans to open a store in Seattle constructed out of four used shipping containers.

But for Texas, shipping container coffehouses aren’t an innovation. There are two in Austin, one of them just steps from the Texas capital.  La Boite (french for “The Box”) is the company behind the twenty foot-long coffee-tainers, which were designed and built by the firm designSTUDIOmodern. “The concept was borne from the desire to re-use existing materials and to provide a clean, functional space,” La Boite says on their website

Shipping containers are a darling of the “up-cycling” world, the Times reports, because there are millions of them laying around the U.S. (because of the trade imbalance with China) and they are “perfect modular building blocks for construction.”

The same company that built the coffeehouses for La Boite was behind another shipping container food trailer, more diminutive in size. It started off as a sushi restaurant (“sushibox”) but is now an outpost of Snap! Kitchen, a healthy prepared foods company.

Here’s a video on the design company that built the trailers from Austin’s KVUE News:

Another shipping container project in Austin is in the works, a four-container bar in the popular nightlife neighborhood of Rainey Street. It’s called, appropriately enough, Container Bar, and is set to open in January. It will feature “full-service bars, outdoor and indoor seating, eco-friendly LED lighting, a dramatic 30-foot entry and a retractable canopy,” according to the Austin arts & living site CultureMap.

And there are plenty of homes out there made of shipping containers, enough for a slideshow of “50 Incredible Homes Made of Re-purposed Shipping Containers.” There’s a home in Houston made out of four containers from nearby ports. And the same company behind La Boite is currently at work on four shipping container residential projects in Austin. Perhaps we’ll see more coffehouses, bars and homes built out of the old containers in the future. Maybe even a pool.


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