Which is the best reusable coffee cup?

Which is the best reusable coffee cup?

It’s the age-old question… Okay, so actually a very new-age question. But it’s a big one. Important. Which is the best reusable coffee cup? Plastic? Glass? Ceramic? Or stainless steel? Before we go any further, let it be known that I have done extensive research into this topic and drunk A LOT of coffee to bring this post together.

Below I’m going to write about the four coffee cups in my life. Truth be told, I love them all. They meet a need for me, which is to avoid single-use anything (except for toilet paper). In Australia alone, more than a billion coffee cups are produced each year, generating an uncool seven tonnes of waste. Some takaway coffee cups are paper and can be recycled, but not all of these end up in the right bin. Some are lined with very thin plastic and can’t be recycled so end up in landfill where they release methane, which is 25 times worse that CO2. Some are mistakenly put into recycling bins and contaminate a whole lot of otherwise recycleable stuff. Boohoo.

Today, reusable coffee cups are widely accepted by cafes, well designed and readily available. Here is more info on the different styles… and I’ll let you know my favourite at the end of the post.

1. Plastic reusable coffee cups

If you’re going to go for a plastic cup, make sure it’s BPA-free. If it’s really cheap and doesn’t mention BPA – avoid! Keep Cup dominates the market here in Australia with a huge range of funky colour combos, which you can buy in cafes or online. My hubby has a red 12oz Keep Cup and he’s definitely got more than 15 uses out of it (this is how many times you need to use it to break even in terms of embodied energy). The Keep Cup has a tight-fitting plastic lid based on the familiar takeaway-cup lid, with the added bonus of being able to close the mouthpiece to prevent leaks. KeepCup is made from recycleable BPA-free  plastic and has been tested for toxins. It’s lightweight, durable and dishwasher safe. See the range here.

2. Glass reusable coffee cups

Glass is the coffee fanatic’s choice as it leaves no trace in terms of flavour. Our Joco 12oz cup is made from tough, thin, lightweight glass with a silicone sleeve the whole width of your hand to keep the coffee warm. It’s a joy to drink out of – if you’ve ever used a Bodum cup, Joco has a similarly delicate feel. The lid is designed to resist dribbles and ensure you don’t bash your nose when slurping the last dregs. Keep Cup now also makes a glass range, although I haven’t yet tried the cups, they come with the no-spill closeable lid (check them out here).
Obviously, the first concern with glass is breakage. I’m most likely to drop my resusable cup as I’m getting out of the car or as it tumbles out of my bag while I wrangle a child, therefore I only take my Joco cup when I know I’m getting a coffee then going straight home (for example after the school run). Also, the Joco cup doesn’t have a plug for the mouthpiece and for both these reasons, throwing it into your handbag after use is not an option.
See the range of Joco glass coffee cups here.

3. Stainless steel coffee cups

Until now, most stainless steel coffee cups have been for those who like to drink vast amounts of filter coffee that they want to keep hot all day… The new stainless steel cup from Cheeki, however, has been designed to reach the “latte-set” and ticks all the boxes: it fits under coffee machines, comes in standard takeaway sizes and replicates the experience of having a takeaway coffee. While I was initially excited about the new Cheeki coffee cup (not to be mixed up with an older version that doesn’t have a closeable lid), I was concerned about the metal affecting the taste. After many uses of my 12oz Cheeki coffee cup, I’m pleased to report this is not the case.
The Cheeki cup (buy it here) is made from unlined, double-walled stainless steel and has a BPA-free plastic lid with a special no-spill mouthpiece that can be closed off. The hole of the mouthpiece is bigger than any other reusable cup mentioned here, which takes a bit of getting used to, but I actually prefer it as you don’t feel like you’re sucking the coffee out, if you know what I mean. The double wall is a great feature as it keeps the coffee hot, but the cup is cool to touch. Actually, the only fault I can find with the Cheeki is that it’s a little bulkier in the hand. But there is the smaller 8oz version which would probably suit me better as I can’t really handle my caffeine…

4. Ceramic reusable coffee cups

I’m putting this option last, even though my first reusable coffee cup was ceramic. I found it in a gift shop and it has a great shape and is lovely to drink out of. I remove the soft plastic lid though, as there was no description of the materials used therefore I assume it’s dodgy. The thing I love about my ceramic cup is that you feel like you’re in a cafe even though you’re actually (kind of) watching your kids in the park. But ceramic is non-recyclable and easy to break, therefore it’s not the best option. Which brings me to the big question…

Which do I think is the best reusable coffee cup?

The hands-down winner for me is the Cheeki stainless steel cup. I love the drinking experience and the fact I can chuck it in my bag or the basket of my bike when I’m done and not worry about breakage or leaks. It goes in my car’s cup holder and keeps my coffee warm. Plus,  stainless steel is so easy to clean and doesn’t hold a grudge when you forget to wash it for a few days.

I’m a big fan of KeepCup, particularly for their brand ethos, which is not about selling reusable cups but getting people to actually use them, but… I just don’t enjoy the experience of drinking out of plastic and I’m not 100% convinced that it doesn’t leach some other chemical into hot beverages. Let me say again, the product has been vigorously tested for known toxins but, as I practise the precautionary principle, I’m less likely to choose plastic over the other materials available.

This brings my epic post to a close. I’d love to hear some debate on this topic because I’m sure you have an opinion.

Tell me, which is the best reusable coffee cup in your opinion?


