Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two years, you will know that reusable coffee mugs and bottles have swamped social media, the London Underground and work desks around the world.
Why? Well, with there being an increase in coffee consumption thanks to the likes of Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero. People are now buying more coffee whilst on the go, this has resulted in over 100 billion disposable cups being thrown into our landfills each year!
Obviously, this is terrible and something has to change.
The solution: Travel mugs and bottles; in an array of materials, colours, shapes and uses.
So, what type do you go for? What actually is the best travel coffee mug or bottle for you? It really depends on what you want to use it for and what you feel will be the right choice for your life.
From, bamboo mugs, to leak-proof mugs, to stainless steel heat retaining bottles. Which one will you pick?
I have broken down the basic materials that are used for all kinds of reusable coffee cups, mugs and bottles. Think of it as an investment, you want to make sure you are putting your money into something that is going to withstand time and give you and our planet the best results.
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is the classic and most common material when it comes to reusable travel bottles. It is lightweight and the insulated variety can keep beverages hot and cold for hours. The Emma Bridgewater Chillys bottles are currently one of the best reusable coffee flasks on the market. So, the pros and cons of stainless steel. Here we go!
- Maintains Temperature
- Stainless steel is perfect for maintaining the temperature of your chosen beverage, whether it is piping hot coffee or a refreshing iced tea. Steel doesn’t build condensation so a stainless steel and leak-proof travel bottle won't leave any damp patches in your handbag or rings on your desk.
- Highly Durable
- Most steel is made with chromium. Chromium, when scratched, rebuilds itself when surrounded by oxygen, so basically, your travel mug will be self-healing meaning it has a long life-cycle.
- Easy to scrubba-dub-dub
- Bacteria like to cling to plastic, however, stainless steel is less inclined to hold onto this gunk and is one of the easiest metals to clean.
- Lingering Flavours
- With the first few uses of a stainless steel travel mug, the beverage inside can taste a little bit metallic. Stainless steel also tends to absorb liquid particles meaning some strong flavour could linger. This is normally only common with low-value steel travel bottles.
- No No for the environment
- The production of stainless steel is considered unsustainable because factories produce large quantities of greenhouse gases and fossil fuels, posing as a threat to local areas and the people surrounding them. However, it is estimated that around 500 uses of a reusable travel mug or bottle will beat plastic production in all environmental aspects
- Nasty Toxins
- Some stainless steel bottles have been found to leach BPA, iron, chromium and nickel. You can avoid this by purchasing higher quality bottles from such brands as Chilly’s, Bodum and Thermos that ensure these toxins are prevented in the manufacturing process.
Plastic travel mugs are rather different from your typical disposable paper mug, they are thicker and more durable making them easier to reuse and much more convenient to clean. A wise choice for those that like a little more variety in their life.The Bodum French Press Travel Mug is a great replacement for your disposable paper cup.
- A friend to your wallet
- Your most affordable option when it comes to a travel mug or bottle, plastic is much easier to produce and mould than stainless steel.
- Pick and Choose
- Plastic travel mugs come in a variety of different sizes, uses and styles. There are even ones that are built to carry hot beverages such as on-the-go travel press mugs.
- When reinforced, plastic travel mugs can be super sturdy and perfect for many uses, such as a portable coffee mug, unfortunately, not all are leak-proof travel mugs.
- Nasty Tastes
- Unfortunately, like some stainless steel flasks, plastic travel mugs can hold onto strong flavours by absorbing liquid particles and holding it in the body of the plastic.
- Leaching BPA
- These days, most travel mug makers will ensure that their product will not leash nasty chemicals into your lovely beverage. Unfortunately, some cheaper brands have not take the extra steps to ensure that damaging chemicals don't get into your drink. Make sure you do your research into the manufacturer's processes before you purchase. If you would like to know more, check out this article from draxe.com
Bamboo travel coffee mugs are becoming more and more popular and for good reason! With brands like Woodway, Zodiac and Ecoffee swamping the market with sustainable, durable and eco-friendly. But, how do they really compare to the other materials on the market?
- A big yes from the environment
- Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials when it comes to travel mugs. It can be harvested in a much shorter time than other natural materials and is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Some say it is the material of the future! Bamboo is also biodegradable, meaning, if you choose to replace them, they won ’ t have an impact on the environment the way steel and plastic does.
- Super sturdy
- Depending on the brand that you go for, bamboo travel mugs can be super sturdy. The thicker the mug the less likely you are to crack it by accident. Being so durable means you can use a bamboo cup multiple times.
- Dishwasher safe
- Looking after a plain bamboo mug is super easy as you are able to pop the mug in the dishwasher and you don't have to worry about anything warping or cracking or melting, Which, is pretty ideal I would say.
- Absorbs smell
- If you fill your natural bamboo cup with something as strong as coffee, it is likely that it will keep the strong smell within the walls of the mug.
- No heat retention
- If you have opted for a bamboo cup that has nothing other than the bamboo cup, lid and maybe a silicon sleeve, it is not likely that the cup with keeping your brew hot for long because it has nothing extra to keep in the heat.
Now that you have an idea as to what materials are out there and the pros and cons. What kind of flask or travel mug do you go for?
There are so many to choose that I have brought together the top 4 best selling travel mugs at Mahahome and have given them a test for you.
So without further ado, here are the pros and cons of the 4 best travel coffee cups at Mahahome.
Chillys- Stainless Steel Travel Flask £15.00 - £35.00
Sturdy and good quality
- Sturdy and good quality
- The flasks come in super adorable patterns and colours and you can tell, just by holding it, I could tell that the Chilly’s travel flask is made from super high- quality stainless steel. It has certain weight and thickness to it.
