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Posted on 5 September, 2018 in Updates, Tips & Tricks

Best reusable coffee cups

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If you’re an eco-warrior, you’ve probably done some research into the best reusable coffee cups. After all, there is nothing like that steaming cup of coffee to kickstart your morning. For many of us, a takeaway cup of coffee is part of our daily ritual. However, this habit is beginning to take its toll on the planet — single-use coffee cups are now one of the biggest contributors to litter and landfill.

According to a report from the ABC, about a billion disposable coffee cups go into Australia’s landfill (or are littered in public places) each year. While many people think these cups break down, most disposable coffee cups have plastic linings that do not biodegrade. This kind of plastic is at risk of ending up in places we don’t want it to be, like the ocean, where it can be swallowed by fish and other marine life.

In 2018, The Chaser’s War on Waste raised awareness about Australia’s destructive coffee cup addiction. People’s reactions generated a nationwide discussion about day-to-day sustainable practices. As a result of the documentary and the resulting pressure across social media, many people made the switch to reusable coffee cups. While remembering to take a reusable cup can take a while to get used to, it will eventually become second nature.

Many cafes and coffee outlets are rewarding consumers for bringing their reusable cup by offering a discount on the cost of takeaway hot beverages, including Mingara’s cafe, The Roasted Berry.

What makes a great reusable coffee cup?

If you’re on the lookout for the best reusable coffee cups, these are some of the materials you can choose from:

Stainless Steel Coffee Cups

Stainless steel coffee cups have a cool industrial look and are more durable than glass. Drop one of these cups and you have nothing to worry about (except maybe spilling your drink). If you get your hands on a double-walled cup, you will also get excellent heat retention.

Stainless steel coffee cups are easy to wash, are dishwasher friendly and don’t need careful handling. They are resistant to rust, stains, and corrosions, and work just as well with cold drinks as hot ones. Keep an eye out for stainless steel cups or water bottles which can be recycled so they stay out of landfill once they are too old to drink from.

Glass Coffee Cups

Glass coffee cups became a cafe trend several years ago but have now gone mobile. These types of coffee cups have a high capacity for heat retention so you can keep your hot drink at the right temperature for longer.

Another benefit of glass cups is that they are recyclable, making them an environmentally-friendly accessory.

Modern glass coffee cups are thick enough to be shock resistant, although you will have to be slightly more careful than you would with a stainless steel or plastic cup.

Plastic Reusable Coffee Cups

Plastic coffee cups are made from high-quality plastic, which makes them a cheaper choice than glass and steel. These vessels are light, easy to clean and can be washed in the dishwasher. The microwave is best avoided, however, especially for lids, which can distort from the heat.

Make sure your plastic reusable coffee cup has something to protect your hand from the heat as they will warm up very quickly once they have coffee inside. Those who aren’t fans of the plastic reusable cup claim they also lose heat quickly, and some say you can taste the difference when coffee is served in one but this is something you need to test for yourself.

The best reusable coffee cups 

When you invest in a reusable coffee cup, you want it to be one you are happy to use for a long time. To help you make your choice, here’s a list of some of the best reusable coffee cups in Australia. We’ve also noted their main selling points and some customer reviews.

KeepCup

KeepCup is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known brands of reusable coffee cup out there. They are a great design and are durable enough to toss in your bag and go.

Good points:

  • Available in your choice of colours
  • Replaceable parts
  • Easy to carry
  • Hard to break
  • Sealable lid
  • Drinking hole has cover
  • Available in plastic or glass
  • Choose from five sizes

“For keeps. An essential for any zero waster that also helps out an amazing group.”

“Great reusable cup. So happy with this cup, I no longer use any disposable coffee cup. Keeps coffee warm.”

Joco Cup

Joco has been selling cups since 2008 and, in partnership with Take 3 For the Sea, has helped remove over 45,000 pieces of plastic from the environment.