  1. Ange says

    Ohhhh. I have a glass keep cup and looooooove it.
    Though I did break it within the first 10 days (courtesy of rushing after kids and my heart died a little) but they replace all the parts individually- free shipping too and quick so within 2 days I was up and going again. I know have repayed it 30 fold I’m sure- holds the heat nice to drink from. Awesome really.
    Stainless steel seems weird to drink coffee from- it’s just seems wrong to me!! :)
    Love ya stuff Joey x

    • (dt)em says

      I know! That’s why I had to try it myself! I didn’t realise Keep Cup replaced all the parts, that’s great service and good to know, thanks x

  2. sarah says

    I have several keep cups and another one that is rubber. They’ve been used heavily for many years and put through the dishwasher a lot. Unfortunetly I have lost all the stoppers to keep them from spilling, they eventually just wouldn’t sit in place. Also, unless I add frothed milk for insulation, the coffee does get cold before I drink it all. I don’t have any issue with the plastic. I put it in my bottle holder to take to work in the morning so a glass one wouldn’t suit me.
    I will be looking for a stainless steel one now.

    • (dt)em says

      Sounds like your reusable cups get a lot of use! Did you see Ange’s comment below that Keep Cup replace individual parts? Might be worth a shot (pardon the pun)? x

  3. Kelly says

    Love your dedication to testing :-)I have a keep cup which I used at work all the time. To be honest, being home on mat leave I’ve forgotten to take it out and about with me! pulling it out now :-)

  4. Kate says

    I love my keepcup. I got to be part of their journey 10 years ago through my job at the time and I have a few of them – even one for babychinos. I am a bit forgetful though, but am trying to remember to pack my cup most days. Today I discovered that the little cafe outside the arts centre charges $2 for a regular coffee when you come with your own reusable cup! Now that’s a pretty good insentive!! Not like the early days when baristas turned their noses up and one even refused to make my coffee in it..!

    • (dt)em says

      I have the baby one too, but only one and two kids, which presents logistical challenges! $2 is cheap, we get 30c off at our local caf, which is a free coffee every ten, I guess. I’ve had a barista refuse to use my reusable cup because of health and safety reasons, he tried to tell me it violated his licence. Now, he sells Keep Cups!

    • (dt)em says

      This is how my collection of reusable cups started – I made my hubby buy one and pretty soon we realised it was good if he had two so one could be rolling around the car unwashed and other ready to go! I’ve found that leaving it washed by his car keys helps, but he quickly decided he preferred his own cup to a takeaway one – win!

  5. Debs says

    Thanks for this post. My first reusable cup was a glass one and I loved the look and feel… that’s until I smashed it :( Yep, wrangling kids, kids stuff and a glass cup full of hot liquid is not a great combination and I learnt that. It only took one (not very hard) tap on the edge of something hard and my cup shattered.
    The next one my hubby bought me was a plastic one and whilst I still use it all the time, I’m not a fan. I too have a funny thing about the plastic, even though it’s BPA free, and my current one can’t close at the top so there’s no throwing it in the bag.
    We’ve done stainless steel water bottles before and I wasn’t a fan of those or the metallic taste… but, the cheeki one you mention sounds good so perhaps I’d give it a go. Ceramic wouldn’t be for me.
    Debs recently posted..Travel with Kids: FijiMy Profile

    • (dt)em says

      I guess the metal taste comes through less with coffee because of the string flavour and because it’s not in there for as long (well, not around me, anyway!). I too love the look and feel of glass, but they’re just not practical with kids, as your sad tale proves! xx

  6. Chelsea says

    I have seriously been debating this question for like two years – and it has prevented me getting one at all LOL. Not that I get a coffee often, like once a month, and then I’m usually drinking in the shop. But I love the idea of bringing a morning tea on the walk to school. Thanks Jo!
    Chelsea recently posted..Self-Care for Mothers: Keeping CalmMy Profile

    • (dt)em says

      Thanks Chelsea, be sure to check out the Cheeki tea flasks too, they’re so cute. Make sure you get the new bright coloured one, as the older thermos cup with a pop-top leaks. x

  7. Penny says

    I have a reusable plastic one for work and ceramic at home. I’d love a glass or stainless steal one but at the moment what I have is working so I don’t need anymore.

  8. Anna says

    Great review! On your recommendation, I’ve bought a 8 oz Cheeki cup for my husband. I was readying some other reviews for the Cheeki coffee mug (not cup) which mentions it can build up a musty milk smell if not rinsed straight away. Is that the case for the cup? Also, it sounds like the cup is not dishwasher safe, is that right? Thanks!

  9. kathy Tyler says

    The problem with the glass ones is that they use tempered glass which is like pyrex and cannot be recycled with normal glass, infact if you ut it in your kerb side recycle bin it will destroy a whole batch of recycled glass.

  10. kathy Tyler says

    can you drink out of the stainless steel ones comfortably with the lid off i hate a plastic lid.

    • (dt)em says

      Hi Kathy, I agree, I don’t like to drink through the lid. The stainless steel cup is good for drinking from, it’s a little bit tapered and reasonably thick so it feels much like porcelain.

  11. Fiona says

    I had a ceramic cup for 2 years which I loved, until I knocked it over on a corian bench top at work. The inner cup separated from the outer one, so now I have 2 ceramic plant pots!
    Unfortunately, I can’t find another one in 8oz size, otherwise I’d go with ceramic again.
    Thanks for the review – I too was wary of stainless steel, but maybe it’s worth a try for my next cup.

  12. Keep Your Cup says

    These are all great alternatives to using a disposable coffee cup! Half of the world’s plastic goes into items that are used once – including disposable coffee cups! It’s time we started spreading word of the reuse revolution and #drinkresponsibly.

    If you’re interested in a bit more information – check out the Keep Your Cup 2015 campaign on Facebook, WordPress, Instagram and Twitter!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge