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Hunting for the perfect reusable takeaway cup

Category: Reviews  |  Post by: Andrea Wong
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3 alternatives to paper coffee cups (KeepCup, Ideal Cup, Eco Cup) :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog website

Have you ever stopped to think about how many paper cups you use in a year? If you had one takeaway coffee a day, 50 weeks a year, that would equate to 250 cups a year. Paper coffee cups are coated with plastic, so they can't be recycled. Now that's a lot of waste.

Over the past year or so, I've been feeling more and more guilty about getting takeaway coffee. The cup gets used once, then it's biffed into the rubbish. So I've been keeping my eye out for alternatives. Sure, I could always take a cup from home but my home cups are have faded abstract patterns of fruit on them that were popular in the early nineties and don't look that great, so I definitely don't want to parade them out in public!

After doing a bit of research and keeping an ear to the ground, I have found three reusable cups that have been made for today's coffee drinkers.

Takeaway cup review :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog

First up is KeepCup (RRP about $15 / $20). This is a Melbourne designed and made plastic cup with a silicone band around the cup and silicone lid. What is good about the KeepCup is that it is the first barista-standard takeaway cup alternative. The small and medium sizes fit under the coffee machine's group head, so there is no need to decant the coffee from a ceramic cup to the KeepCup. With the lid on, you move the plug over the drinking hole to keep you coffee safe and warm and swivel it out of the way when you want to sip. The KeepCup is thoughtfully designed with other little features like the silicon band can be marked with your favourite  coffee style (so there's no mix up at the cafe) and it fits into your car cup holder. Yes the cup is plastic, but it is BPHA-free, so it's about as green as plastic can be.


  • Made (semi) locally
  • Cafe-friendly: will fit under a coffee machine's group head
  • Standard cafe sizes
  • Stylish
  • Fits into a car drink holder
  • Easily portable
  • Sipper plug to reduce the risk of spills


  • Can't think of any

Ideal Cup

Ideal Cup :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog website

Next up is the Ideal Cup (RRP $15.00). This cup is designed and made in Wellington. This cup is also made of plastic but it is surprisingly cool to hold, which means that it doesn't need a sleeve. I think that it's a bit plain looking, if the cup design was jazzed up a bit, it would be more appealing.

Update: In 2011 IdealCup designed a reusable lid that is made from sturdy plastic, instead of using a disposable lid. Like the KeepCup, it too has a swivel plug that you can move over the sipping hole to prevent spills. The IdealCup also now comes in a small range of colours - go to the IdealCup website to purchase online. The photo above is of the revised IdealCup.


  • Made  locally
  • Cafe-friendly: will fit under a coffee machine's group head
  • Standard cafe size
  • Sipper plug to reduce the risk of spills
  • Fits into a car drink holder
  • Easily portable


    • Design is not very eye-catching

    Eco Cup

    EcoCup :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog website

    Last in our line-up is the Eco Cup (RRP $24.90). This cup is ceramic and it is larger than the other cups. It's so large, in fact, that it doesn't fit under the standard coffee machine's group head. It's American sized, so perhaps it will be fine with coffee machines in Starbucks where they use larger cups all the time. The Eco Cup is perfect for the home or office though, I make big cups of tea in my Eco Cup.

    Because this cup is ceramic, it means that it is heavy and it heats up when it's filled with coffee, so the silicone sleeve is essential.


    • Stylish


    • Not cafe-friendly (doesn't fit under a standard coffee machine group head)
    • Not very portable as it could break and is heavy
    • Not made locally (it's made in China)


    Thanks to Craig at Crave Cafe in Kingsland, Auckland, I got to see the cups being used in a real cafe situation. Here's a wee video that I made of this:

    While at Crave Cafe, we tested the liquid tightness of each cup, by shaking the cup upside down (filled with coffee). I was surprised that all the lids stayed on and the only liquid that came out was from the drinking holes on the lid. So any of these cups would be fine in a car's drink holder.

    Summing things up

       Design Cafe
    Liquid tightness Drinking feel 
     7  5  7  7  8  34
     IdealCup  7  9  7.5  8  8  39.5
     KeepCup  9  9  8  8  8  42

    Design: how it looks; cafe-friendliness: how easy is it for the barista to use; portability: how easy is it to carry around including putting it in your bag; liquid tightness: how well does the lid work; drinking feel: what is it like to drink from.

