By Rachel Ella Taylor

27 September 2023 - 14:17

A group photo of around thirty workshop participants of various ages and genders posing happily for the camera, with some holding up their black-and-white artworks of floral motives. Text on the back wall says “Indonesia Specialty Coffee”. ©

Doc. by Dewa Juliana.

Rachel Ella Taylor (UK) worked with Bell Society (ID) and Anomali Coffee to create workshops and art installations made from organic and plastic coffee waste materials in an innovative circular economy project.

Coffee Shop Culture was a circular economy project that I conceived as a way to challenge myself and my collaborator, Bell Society, to encourage participants from Indonesia to make beautiful works out of waste products from the coffee industry. Our shared values on sustainability made our vision clear and simple: to revolutionise coffee production and produce innovative and beautiful items from its waste products by blending artistry, craftsmanship, community, and sustainability.

Bell Society and I co-created art installations with local residents, made from 100% organic and plastic coffee waste materials. The artworks utilised a combination of my Eco-foil (made from reformed single use plastic and metal coffee packaging) and Bell Society’s vegan coffee leather M-Tex (made from organic coffee waste).

The materials were also produced with minimal impact on the planet. Bell Society sun-dried their M-Tex sheets while I hand-processed and hand-cut every element of my artwork. 

Celebrating unity and sustainability

Leading coffee chain Anomali Coffee provided coffee ground waste for Bell Society’s M-Tex. Incidentally, they were also generous enough to partner with us to host the workshops and installations.

For the workshops, I had prepared panels and botanical designs beforehand for the participants to work with. The panels would later contribute to the final installation via hand-crafted layering techniques.

Participants signing up to co-create the artworks ranged from the general public to material technologists, students, scientists, architects, and coffee shop regulars. They utilised Eco-foil and M-Tex and let their creativity flow as they worked together as a design team to screen print, cut, sew, staple, and affix individual coffee leaves and flowers.

“We witnessed the culmination of our collaboration as the coffee grounds from our coffee shops were transformed into coffee leather and brought to life in the breath-taking installations,” says Irvan Helmi, CEO of Anomali Coffee. “These installations captured the essence of our coffee heritage and celebrated unity and sustainability.”

Paying homage to Balinese culture

Bali’s vibrant ecology and deep commitment to environmental preservation served as the perfect backdrop for our collaboration. As a vibrant cacophony of nature and culture, Bali is the perfect setting to ignite conversation about the harmonious coexistence of humans and the rest of our planet.

I wanted the artwork to pay homage to Balinese heritage, culture, and craftsmanship. The entire artwork was assembled woven together using staples and hand stitching, techniques selected as a nod to Balinese tradition such as the making of Lontar leaf-woven Canang Sari (daily Balinese Hindu offerings on small leaf baskets one sees adorning the streets, entrances to temples, homes, businesses, and car dashboards across the island).

A close up photo of Rachel Ella Taylor’s hands assembling pre-made elements of black-and-white floral and botanical motives for the artworks. ©

Doc. by Rachel Ella Taylor.

 Two pairs of hands of workshop participants co-creating the artworks from the aforementioned black-and-white floral and botanical pre-made elements. ©

Doc. by Rachel Ella Taylor.

Four workshop participants huddled over a long table co-creating an artwork from the aforementioned black-and-white floral and botanical pre-made elements. Behind them, six more workshop participants are visible, three of which are working on their own artwork. ©

Doc. by Rachel Ella Taylor.

The Coffee Shop Culture team sitting in front of one of the installations at Anomali Coffee. From left to right; Irvan Helmi (CEO of Anomali), Semeru (Bell Society), Rachel Ella Taylor, and Arka Irfani (Bell Society). ©

Doc. by Dewa Juliana.

The fusion of creativity and environmental consciousness

Coffee Shop Culture showcases how—with a bit of care, science, creativity, and teamwork—we can transform trash into treasure.

“Together, we created the narrative of ‘coffee culture collective art,’ weaving together the essence of coffee culture with our dedication to sustainability. [Anomali Coffee Ubud] became a focal point, a melting pot of ideas, where the fusion of creativity and environmental consciousness flourished,” says Irvan Helmi.

“This project goes beyond art—it is a statement of our shared commitment to creating a better world, one sip at a time.”