With a staggering 100 billion single-use cups estimated to end up as landfill each year, switching to a reusable alternative has become a bit of a no-brainer. But while making the choice to ditch the disposables might be an easy one, the wide variety of options available can make it hard to know which reusable coffee cup is best suited to your tastes. To help you make a more informed decision, one that is hopefully best for both you and the environment, I tested out our top 3 reusable coffee cups and compared their performance in terms of price, durability, heat retention, style/visual appearance, practicality and eco-factors.
The Ecoffee Cup is unique among its sustainable competitors in that 80% of it is made up of super renewable bamboo fibre. What makes bamboo such a superior choice of material? Not only is it fast growing and easy to farm, it is also completely biodegradable. My biggest initial concern was that the bamboo might affect the taste of my coffee, but I was relieved to find that this was not the case. All in all, I had a great experience using the Ecoffee Cup. Here’s a break down of the various aspects I took into consideration:
Price: Ranging from R199 for a 330ml cup to R230 for a 400ml cup, it is an affordable option.
Durability: Although it probably can break if squashed or treated roughly, I found it to be very sturdy.
Heat retention: The resealable ‘no-drip’ lid meant heat didn’t escape easily and my coffee stayed warm for a decent amount of time.
Style/Visual Appearance: With a multitude of bright, vibrant colours and fun patterns to choose from, the Ecoffee cup range certainly caters for a variety of preferences.
Practicality: Being lightweight and spill-proof I found it easy to take with me anywhere. It is also dishwasher safe, but it’s probably worth mentioning that if not cleaned soon after use I found that it had a tendency to get stained quite easily.
Eco-factor: In addition to the advantages mentioned above, as a commercially harvested crop bamboo uses less water as it does not require irrigation and it actually helps the soil.
The Downside: It is not designed to be microwaveable. (But then who wants to drink reheated coffee anyway?)
When you consider that this brand of travel mugs is not only super stylish but that all the components of its design are 100% recyclable, you can see why this originally Australian creation is now being sold in over 65 countries around the world. Let’s see if it lived up to the hype:
Price: At R300 for 270ml and R400 for a 340ml these cups certainly fall at the pricier end of the spectrum.
Durability: While the fully tempered soda lime glass makes this reusable cup rather sturdy, it is still glass and therefore not unbreakable. If you’re at all clumsy like me, it’s perhaps best to proceed with caution.
Heat retention: I suspect that the “keep” aspect of the cups name refers to its reusable nature rather than its ability to keep coffee hot for an extended period of time. This is not to say it didn’t retain heat at all, but this was by no means an outstanding feature.
Style/visual appearance: In this category, the Keep Cup definitely gets a 10/10 from me. The use of glass for the body makes for a lovely sleek appearance and with so many colours to mix and match from for the lid and band, this cup is completely customisable to your style.
Practicality: This is unfortunately where The Keep Cup lost a fair amount of it’s charm in my opinion. Aside from it’s compact size which enabled it to fit snugly into my car’s cup holder, I quickly became disenchanted with a couple of elements. While the glass was initially an attractive feature, after burning my hands a number of times it soon lost its appeal. The lid of the cup also became a source of frustration as having to pull it off rather than twist it off resulted in a lot of spillage.
Eco-factor: All materials (glass, plastic and silicone )used to construct the cup are 100% recyclable. The particular one I used had a cork band which not only provides a sophisticated touch but has the added benefit of being renewable as well.
Added Bonus: Being made of glass these are microwavable as well as dishwasher friendly except for the cork version which is handwash only.
This South African company has produced a very trendy range of tumbler-style reusable cups that are made from food-grade 18/8 Stainless steel and have been praised for being all-around functional, fashionable and forward thinking. I absolutely fell in love with this brand of cups and here’s why:
Price: At R185 for 360ml, these cups offer great value for money and the above average cup size is always a win for coffee lovers like myself.
Durability: Being made from stainless steel means these cups are virtually indestructible by even the most clumsy of individuals and are dishwasher safe.
Heat retention: With a copper lining between stainless steel walls, these triple insulated travel mugs will ensure your coffee is kept hotter for longer. Prefer your coffee iced? Steely cups are perfect for keeping your beverage of choice cold for hours.
Style/Visual Appearance: The super trendy tumbler shape combined with the selection of adorable bubblegum colours and matte finish made for a pretty unique and aesthetically pleasing experience.
Practicality: While the tumbler shape was a big part of this cups appeal from a visual standpoint, it quickly became problematic when trying to fit it into my car’s holder. While I’m sure this might be a deal breaker for some, I found driving with it between my legs was a simple solution and had the added benefit of warming me up. (I suspect I wouldn’t have felt quite so pleased had my coffee been an iced one.)
Eco-factor: Stainless steel and copper are both green materials as they are not coated with any toxic substances, don’t produce any toxic run-off and are 100% recyclable. The lids are manufactured out of BPA free polypropylene making them safe to use and more environmentally friendly than other plastics.
The Added Bonus: Local is Lekker- supporting local businesses’ is just good karma.
If you’ve made it this far hopefully you have a better idea of which reusable coffee cup appeals to you most. You can find all of these coffee cups in different sizes and colours available on our online store.