Best BYO Reusable coffee cups

ABC’s War on Waste put the spotlight on the environmental impact of disposable coffee cups, so we’ve published a review of a selection of reusable coffee cups - KeepCup, Frank Green, Klean Kanteen and the like.

Do you use a BYO cup? Do you agree with our ratings? Is there another brand you’d recommend? It’d be great to get your feedback!

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It is, and has always been, an offence under health regulations for the handling of a cup you’ve brought unless they wash it to know it is hygienic and then wash their hands.

This was how the last campaign (for foam cups) was defeated and there is a point to consider for the next person who is made a coffee with the hands that touched your germs.
Is a do it yourself boiling hot rinse and dry stand the answer?


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In relation to reusable cups, we use two varieties.

  1. The keepcup which are okay (we have three)…we don’t tend to carry hot drinks for a long time and consume quickly, so the heat retention is not a factor for us. This lid is useful if walking some distance with the cup (but the lid can be difficult to install at times).

  2. a Standard ‘run of the mill’ porcelain mug. That being similar to the drink in varieties used by cafes. Reliable and will have an extremely long life providing it isn’t dropped.

The second option is heavier and harder to drink on the move (requires a steadier hand), but okay if one returns say to their work desk or sits on a park bench.

@beatthebastards, could you provide some links verifying that this is the case such as links to government health/food outlet policies or regulations.

The reason why is I imagine that it wouldn’t pass the reasonable person test.

A customer provided cup has similar risks to a store provided disposal or china cup. If a customer chose not to wash a reusable cup and it was very filthy, has biological growths in it (why one would chose not to is anyone’s guess?), which is obvious to the barista, the barista has two options, either wash the cup for the customer or refuse to serve the customer. The later would mean they would possibly lose the customer for every and the former would ensure they retain the customer for life.

I know that some restaurants refuse ‘doggy bags/containers’ as they have had advice indicating that if someone gets sick from the food because it was poorly stored after leaving a restaurant, it may come back to bite the restaurant. This again does not pass the reasonable person test as everyone would then be obliged to eat in every food outlet where the food was served (effectively killing off the takeaway/delivered food industry in Australia).

I suspect that this could be an urban myth.


There are a number of good links in this post.

Bottom line is that it is not illegal. In fact some cafes offer discounts to those with reusable cups and there is a finder included here. (enter city and state not postcode)


I have been using a selection of excellent mugs of my own for between 2-3yrs now, you have to be careful of the seal on them, have bought mine online from Peters of Kensington (I do not live in NSW and they are in Sydney) much cheaper even with the postage than the local Kitchen Shops etc., the best by far are made by Contigo, they have a lock as well as a seal that is second to none.
My local drive-through gives a free double shot for the above as well.
I have never liked my coffee from the throw away variety, so this is why I changed. Because I have a few, there is always a clean one in the car.

I have been using reusable cups for about 5 years years. I prefer stainless steel (usually the Woollies ones, similar to Thermocafe but no handle) to plastic, as they maintain the heat and also the latter seem to change the taste. I also have a glass one (from 1 Million Women, similar to KeepCup Brew) which doesn’t hold the heat as well as others but feels nice to hold.

@beatthebastards I have been refused use of my own plastic containers, but never my cup/s. I often reuse them on long trips with no chance to wash thoroughly between uses. Sometimes the person serving will ask whether i want it washed. If there’s a dribble of tea in the cup they just tip it out. I see this as my risk, and as I don’t drink cow’s milk, the risk is small, certainly no greater than reusing a mug at home which I do all day.
However, a DIY washing stand would be appreciated. Perhaps next to the DIY drinking water that many cafés provide these days.

One issue–I tend to lose reusable cups; they are easy to leave behind. So i wouldn’t spend more than $12 on one.

ABC TV had a segment on the morning show earlier today about a coffee shop in Sydney that has stopped using plastic/cardboard cups and asks people to bring their own containers, as well as having a stock of ceramic cups for emergencies.
Look up ‘Mug Movement’ if interested in details,


Good survey and very timely, but I wish you had included leakage in the criteria. My biggest beef with the Keepcups is that they leak through the seal that covers the drinking hole. I’ve had numerous situations where coffee dregs have leaked onto the contents of my handbag or backpack. The glass Brew lids look a bit more sturdy, so might perform better.

Good to see stats on heat retention. I bought a Brew on advice from the cafe that they were good for heat retention - against my instinct, given that they aren’t double-walled. First use showed me I should have trusted my instincts! I gave it away.

If you repeat this survey, I’d like to see collapsible coffee cups included e.g. Stojo. Like others commenting, I’ve lost a lot of keep cups (hopefully someone picks them up and uses them), so one that can collapse and fit in a pocket or small handbag would be great! They claim they don’t leak, but that’s something I’d like to see put to the test before purchasing.