Good points:

  • Designed by baristas
  • Your choice of colours
  • Replaceable lids, cups, and bands
  • Odour-free glass (cup stays fresh for longer)
  • Flexible lid
  • Glass rim is good to drink from

“JOCO has a cyclonic base that pulls the sugar or any additive to your coffee to the centre when you stir, this contributes to a better tasting cup of coffee or tea, without any goo at the end.”

Photo with thanks to @Jococups Facebook

Frank Green

Frank Green‘s distinctive looking cups are bang on trend.

Thanks to Frank Green Official on YouTube for the video

Good points:

  • Popular designs and colours
  • Replaceable lids and bases
  • Very light
  • BPA-free
  • Comfortable and slender size cup, with a good grippy surface to carry around
  • Fits a bike bottle-holder

“The plastic that these cups are made of prevent the beverage from absorbing into the cup. I find that after a quick rinse all the tastes and smells are gone from the cup.”

Cheeki

Cheeki products are manufactured from Premium Food Grade stainless steel with no inside lining or toxic inks, and are BPA-Free.

Good points:

  • Very good heat retention
  • Replaceable lids
  • Sealable pop-up lid
  • Can drink from all sides
  • Hard-wearing steel

 “I am so confident that this mug won’t leak that I have even put it in my handbag.”

“I get my coffee at about 6.30am and I am still drinking hot and delicious coffee at 9.30am.”

Photo with thanks to @cheekistainlesssteel Facebook

Avanti

The Avanti Go Mug is a double wall porcelain coffee cup. It’s not vacuum insulated like its stainless steel counterparts, but there’s an air gap between the two and it’s sealed with a silicone plug on the bottom.

Good points:

  • A wide range of stylish patterns
  • Easy to clean
  • Does not retain odours
  • Hold anywhere without burning yourself

“The outside of the mug isn’t too hot to hold. Where mugs like KeepCup use a silicone band to prevent this, the double wall mug means you can hold it anywhere.

Photo thanks to Hello Green.

Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen insulated tumblers keep drinks hot up to 6 hours, so they are a good choice if you like to sip slowly.

Good points:

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Good for large hot drinks
  • Popular tapered design
  • Stable heavy base
  • Replaceable lid
  • Hard-wearing steel

“It keeps the coffee warm, is easy to clean, does not retain a smell, and is good for the planet! Win!”

Photo with thanks to @Kleankanteenau

SoL Cups

“Reducing waste, embracing taste…” SoL sells reusable kits which include a tote bag and water bottle and is very much about style, as you can see from the customer review below!

Good points:

  • Custom design your cup
  • Coloured silicone sleeves and lids
  • Comes with a waterproof pouch to keep your cup in after use

“I’ve bought myself two that I keep at my desk in the office for my morning coffee – who knows which colour will match what I’m wearing for the day?”

Photo thanks to @SolCups

Earth Bottles

Earth Bottles also partner with Clean Coast Collective to fund beach clean-ups around the globe. Their gift packs help support the planting of trees.

Good points:

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Durable
  • Features a faux-wooden design
  • Personalise your cup with name or initials (Coffee Nut Cup line)

“I like my coffee hot. Really hot. I order an extra hot latte and as soon as coffee starts going lukewarm, it kind of makes me want to puke…. Soooooo, the double walled stainless steel cups are THE BEST at retaining coffee heat, yay!”

Photo thanks to Earth Bottles

Ecosoulife

Ecosoulife is an environmentally conscious company on a mission to deliver guilt-free disposable and reusable alternatives to the plastic and foam. Their range includes cups made predominantly from rice husk fibre.

Good points:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Biodegradable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • BPA free

“Great reusable cup. So happy with this cup, I no longer use any disposable coffee cup. Keeps coffee warm.”

I love that it’s biodegradable but surprisingly strong! It makes it so much easier having a cup with a lid and a good-sized drinking spout.”

Thanks to @ecosoulifeR for the photo.

