KeepCup Travel Mug Review
The KeepCup is a super-sleek travel mug that was designed in Australia as an alternative to paper and styrofoam to-go cups that are simply no-good for the environment.
But, there is already a huge market for travel mugs that serve this purpose, so what else makes the KeepCup unique?
Well, my KeepCup is made of glass and has a silicone lid with a cork band around the body. They also make other versions of the cup with silicone bands and plastic bodies. You can mix and match colors and materials on their website as well for a completely customized KeepCup.
The other thing that makes the KeepCup unique is that it is one of the few travel mugs out there that is not really intended to keep your coffee hot, which means that the "keep" part of its name has nothing to do with maintaining the coffee's temperature.
It also has a decent sized sipping hole that helps you take in the coffee's aroma and therefore, actually taste your coffee's nuances. This was the huge selling point for me, because thermal travel mugs tend to mask the aroma and taste of the coffee when drinking straight from the mugs themselves.
The KeepCup does correct this, which is awesome.
But unfortunately, this is where the benefits stopped for me...
When I first started using my KeepCup I noticed some really funky side effects that came with the lid.
For one, it had a pretty nasty plastic smell that ruined my coffee-drinking experience. On top of this, I noticed some of the lid was actually leeching/chipping its green color into my coffee!
At this point, I was ready to cast the KeepCup away forever...or at the very least, stop using the lid entirely.
However, I kept using it, which seemed to prime the lid eventually. Sure, through my trials and tribulations I may have ingested a few cancerous compounds here are there, but the plastic smell and leeching eventually went away. KeepCup is also very serious about using food safe materials as they mention on their website:
The KeepCup and all its components are BPA free! The cup itself and the lid are made from polypropylene, the plug is a polyethylene polymer called TPU (we are attempting to source this in biodegradable form), and the thermal band is made from silicone.
We researched our plastics with care. Polypropylene #5 is the safe food grade plastic.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is contained in polycarbonate (plastic #7). The other plastic to avoid as reusable is #2 PET. These numbers relate to the chemical compounds used to manufacture the plastic and must be displayed.
The second issue I have with the lid is that it isn't a twist-off. This may seem a bit nit-picky, but let me explain...
Picture the scene (or just watch the video review above): you have a full, hot cup of coffee with the lid attached on your commute to work, everything is going great until you get to the office. You decide you want to remove the lid, but because it's so firmly attached you have to give it a pretty good tug. All of a sudden, the lid detaches and you spill the coffee everywhere from the excessive force of your pull.
It's kind of like sitting in a chair and having it pulled out from under you. In basketball, we call "pulling the chair" a situation where the defender who is getting backed down in the low post is forcefully pushing back, when all of a sudden he/she decides to simply stop pushing back. The offensive player then loses balance, kind of like they would from having a chair pulled out from under them.
Anyways, if you can picture it, that is what this lid situation reminds me of...and this is why I wish it were a twist-off.
Finally, the lid isn't really that spill-proof. You may have seen what I mean about the leaking in the video review, but obviously this is a big downside.
Of course, this is only really an issue if you turn the KeepCup upside down, but I'd still hope for more from such an expensive travel mug.
The glass version I own is very sturdy glass that I'm confident would take a good amount of force to break. Of course, I wouldn't recommend conducting any stress tests or intentionally dropping it on the ground to find out if it will survive.
I'm also a big fan of the recycled wine cork band around the body. Really, a beautiful and functional design.
I can't say for sure how long I expect the cork to last from frequent use, but I think as long as you hand wash it with cold water, it should last a pretty long time.
I will update the review if that changes.
Since this is the first travel mug I'm reviewing here, let me fill you in on the rating categories I'm going to use:
- Temperature Maintenance
In my opinion, the KeepCup is the Chemex of travel mugs in terms of appearance. I love the design of the glass and cork version I own, and this is one of the main reasons I decided I wanted a KeepCup in the first place.
Also, since the KeepCup is completely customizable, it definitely gets bonus points for its looks.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm pretty skeptical that the cork band will last forever. Still, the glass seems to be pretty solid if you choose to go that route. Otherwise, the polypropylene version should last indefinitely.
So, depending on which version you get, I'd say the KeepCup is between a score of 4 (for glass) and 5 (for plastic) in terms of durability.
I don't love the lid. It isn't spill-proof (at least not with hot liquid), and mine was chipping some of its green color into my coffee initially.
The lid has gotten better with time, but I wish it did what it was supposed to do right out of the box. A lid that leaks does not serve its purpose as far as I'm concerned.
I think KeepCup has done a nice job with the materials they've chosen. In fact, it's the materials that make the KeepCup unique in many ways.
Of course, many people would be turned off by the polypropylene elements, but I'm pretty confident that KeepCup is very conscious about safety, as demonstrated by their response to the use of plastics on their website:
The KeepCup is made from polypropylene which is a “thermoplastic polymer,” meaning that it has the density and resins that give it a high melting point (160 degrees Celsius), enabling it to tolerate hot liquid- without breaking down. As such it is used in a wide range of food packaging applications in which the product initially goes into the container hot, or is later microwave heated in the container and is type #5.
Polypropylene #5 is the best food grade plastic for KeepCup due to its thermal stability. The cup is made from polypropylene, the lid from LDPE #4, the plug is a polyethylene polymer called TPU, and the thermal band is made from silicone.
The cup, lid and plug are manufactured in Victoria, Australia. The band is made and printed in China.KeepCup has been independently tested and contains no toxins including BPA. Bisphenol A is contained in polycarbonate #7. The other plastic to avoid as reusable is PET #1. These numbers relate to the chemical compounds used to manufacture the plastic and must be displayed. KeepCups are made from polypropylene #5.
The original polypropylene cups are also manufactured in Victoria, Australia, which is awesome. The glass and silicone bands are manufactured in China. From their website:
KeepCup Brew glass cups and our silicone bands are manufactured and printed in China.Our cork bands originally come from the ancient cork oak forests of Portugal, but are manufactured from the recycled waste material from the wine industry.
The KeepCup retails for as little as $9 (all-plastic) to as much as $24 (glass and cork) on their online store. Amazon also sells the KeepCup, but the selection and pricing varies so you will have to check the listing for the most up-to-date pricing.
Considering this isn't a travel mug that keeps your coffee hot, I don't feel like the price is as justified as it seems. I'm glad I got mine as a gift from mama.
The KeepCup is not made to insulate. Sure, plastic insulates pretty well, but glass is no more effective than a paper cup.
If you value hot coffee, the KeepCup is not going to be a travel mug that you enjoy.
Is the KeepCup for you?
If you value aesthetics and want to enjoy your coffee for the way it's supposed to taste while you're on the move, then I think the KeepCup is actually a great option.
However, if you're looking for something heavy-duty that will keep your coffee hot for hours, the KeepCup definitely is not for you.
Since I'm not a commuter it's hard to say if I'd use the KeepCup over the alternatives. I'd like to say that I would, but I don't know how much I really trust the lid to keep the hot coffee from spilling all over the place.
For example: I like to keep my travel mug in the side pocket of my backpack. I don't think I would ever risk this with the KeepCup. So if you take public transportation, unless you plan on holding your KeepCup the whole time, I'd look into alternatives.
If you are a driving commuter, the KeepCup will treat you just fine...assuming you aren't driving like a crazy person.
Convinced that the KeepCup is for you (or a friend or loved one)? You can add it to your Amazon shopping cart by clicking the button below:
Tried the KeepCup?
If you own a KeepCup I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a message and/or review below!
Don't own the KeepCup and have questions? Ask away!
Last update on 2020-02-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API