    As you can see from the scores, I like the KeepCup the best. You can keep one in your bag or car without worrying about breaking it and it has its own lid. The sipper plug comes in handy for when you're walking down the road or driving with a full cup of coffee - you wouldn't want to spill its precious contents!

    But in saying that, I think that the Eco Cup has its place too. It is heavy and I wouldn't carry it around to use as a takeaway coffee cup. It is nice to use and I would use it at work or around the house.

    The Ideal Cup works well as a takeaway coffee cup too, it's just lacking a bit in its style.

    So each cup has its place and they are all good cups. But I was looking for a good alternative to the normal takeaway coffee cup and I think that this is where KeepCup wins. It can be used at any cafe and it's easy to carry around. It just works.

    Thanks to:
    Crave Cafe (Kingsland, Auckland) for the use of his cafe for the video
    Ecostore (Freemans Bay, Auckland) for supplying the Eco Cup
    Cultured (Petone, Wellington) and Ideal Cup for supplying the original and updated Ideal Cups

    I'd love to hear what you think. Have you tried any of these cups? Or do you know of something even better?

    Have your say


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    Your comments

    • 22/12/2014 10:28 a.m.

      Hiya! Where can I buy the eco cup? Thanks
    • 16/10/2014 12:19 p.m.

      KeepCup is my favorite from this list! In addition to being a high-performance product, KeepCup is a great company -- they do amazing work with nonprofits.

      For anyone interested, you can receive 10% off KeepCup products using the code KILLTHECUP at checkout. 30% of sales are being donated to a waste reduction program that reduces waste from disposable cups and sleeves! Promo is good for October only.
    • 22/04/2014 4:41 p.m.
      Pip Idour

      Where can I buy a Keepcup in Dunedin please, can't find one anywhere - help!!
    • 19/02/2014 9:56 a.m.
      paul wardrop

      You may have overlooked the ByoCup from BioPak made from PLA an annually renewable resource ( plants ) . FDA approved , 0% petroleum , 0% BPA content , 0% Formaldehyde content , dishwasher safe , microwavable , carbon neutral . Can be custom printed with your brand ( conditions apply ) .
    • 09/01/2013 10:07 a.m.

      I am part of a Young Enterprise Company called sMUG. Our product is called the snug mug and is a reusable coffee cup with coloured silicon sleeves and a screw on lid! It is made of polypropene(BPA Free) so it is very light to carry and very portable! The colours are also very stylish and we have awesome slogans like 'How YOu brewin' and 'espresso yourself' written on the silicon sleeve! They are stylish to carry, convenient to use at home,work,school,on the go! check us out at or email at :)
    • 08/10/2012 10:53 p.m.

      I just love the keep cup. I bought my first one starfish clothing and then ordered different colored ones on the Australian website. Very nice to drink from.
    • 11/09/2012 11:54 a.m.
      Lianne Hansen

      I just bought a KeepCup and love it! Initially I was attracted by the bright colours (it's pink, purple and orange) but also for practical purposes - I recently switched to long blacks. These are very difficult and a bit dangerous to carry single-handed while pushing a baby buggy to the park. It is amazingly comfortable to drink from and I highly recommend. My KeepCup came from Starfish clothing, Willis Street, Wellington.
    • 27/06/2012 2:20 a.m.
      Cuisinart Coffee Machine

      Finding a good takeaway reusable cups are pretty easy. You can find them anywhere in the net. Cuisinart Coffee Machine
    • 18/05/2012 12:21 p.m.
      Scott H

      I recently had an experience with reusable coffee cups that I just wanted to share with your readers. Reusable coffee cups are somewhat hard to find, especially the one that are made from quality materials. I found a company in Auckland that is specialising in printed reusable coffee cups which suited our needs. Their cups are similar to the ones described here and are very affordable. They also offer printing onto the cups which was great also. They came in a wide range of colors and sizes and they were happy to assist us with samples before our purchase.

      The cups were BPA Free and offered a silicone type lid which our clients liked. Our own logo was branded onto the cups which also attracted additional business. Now we sell quite a few on a weekly basis and we have had good feedback from our customers who still bring them to us for their daily coffee fix!

      The cups are supplies by a company called Promotional Shop. Here is the link here:


    • 22/03/2012 2:51 p.m.

      I own a keep cup & just love it, & quite often buy them as Birthday presents for friends. i'm wanting to find somewhere that will make them with a Company logo on, as sponsorship for fundraising for a school.Any bright ideas welcome.
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