Claycup

Handmade Claycups are a stylish and sustainable solution to the coffee cup catastrophe.

Good points:

  • Environment-friendly
  • The lid is made of degradable silicon
  • Heat resistant cuff
  • Barista approved
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • No plastic aftertaste 

 “Legit a beautiful cup!!! I use it for tea/coffee/cold drink or water whatever u like. All material is plastic free and can be recycled or reuse! Just a reminder that it didn’t come with a lid, so buy a lid with it.”

Thanks to @claycupsrevolution for the photo

Lid designs

Since we’re taking a detailed look at the best reusable coffee cups, lids are another factor to keep in mind.

Here’s a quick rundown of seven lids reviews:

  1. Hydro Flask Coffee, Cotswold Outdoor – Solid, stay-put lids and heat sleeves.
  2. Ecoffee Cup + William Morris – Secure, no-drip rubber lids, drinking hole stoppers and heat sleeves.
  3. Frank Green Smart Cup – Pop-up opening on the lid that allows you to snap up and down one-handed, and secures against leaks when closed.
  4. Klean Kanteen Tumbler – Well-designed drinking hole in the lid.
  5. Joco Glass Coffee Cup – Replaceable lids and sleeves.
  6. Bodum Travel Press – A spare lid that lets you converts your coffee cup into a travel mug.
  7. KeepCup – Lid with a moveable clip that clamps over the sip hole (very convenient when you are travelling on a train or hurrying through the city with a steaming full cup of coffee or tea). 

Some tips for newbie baristas

Not quite down with the reusable cup, just yet? Here are some tricks to getting it right, so that people won’t hesitate to bring their best reusable coffee cups with them. These are also good practices that we follow at The Roasted Berry.

  1. Fill your customer’s cup with the right amount of coffee or tea. Be wary of over-filling, as it can cause coffee to spill and burn you or your customers when putting the lid on.
  2. As an extra incentive, be nice to customers and reward their environmentally-friendly behaviour. Many cafes now offer a discount for customers who bring their reusable cups.
  3. Impose a policy that states on what constitutes a ‘large’ cup vs a ‘regular cup’. 12 oz or 16 oz is the typical small/large coffee cup size for takeaway coffee. Make a decision and add some signs near your serving area which clearly state what size cups you consider go with what size servings. You could even put an outline drawing on the sign, so that people can compare their cup to it.
  4. If you can’t offer discounts for customers bringing their own reusable cup, consider an alternative like special loyalty cards for reusable cup users, where every seventh cup is free. This way the most loyal customers can still save money with your store.
  5. Introduce a regulation to consider what reusable cups are acceptable. Inform patrons that only cups that are clean and in suitable condition will be accepted. In addition, staff need to follow the adequate hand washing protocol when accepting cups from customers to avoid food contamination.

Mingara: supporting sustainable coffee consumption

In line with our over-reaching values of sustainability, Mingara recreation club and all our staff members are in full support of reusable coffee cups. To encourage customers to support our mission, at The Roasted Berry a discount is offered for coffee lovers who bring their own cup.

We are thrilled with how many coffee lovers are now bringing their own cup and can’t wait for this practice to become a habit with the majority of our customers.

Mingara’s environmental mission

As part of our vision to make a significant contribution to the quality of community life, we aim to reduce our environmental footprint wherever possible. We’re pretty keen on reusable cups, and that’s not all!

Our sustainability projects include water harvesting and recycling, LED light replacement and strategic waste management. In addition, our club uses an innovative cogeneration energy system, which generates over 50% of the electricity required to power the club, reducing our reliance on grid-supplied power. This has resulted in a carbon emissions reduction of 1,500 tonnes per annum.

As a community club, Mingara is proud to be working towards a future with less single-use plastic and a lot less waste. Along with encouraging small changes such as inviting our cafe patrons to bring reusable coffee cups, we will continue to spearhead eco-friendly initiatives in order to reduce our impact on the environment over the coming years.

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