- Keeps liquids hot or cold
- The Chilly's bottle promises to keep hot drinks hot for 12 hrs and cold for 24 hrs regardless of the temperature outside. It really did! (TopTip: Warm the bottle with hot water before putting in a hot beverage. This will mean you get the full use of the heat retention or chill in the freezer before filling with a cold beverage or cool with cold water and ice.
- The super tight screw cap meant that I was able to through my bottle into my bag without the fear of it bursting open whilst on the move. The bottle also has vacuum insulation meaning it didn't get condensation on the outside.
- A little pricey
- The Chilly’s bottle starts at £15.00 for the smallest size ll the way to £35.00 for the largest 1.8L flask, making them one of the prices travel flasks on the market. I guess it does relate to the quality though.
- Hard to drink from
- The wide opening at the top of the flask makes it a little tricky to drink hot beverages from whilst on the go, I couldn ’ t really sip my coffee whilst on the go.
- Works a little too well
- You can view this as a con or not, but, the flask will keep your boiling beverages pretty much boiling. Just, be careful if this is the one you go for.
Thermos - Stainless Steel Travel Mug £6.00 - £44.00
- I must say, I really liked how this travel mug made me feel like my drink was secure inside. The leak-proof travel mug has a push open and slides close lid which is super secure and made for a very comfortable drink. I could even pop it in my bag without worrying that it would pop open.
- Good Heat Retention
- The double walled stainless steel aspect of the reusable coffee mug was really great at keeping my tea hot for around 8 hours. Thermos travel mug has an airless space between the two walls meaning it keeps drinks hotter for longer. (Top Tip!: Same as the Chilly’s bottle warm the flask with hot water before putting in a hot beverage. This will mean you get the full use of the heat retention)
- Easy Sippin
- The way that your mouth can easily form a seal around the opening and enjoy your beverage, this meant I didn't burn my lips and it was easy to drink whilst on the move.
- A Little Pricey
- Due to the product being made from high-quality steel, the price tag is a little bit more compared to other insulated travel mugs on the market. For a 300ml flask, it is £14.99. However, this is reasonable due to the ability of the product
- Loves fingerprints
- If you are someone that enjoys having moisturised hands, great! The winter is horrid on your skin. Unfortunately, the oils from hands transfer to the stainless steel meaning it leaves the flask with little fingerprint smudges.
- Super handy!
- What can I say, this travel mug is great for those that really do love their coffee.No more need to drink horrid instant coffee or have to sit and wait for your fancy and expensive french press to brew your grounds. This travel mug allowed me to brew barista style coffee whilst I ran around looking for my keys. Very convenient.
- More affordable
- Currently priced at £10.48, the reusable coffee mug is on the more affordable end of the scale as it is made from BPA free plastic,food grade silicone and stainless steel. Plus, the added French Press aspect makes it a sweet deal for those that like a little more independence with their brew.
- Thick and durable
- Super study and rather hard to crack, I really appreciate that this mug was on the thicker side. It is double walled meaning it is a lot more sturdy than most other travel mugs on the market.
- Harder to clean
- Due to the material of this plastic mug being plastic, it held onto the smell of strong coffee no matter how much I washed it. Of course, for most this may not be an issue as you might just use it for coffee but the travel mug also allows for the use of loose tea leaves and I didn't like the coffee taste that tainted it.
- Spillage warning
- Unfortunately, for safety reasons, the mug does not falls into the ‘leak-proof travel mug category’. Basically, the possible pressure of the punching of the French press means the mug cant to be fully sealed at the opening. So really you need to keep it upright, so ideally, you will be holding it until it is empty. Freehand warmer though!
- Freehand warmer
- As the travel mug is made from plastic, it means that the mug does not keep the heat retained, of course, it will keep your barista style brew warmer than a paper cup but not for as long as a stainless steel one.
Woodway- Bamboo Travel Mug £7.49 - £17.99
- Super Sturdy & Light
- This bamboo mug ain’t cracking any time soon. A combination of bamboo fibres, corn powder and resin makes this bamboo travel mug one of the sturdier ones on the market. Obviously, don't go trying to run it over with your car or dropping it from the Shard to test this. But with day to day use and the occasional slip and drop, this bamboo cup will hold up better than most on the market.
- Little Leaking
- So, with the Woodway Bamboo Travel Mug, it has something a little different from others out there. The lid is also made from the same materials as the cup and has a silicon closure. You can tighten the lid completely to the cup, so any worries that the drink will spill are needless as these are a leak-proof travel mug.
- A Big Eco YES!
- These travel mugs are super biodegradable if you happen to get rid or replace this mug, you won't be putting any animals at risk and you won’t be impacting the environment. This is a huge bonus to Bamboo material products as they will break down much faster than any man made the product. If it came from mother nature. Mother nature will happily take it back.
- Stains with Smell
- At this point, we all know that coffee is the worst culprit when it comes to tainting your reusable coffee mug. Although Woodway promises no flavour taint. I found that m strong coffee stained the inside of the cup and left it with a coffee smell after multiple uses. It can be popped in a dishwasher though, so that is a bonus.
- No Heat Retention
- With this bamboo mug, it is completely natural so it does not keep your hot beverages hot for hours on end, it does keep them warmer for longer though as it is very thick and keeps the cold air from getting in with the tight seal lid.
- So, with all of this information in mind. What will you decide as being the Best Travel Coffee Mug?
- Top Tip!
- Some people have been getting ill from their travel mugs.
- Find out why here: Check your lid for mold!
- Prices valid at the time of writing (27/03/2019).