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Best BYO coffee cups

We road-test nine popular reusable coffee cups including Cheeki, KeepCup, Frank Green and Kleen Kanteen.

Reusable BYO coffee cups: KeepCup, Avanti, Cheeki, Thermos, Frank Green, Bodum, Joco, Klean Kanteen
Last updated: 10 August 2017

Reusable coffee cups are taking their place in the line-up of orders at your local cafe, thanks to the 'brew'-haha about disposable coffee cups created by ABC's War on Waste program. Popular brands include KeepCups and Frank Green, but there's hot competition from established homeware brands Avanti, Thermos and Bodum, along with smaller players. 

We recruited five caffeine addicts to road test nine popular styles and give their verdict on ease of use, design, leakage and more. We also lab-tested how well they retained heat.

How we rated the reusable coffee cups

The products are listed below from highest to lowest score. We've even provided links to buy some of the reusable coffee cups (read more about Shopping links on the CHOICE website).

1. KeepCup Original

KeepCup Original

KeepCup Original

RRP: $16 (340mL/12oz)

Heat retention score: 52%

User trial score: 8/10

Cup / lid material: Plastic / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 78 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

2. Klean Kanteen Insulated Tumbler

Klean Kanteen Insulated Tumbler

Klean Kanteen Insulated Tumbler

RRP: $40.50 (473mL)

Heat retention score: 89%

User trial score: 7.2/10

Cup / lid material: Stainless steel / plastic lid

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 355 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

3. KeepCup Brew

KeepCup Brew

KeepCup Brew

RRP: $32 (340mL/12oz)

Heat retention score: 51%

User trial score: 6.4/10

Cup / lid material: Glass / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 68 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

4. Avanti Go Mug

Avanti Go Mug

Avanti Go Mug

RRP: $12.95 (250mL)

Heat retention score: 54%

User trial score: 6/10

Cup / lid material: Porcelain / silicone

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 89 minutes

5. Cheeki Coffee Mug

Cheeki Coffee Mug

Cheeki Coffee Mug

RRP: $34.95 (350mL)

Heat retention score: 87%

User trial score: 5.8/10

Cup / lid material: Stainless steel / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 337 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

6. Frank Green Smart Cup

Frank Green SmartCup

Frank Green Smart Cup

RRP: $34.95 (340mL/12oz)

Heat retention score: 54%

User trial score: 5.6/10

Cup / lid material: Plastic / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 91 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

7. Bodum Travel Mug

Bodum Travel Mug

Bodum Travel Mug

RRP: $25 (350mL)

Heat retention score: 59%

User trial score: 5.2/10

Cup / lid material: Plastic / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 131 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

8. Joco Coffee Cup

Joco Coffee Cup

Joco Coffee Cup

RRP: $26.95 (340mL / 12oz)

Heat retention score: 52%

User trial score: 5.2/10

Cup / lid material: Glass / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 74 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

9. Thermocafe Travel Mug by Thermos

Thermos Thermocafe Travel Mug

Thermocafe Travel Mug by Thermos

RRP: $17 (450mL)

Heat retention score: 68%

User trial score: 2.6/10

Cup / lid material: Stainless steel / plastic

Time from 85°C to 40°C: 194 minutes

Buy now from Amazon

How we test

User trial: Five people were recruited to each trial nine different reusable coffee cups. For each cup, triallists drank at least two coffees in it over a day, at least one of which was bought from a cafe. Triallists cleaned the cup after each use, and completed a survey form for the cup at the end of the day of use, which included giving each cup an overall rating out of 10. User score is the average of these ratings.

Thermal test: Cups were filled with boiling water and temperature loss was measured using thermocouples inserted through the centre of each cup's lid, and logged over a 12-hour period. The ambient temperature of the test lab ranged from 19.9°C to 20.6°C over this period. The heat retention score calculation was based on the amount of time it took for the liquid to go from hot (85°C) to lukewarm (40°C). The higher the score, the longer the cup keeps your beverage warm. 

Good to know: The recommended retail price (RRP) and cup capacity stated in the profile is for the cup size we tested. Ounces (oz) are displayed where the manufacturer uses ounces on its website, but we've also included the measurement in mL for easier comparison. All plastic components are BPA-free.

Thermal testing BYO coffee cups

Thermal testing the cups in our lab.

Saving the environment, one coffee at a time

It's now well-recognised that disposable coffee cups are largely unrecyclable and an environmental disaster across the world, filling up landfill and polluting waterways and our environs. 

So waste-conscious Australians are taking responsibility into their own hands for their take-away caffeine indulgence by investing in reusable BYO coffee cups.

Where once these were large insulated vessels that could accommodate half a pint or more of coffee, probably poured from a drip filter coffee pot and drunk over four or more hours, there's now a wide range of sizes and styles to fit the full menu of coffees on offer in Australia's thriving cafe culture. 

And if you have a cafe in your 'hood that's signed up to responsiblecafes.org, bringing your own cup could save you around 50c on your coffee.

Whether you're using it on your commute, at your desk or on the weekend there's likely to be a perfect mobile mug out there for you. 

Which one you prefer when it comes to look and feel can be subjective, but if you're after a cup that keeps drinks hotter for longer, our test found that the double-walled products retained the most heat, and of those, the stainless steel models performed better than plastic and ceramic. 

See our product profiles for heat retention scores, user trial scores and a breakdown of good and bad points for each cup.

Making a difference? 

Is a BYO cup a sustainable step forward? Only if you use it!

According to the KeepCup website, using one of its plastic (LDPe) recyclable KeepCups for a year instead of disposable paper coffee cups will lead to a:

  • 36–47% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • 64–85% reduction in water use
  • 91–92% reduction in landfill. 

A study from the University of Victoria in Canada created a 'break even' matrix for the energy inputs in production of disposable paper cups compared with reusable plastic, glass and ceramic cups.

The table shows how many times you'd have to use your reusable cup for it to become equally energy-efficient to the production of a paper cup.

Cup material Uses before = energy efficient to paper cup
Glass 15
Plastic 17
Ceramic 39

Shopping links on the CHOICE website

CHOICE is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to helping consumers. Clicking a buy now will take you to a retailer's website to shop. While we make money if you buy through some retailer links, this doesn't influence any rankings. 100% of the money we make goes straight back into our non profit mission. We're currently testing this service and will consider providing more shopping links in the future. Tell us what you think.

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