If you’re an avid coffee drinker and you’re toying with the idea of a zero-waste (or lower-waste) lifestyle, your first step should be bringing your own thermos or mug to your local java spot. Trading your daily paper to-go cup for a more eco-conscious reusable mug isn’t just about sustainability. Experts like Natalie Slavutsky of Brooklyn Diamond Coffee agree that coffee actually tastes better out of ceramic, glass, or stainless steel than paper or plastic. “You’re just getting a better cup of coffee than in a paper cup,” says Slavutsky.
If that doesn’t convince you to make a change, “many cafés reward customers who bring in reusable drink ware with a discount for helping them move towards being more sustainable,” says Allie Caran, director of education at Partner’s Coffee. Here are the best reusable mugs and tumblers to bring into your local coffee shop according to baristas, coffee entrepreneurs, and one environmentally minded former Strategist editor.
KeepCup 12 oz. reusable coffee cup
“I like KeepCups because they’re made for baristas to pour into so they’re the easiest for us to make latte art in,” says Lareau. She also notes that, because of their small size, KeepCups are easier to use when making cortados or cappuccinos. Ryan Fisher, director of operations and roaster at GoodBoyBob Coffee in Santa Monica, California, likes KeepCups because they’re stylish and the glass gets his coffee to the exact temperature he likes quickly.
Yeti Rambler 30 oz. stainless steel tumbler
As a former espresso slinger at Marlow & Sons in Brooklyn, Derek Van Heule of Sticks Coffee Roasting in Mariposa, California, has had a while to refine his tumbler tastes. His go-to is the Yeti Rambler. “It fits into my car cupholder — a lot of travel mugs don’t — and it keeps my coffee hot for a long time. I like that it’s simply designed and durable,” he says.
Zojirushi 12 oz. Stainless Mug
Coffee director Gina Gerfao of Blue State Coffee knows it’s important to encourage people if you want to make real change. “Part of our mission is to minimize our environmental impact through sustainable practices, so we try to incentivize customers to bring their own mug by offering a 50-cent discount.” Her pick, the Zojirushi insulated travel mug, has also been a Strategist favorite for years.
Hydro Flask 12 oz. Food Flask
Former Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens uses this Hydro Flask for her daily caffeine dose. “I drink lattes, which are eye-rollingly expensive when you add the almond milk and the tip and maybe get it iced. I got this thermos-like container for my morning coffee. Its stocky profile reminds me of the soup containers we all lugged around in elementary school.”
Ember Mug temperature-control ceramic cup
If, like Ryan Seacrest, you’re fanatic about drinking your coffee at the optimal temperature, you’ll love the Ember travel mug. You can program the temperature so it stays hot throughout the course of the morning, and I find that to be a luxury. The battery-powered thermos keeps any drink at perfect temperature for as long as you need. A simple twist of the bottom allows you to adjust the temperature. But if that’s too much work, you can customize your mug through an app on your phone.