Serious Eats: Drinks
Coffee To Go: The KeepCup
Is there a viable alternative to takeout coffee cups that can satisfy both coffee drinkers and baristas? KeepCup hopes so: Check out one Australian company's "perfect" reusable cup.
Available in four sizes (and fully color-customizable on keepcup.com), this sturdy little sip-and-go container is designed not only with sustainability in mind, but also coffee craftsmanship. The short, squat shape is intended to better allow baristas to mimic to-stay quality drinks in to-go convenient vessels: The smaller versions actually fit directly under the portafilter spouts on most espresso machines, and the different size options encourage a perfect coffee-to-milk ratio for most common types of cafe beverages. An eight-ounce KeepCup, for instance, holds the perfect cappuccino; the twelve ouncer is a latte-lover's dream. There's even a large, for all that totally necessary drip coffee on especially rough mornings.
(In my opinion, you can skip the mini: If you don't have time to drink a three-swallow espresso or macchiato out of a real ceramic cup, then you probably don't have time to go to a cafe to order an espresso or a macchiato in the first place.)
The little cuties are made of noninsulated plastic with "thermal properties similar to paper," so don't expect to let your Americano marinate at the same temperature all day: These aren't thermoses, they are waste-reducing tumblers. They're also admittedly not a reinvention of the takeout-coffee wheel. There are countless versions of basically the same thing (e.g. the "I am not a paper cup" cup, and even Mug Hug, a reusable silicone lid meant to transform your kitchen cup into an on-the-go option). Heck, everyone has gotten a travel mug from a coworker for a birthday at some point, right?
The main differences here might be a) how precious and customizable the KeepCup is, b) that there's a wide range of appropriate sizes, and c) the sheer audacity of the Earth-friendy marketing jargon the company employs. ("Compared to a disposable paper cup, KeepCup [including coffee] reduces landfill by up to 99%." Really? Intense!)
The shape and sizes alone are enough to recommend them, and the colors are a nice touch indeed. After all: If you're going to do your part to save the world, you may as well do it with a caffeinated degree of pizzazz, right?
Available from $10 at KeepCup.com.
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, an audacious eater, and a smiling runner, but she remains a Nervous Cook.