ABOUT TERRA KERAMIK
The Champions’ Cup
Potter Felix Vogler first developed his most popular export item more than eight years ago. Ever since, he has produced more than 3,000 cappuccino and espresso cups annually. The cups are shipped to places as remote as the U.S. and Australia. Buyers include the world’s best coffee artists.
When David Makin is out for winning a competition, he relies on cups made by Felix Vogler, a potter based in Winterthur, Switzerland. David is an Australian barista who takes part in trade competitions. Three years ago, he won the Australian championship and later finished a runner-up in the World Championship at Copenhagen. The Australian is one of many coffee artists from around the world who work with cups Felix has been making in his Winterthur workshop for many years.
Anyone entering Terra Keramik, Felix’s store in Obergasse, Winterthur, finds it difficult to believe that machines are used for pottery in the adjacent room. The store’s ambience is extravagant; the shelves display colourful cups, dishes, bowls and fondue pots from Felix’s collection. Felix knows how to do business and cares a lot about appealing presentation. “The way you present your offer makes much of a difference.” In 27 years of business activity, he has realised it was better not to make too many different items. “I would only be confusing my customers otherwise.” This is why he prefers to focus on a small selection of tried and tested pieces today.
Once a year, Felix has five tonnes of clay delivered to him from Germany as supplies for production. It is a special type of clay that can be fired at lower temperatures. “This is my contribution to energy efficiency,” Felix says. Just over 1,000 degrees is enough, while he used to push the furnace temperature up to 1,250 degrees earlier on. The material patiently awaits use in his workshop until the potter or one of his staff loosens it up, brings it into the right shape mechanically, dips it into the glaze, and fires it. As some manual work has been replaced by machine intervention.
“All of us are capable of doing any work required,” says Felix. His business must keep going when he goes on a holiday, such as last spring when he went hiking on St. James’s Path in Spain. But, of course, Felix bears responsibility for the design of all his items.
Felix likes to think of himself as both an entrepreneur and a designer who has developed a marketable product. An Australian barista and friend of his thinks he is a real artist, and recently sent him a thank-you e-mail saying, “These are the cups the Lord would most likely choose for Himself.”