Why not wipe your cup out with a tissue before storing, easy fix, and the whole exercise is to be kind to the planet so there is always going to be an extra bit of effort, I find the feeling of doing something so positive outways the extra time it takes to save on waste. I have seen a brilliant new reusable cup being advertised through social media called pottery for the planet, each one is hand made and fired in a kiln, they are beautiful. So good to see that people are jumping on the war on waste issue, I have been going as plastic free as possible for a few months now and when I look at how much less just our family uses, it is mind blowing to try to imagine thousands of people and the difference that will make. I used to half fill my bin with plastic bags from my supermarket fruit and vegie shop, always thought it was a waste, now I have reusable vegie bags, just that saves about 12 bags a week, not to mention the shopping bags as well. Anyway, off the subject there, stick with the reusable cups even if it is an extra effort, the fuzzy feel good feeling is good for you ha ha.


Hey, don’t shoot me down for making a suggestion!

I DO use reusable cups - just saying that one of the criteria I would like to see tested is leakage.

As for using a tissue to wipe the cup clean, there’s a lot of liquid left over from the milk froth of a latte.

If we want to save the planet then we need solutions that are convenient for people who don’t care that much as well as those who do.

Thanks for the suggestion @srushworth, I’ll be sure to pass on your feedback. Leakage was one element considered in the user trials but perhaps we can add a score or some more detail in the future.

Looking at the latest list I cannot understand how a 100% plastic keep cup is the best that the is.

When Klean Kanteen Insulated Tumbler is rated lower but has stainless steel body & keeps liquid hot for longer .

Klean Kanteen is a lot more expensive but will last longer as it’s Stainless Steel.



We have two SS insulated mugs, although the concern re insulation quality;

Is it more usual for us to buy and drink a coffee within ten to fifteen minutes of purchase, so does the insulation matter? Even less if you subscribe to the tradition of early morning Italian injection of a double espresso, (10-15seconds).

Hopefully the Kleen Kanteen RRP is a gross exaggeration based on feeling good by going greener. One litre capacity SS thermos which will hold a double grande can be purchased for less. In which instance the one coffee purchase will last all day? Discount for the bulk buy optional!

One view on the serving temperature.

In which instance the tests should be done from a max of 60C.

At what temperature is a coffee too cold to enjoy?

It may be that insulation quality is critical for those who dislike like warm anything!


We have stainless steel and plastic ones. While I agree that stainless steel has some benefits, one of the main drawbacks we have found is the stainless steel of the cup gets very hot when hot liquid passes over it, and because metal conducts heat well, it tends to burn ones lips when drinking. The same burning sensation does not exist with plastic (or glass) cups.

We find drinking from plastic ones such as keep cups more enjoyable and comfortable, and use these as a result in preference to our 100% stainless ones.

5 billion of these are made per year…Such a waste for a 10 minute drink. I have made the decision to not buy my coffee this way and have bought an array of Keep Cups including a carry bag. .

They are awesome and if I can’t use one I don’t get a coffee…simple.
It would be great if cafes would offer a small discount for each coffee purchased using a re-usable cup.


I just did a bit of research, it apparently costs between 27c and 36c per disposable paper cup, not including the cost of the lid! Cafes should start incentivising using reusable cups by giving a 30c discount for those who use them.

Also, a quick improvement can be had by simply refusing to take a lid when you don’t really need one.


There Are around some great Coffee cups Environmental friendly . I would worry more about plastic bags, lids And Coffee pods actually… Said that, bringing your own Coffee cup into a cafe has pros and cons. i used to Have a Coffee Shop and you’d Be handed many times cups Which still have Coffee residue a in it ( Could you please rinse it For me) or Have The most diverse size to the takeaway cups. Sometimes they do Not even fint underneath The groups…
I think it would Be too difficult ( and Not fair) to ask For a discount if coming with your own cup considering all this.
The cost if cups and lids For a Coffee Shop also varies a lot.
My suggestion? Take your time snd Sit down and Have your Coffee in a ceramic cup, relax and Enjoy. Best For you and The environment


Quite a few cafes in Melbourne do give a discount if you bring your own cup. Not all yet, but I think it may be a growing trend.


Wow, that is quite a big cost, Kalpana. It would be a great incentive to offer a discount. I think it would also be a great thing if the reusable cups were sold at cafes. I know some do.
Gipsycook, I agree with you that we need to worry about plastic bags, pods and lids as well. Just not more. I think all topics are as relevant as each other. I’m sorry that your experience with reusable cups has not been great.
Perhaps it would be fair to not offer the discount if a customer brings a dirty cup? There must be a way that it can be worked to make it doable for everyone concerned.
Any change has its bugs and perhaps just need some time to work them out.
Sitting down to have your coffee at the cafe is always the preferred option for me. I just don’t always have the time.


Just out of curiosity, what is the problem with this? Is it a risk of contamination, or something? I wouldn’t imagine a quick rinse would sterilise the problem.

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