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In this guide
It’s not easy being green (unless you’re Kermit) but there’s an easy way to colour your life slightly more green: say hello to a reusable coffee cup. The best reusable coffee cup keeps your coffee warm, without burning your hand. It also lets you drink as you go, without spilling hot coffee down your work pants. Here are Australia’s best keep cups, chosen from hours of research (and virtual window shopping).
How we picked
With Aussies being a nation of coffee addicts, we were spoilt for choice. We started with CHOICE, Australia’s largest consumer advocacy group, who got 5 coffee fiends to road-test some popular reusable cups. This gave us an idea of how a few cups performed for some people.
We then headed to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion site. Here we found the reusable cups loved by Aussies.
Finally, we indulged in some online window shopping, finding the reusable coffee cups that we loved the look of. We were keen to ensure our guide covers all budgets, different material types and offers a #shoplocal vibe.
What should I look for in a reusable coffee cup?
Here’s what to look for when shopping for your reusable coffee cup:
- A well-fitting spill-proof lid. This means hot coffee won’t come flying out when you’re running for your train. Ideally it’s got a covering over the drinking hole too (again, to avoid splashes).
- Lightweight and shatterproof. Using your cup daily and carting it around on your commute? Make sure it’s lightweight. Accidents happen so a shatterproof cup is a good option (if you’re accident-prone, maybe steer away from glass).
- Double-wall insulation. If you like to savour your hot drink, go for a double-walled cup to help your coffee stay hot for longer. Bonus - double-wall insulated cups also work as a cold drink cup, keeping your cold drink stay, er, cold. So, it’s 2-in-1.
- Hand protection. With hot coffee inside, a reusable coffee cup can get hot. Look for cups that have sleeves to help prevent burnt hands. It should be wide enough to fit your entire hand on and not move around.
- Material choice. We’re touching on this more below. But for now, know that different materials can cause different tastes. Stainless steel can give a metallic aftertaste. Plastic absorbs smells and flavours, even after thorough washing. Ceramic and glass are good options because they don’t absorb or cause flavours.
- Replaceable parts. Some reusable coffee cups are designed for lifetime use, like the Joco Coffee Cup. Others offer replaceable parts. This is a great option to extend the life of your cup, rather than having to replace the whole thing. Choosing a cup with replaceable parts is good for you, your wallet and the planet.
Oh, and make sure your cup fits under a barista coffee machine. Some of the larger ones won’t.
Are reusable coffee cups better for the environment?
Yep - they’re a lot better than disposable coffee cups, which are largely unrecyclable. The best environmental benefits come from you using it all the time.
Sure, there are lots of different environmental costs related to different materials and their production and manufacture. But by using the same cup again and again, you’re helping to spread, and minimise, these costs.
Once you’ve got one, you can continue to spread these environmental costs by:
- Replacing parts that wear out, rather than buying a whole new cup.
- Handwashing it or only putting it in the dishwasher once you’ve got a full load.
What material is best?
Reusable coffee cups come in many different materials, including plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, glass and bamboo.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
- Plastic is lightweight, recyclable and affordable. But it can give you a plasticky after-taste, which isn’t ideal after spending 5 bucks on your artisan coffee.
- Ceramic is great at retaining the heat of your hot drink and doesn’t absorb, or give, odd odours. But it’s easily damaged, especially scratched.
- Stainless steel is amazing at insulating your favourite hot or cold drink. It’s also easy clean and long-lasting. But it can give a cool, metallic taste and can scratch or peel.
- Glass looks sleek and stylish and can be recycled when you’re done. But it can be fragile and isn’t great at insulating, so either your coffee gets cold or your hand gets hot.
- Bamboo is a great eco-option as it’s biodegradable. It’s also lightweight and taste-free. But most bamboo cups also contain melamine, which although safe normally, can leach chemicals into your cup if exposed to high temperatures. This is why you shouldn’t ever put a bamboo cup in the microwave.
Are reusable coffee cups dishwasher safe?
Not all of them. In this guide, the Sttoke Ceramic Reusable Cup and the Fressko Reusable Coffee Cup are handwash only. The rest of them are dishwasher safe - either the whole thing or just certain parts. If being dishwasher safe is a priority for you, hop online and check before buying.
Or how to quit your daily café-coffee habit (by enjoying it at home instead).
Or how to keep the fresh goodness in your kitchen protected, 24/7.