A functional, nice looking cup that will save you money – and contribute to saving the environment – is not that hard to find nowadays. // 2019 EDIT: new research found high levels of formaldehyde (released through acidity and heat into the beverage) in Ecoffee cups 1). Ecoffee argues that formaldehyde is a naturally occurring chemical and as such not critical 2).
I’ve already shown you the latest addition to the reusable coffee cup scene. Today I want to share with you a review of three very different reusable cups – free from conventional plastic – and also ideas on how to choose the perfect reusable coffee cup for you.
And It Looks Good, Too
This won’t be news to many of you, but remember those disposable cups used in your favourite coffee chains? Many of them aren’t properly recyclable.
And while I dare you to get the numbers for your country, let me tell you that in Germany alone 320,000 disposable cups go to trash every hour (according to Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.). That’s a pile of 3 billion per year, and I hear similar numbers from the UK, and nearly nine times as much from the US.
However, there is a certain, shall we say, urban aesthetic to the disposable cup. Which is probably why they keep up showing up as props in photo shoots for business fashion.
Luckily for us, the choice of a functional reusable cup isn’t limited to stainless steel mugs anymore, that also tend to spice up the beverage with an unsolicited metallic aftertaste (or is it just me?).IMAGE: The pop star of reusable coffee cups – Keep Cup, here on display at Café Boum in Berlin – was made of recyclable tox-free plastic. However, for this article, I wanted to talk about alternative materials.
If you are looking for leak-proof, commute-proof mugs, there are fabulous steel mugs would be the thing to look for, obviously. But we’re choosing something as eco-ethical as chic.
Let me show you three of my favourites that are entirely free from plastic, if you don’t count in food-grade silicone – it technically is man-made and synthetic, but it’s not based on petroleum, is fully recyclable, hypoallergenic, and tox-free.
Lightweight Glass Cups: SoL
Founded on the Sydney beachside suburb of Bondi by fitness trainer Rebecca Veksler, SoL reusable coffee cups are hand-blown from durable, dishwasher-safe super lightweight borosilicate glass, then adorned with a colourful food-grade, BPA-free silicone thermal sleeve and lid. The subtle chevron pattern in the inside of the sleeve and on the cardboard packaging is symbolic of the ocean waves. Isn’t this a nice feature and a more than chic reminder of why we’re choosing reusable cups?
SoL cups come in two different sizes, 8 and 12 oz (25–28 AUD), and about a dozen of soft, beach-themed colours to choose from. Waterproof pouches (5 AUD) are available on their own or come in a set; lids and sleeves can also be purchased extra.
Material excellence: glass and silicone are recyclable, naturally free from petroleum, odour- and stain resistant, and hypoallergenic.
End of product excellence: while they won’t decompose, glass and silicone are fully recyclable and non-toxic to the environment.
Perfect for: gourmets who know their beans and want to revel in watching their coffee’s colour. Minimalists. Chevron lovers. Beach boys and girls. People who love pastels.
-Lightweight: the 12 oz cup with sleeve and lid weighs 177 g
-Good at keeping the temperature of the beverage
-Versatile – without sleeve and lid, it’s a stylish glass for the home
-The company doesn’t disclose where or how they manufacture
-I am not entirely worry-free with a glass cup in my bag
Link love: SoL Cups
Victorian Patterns and Bioplastic: Ecoffee
Founded by David McLagan in 2014, Ecoffee offer cups are made from what is referred to as “bioplastic”. While the cups do feel a bit like cardboard, they are perfectly neutral in taste. Dishwasher safe, the 8 oz and 14 oz cups come in a plethora of colours and patterns – and cost between 8 and 12£. The lids are re-sealable and almost leak-proof.
The exquisite ornamental designs of the William Morris collection will delight those who love fine art and Victorian style.
Material excellence: bamboo fibre, non-GMO corn starch and binder containing melamine create a BPA and phthalate free material; matte, food-grade silicone sleeve and lid.
End of product life info: the cup is biodegradable; the sleeve and lid are recyclable.
Perfect for: People who love bright colours and patterns. There is even something for goths (‘Blackout’), metal heads or motorbike riders (‘Skullduggery’). Properly closed lids are almost leak-proof.
-Super lightweight; the 14 oz/ 400 ml cup with sleeve and lid weighs 132 g
-Comes in an amazing variety of colour and pattern meeting literally any taste preference
-The re-sealable lid is pretty secure
-The company doesn’t disclose where or how they manufacture
Link love: Ecoff.ee
Versatile Porcelain: Kahla
The award-winning sleek design of the Kahla Cup it collection features three sizes (230 ml, 350 ml, 470 ml) and six colours, including white and anthracite, to mix and match with universal size lids.
Kahla’s signature Magic Grip coating caters for the non-slip “sleeve” zone and slip-resistant base of the cups.
Material excellence: completely made in the eco-friendly production site in Germany, the cups are made from porcelain and silicone.
End of product life info: unless you’re known for sending your dinnerware flying in a temper tantrum, porcelain cups are made to last and last and last, which in the end balances the energy consuming production, also Kahla produce in an ethical and resource-efficient way. Porcelain is bio-degradable.
Perfect for: gourmets! People who enjoy different takeaway opportunities – the different sized cups can easily hold frozen yogurt, muesli, smoothies; warm or cold. Ideal to keep in the office.
-Very sturdy and very durable
-Cuts a good figure on the regular table
-Ethical, resource-efficient and eco-friendly production in Germany
-The heavyweight of the reusable cups: the middle-size cup weighs 346 g
Link love: Kahla
So, Adventurers, do you have any favourites?
P.S. Images were taken (and soja lattes were drank) at the friendly Concept Store & Café BOUM in Berlin Kreuzberg. I highly recommend! BTW, in my test, the SoL cup held the heat the best and the longest.