Everybody needs a little pick-me-up, especially when you are on the go, and nothing quite hits the spot like a hot sweet drink. Maybe you simply can’t function without coffee or perhaps you prefer hot chocolate or just a good old mug of tea. We all have our favourite beverage but when we are out and about we often don’t have the time to chill out in a cafe and this can mean buying yet another single-use cup. Seven million disposable cups are used in the UK alone every single day. They may look like paper or cardboard but throw-away cups have a plastic lining to keep them leak-proof making them difficult to recycle and more likely to end up in landfill. The unicorn solution to the problem is to purchase a reusable coffee cup. Why not show your true colours around town while doing your bit for the environment with a cheeky unicorn mug and spread the good cheer?
Which cup is best for me?
As people become more comfortable with taking reusable coffee cups into our favourite coffee shops and take-outs they are fast becoming an essential accessory and another way to let your true personality shine. With so many styles to choose from now there is certainly a mug for everyone. Suddenly we have a choice of different materials as well as designs which can be confusing! Ceramic, plastic, metal, silicone even bamboo are all available, but are they all good for the environment and which is the best mug for you? Here’s our run-down of the different kinds of travel cups available and a selection of our favourite designs hand-picked for unicorn fans.
Ceramic Travel Cups
Some people simply prefer the feel of a ceramic mug. We all know someone who simply will not drink tea out of anything less than fine bone china. OK, so she’s your mother’s maiden aunt, she’s nutty as a fruitcake and lives with two dozen cats, but before you mock great aunt Gertie, she has a point. Tea will stay hotter for longer in a bone china or fine porcelain cup simply because they tend to be thinner than a conventional mug and so more of the heat stays in the drink itself rather than transferring into the material of the cup. As charming as it is eccentric however, it’s sadly not practical to balance a cup and saucer whilst riding the Tube.
Ceramic reusable coffee cups are an aesthetic choice for those who would simply prefer to be drinking from a conventional mug or cup but appreciate that when purchasing a take-away hot drink, your local coffee shop will not take kindly to you simply strolling out with one of their regular mugs. The benefit of a ceramic travel cup is that if you remove the lid then you are essentially drinking from something that feels like a regular cup. A travel mug of this kind feels solid and is less easy to knock over than a more lightweight alternative. With this benefit however comes some added weight and they are of course as prone to knocks and drops as a regular drinking mug.
The deciding factor here is how far you are likely to carry your drink. Whether you are drinking on the move, or simply using the cup to transport the drink a short distance from the coffee shop. This very cute cup comes attractively boxed and would make a delightful gift. It has a silicone lid similar to what a paper cup would have, although the lip doesn’t have a closure tab so you may find coffee foam bubbling up and out as you walk. It has double-wall insulation, keeping the liquid hotter while the cup remains cooler to the touch. This would be a great choice for the short journey from coffee shop to desk for anyone who prefers the feel of a traditional cup.
Stainless Steel Travel Mugs
Stainless steel will last you a very long time as it is sturdy and hard-wearing enough to take a few knocks without coming to any harm. These type of mugs are ideal for camping as well as commuting and the design with its slim base means it will fit quite easily into the drinks holders of most cars. I have a few travel mugs of this type which get used fairly regularly and are still going strong after several years. With the lid fully closed your drink will stay hot for quite a long time too due to the double-wall design. The white stainless steel is of these mugs is very attractive and the cute design is printed on both sides which is something I always prefer. This way whether you are left or right-handed, the picture is there for all to see that you are a crazy unicorn girl, and you can see the design too while you use it – win win!
The capacity of this cup is 14 oz so plenty big enough for a tall coffee or an extra-large mug of tea if you are carrying this out with you from home. If you tend to go for a grande size coffee however you may struggle to get all the foam in this one as they usually weigh in at around 16 oz. It’s unclear if this one is dishwasher safe, however I have never owned a dishwasher and I have always found these cups very easy to wash the old-fashioned way, in the sink. This is our top choice if you prefer your mug with a handle.
If a leak-proof travel mug is your prime consideration then this next choice in stainless steel is a winner. This is a fully vacuum insulated totally leak-proof coffee cup. It has more of a conventional carry-out coffee cup shape, so if a handle is not a necessary feature for you, this bright cheery cup is ideal to keep your drink hot on a longer journey.The sleepy little unicorn on the front looks like she needs a shot of coffee pretty quick and the snap-on, drinking lip will ensure you can get your caffeine fix whilst travelling on a train, tube or bus without the fear of spills. The top screws on for security and for ease of opening for filling or washing but is not suitable for the dishwasher. The capacity is 350 ml so will hold a 12 oz hot beverage easily. Because it is leak-proof this cup can be placed in the drinks pouch of a rucksack or hold-all without fear of spills so if you need to dash across the station or hop from bus to bus your drink will be safe, and hot while you do.
Bamboo Travel Cups
Fancy a grass cup? Yes, you read that right – bamboo is actually a type of grass. Springing up to a metre in height in the space of a week, bamboo is one of the planet’s fastest growing plants and the fastest growing trend in eco-friendly cups, mugs, plates and other tableware. Bamboo is also dishwasher safe although you cannot put it in the microwave. It is an increasingly popular choice for its eco-credentials and funky modern feel. When your cup reaches the end of its life, it can be composted like other plant matter.
Bamboo is a material similar in feel as a traditional paper coffee cup. It is just as rigid as any of the other cups featured here however and not flimsy, but it can get hot to the touch so I would recommend you approach it as you would a cardboard cup. This is because unlike stainless steel or ceramic, bamboo cups are not usually double-walled. It’s great for transporting your take-away from your local barista to your place of work but if you are thinking of carrying it over longer distances you will be glad of the silicone band.
Some bamboo cups combine bamboo with rubber or silicone for the lid as with this delightful midnight blue design featuring cartoon unicorns frolicking amongst cupcakes and sweets. The combination of bamboo with rubber or silicone lids and grip-bands is a practical one as they are as durable as a 100% bamboo cup, but often less expensive. Some people find the feint odour of silicone or rubber a little off-putting however the scent will fade over time and many people don’t seem to notice it at all. If you are simply using your bamboo cup to transport your drink from the local barista back to the office, then bamboo and silicone is a great budget choice as you can always take the lid off back at your desk if you prefer.
Our next choice is this cute bamboo cup features a prancing white unicorn, with rainbow mane and tail urging us to ‘believe in magic’. The lid here is also made from bamboo for those who don’t like a rubber or silicone lid. It also screws on securely to prevent spills. Bamboo cups can be quite slippery to the touch so again this one also has a silicone grip band but overall is made up of a higher percentage of bamboo for the eco-purists.
Our Favourite Choice
Our next cup is totally different to anything we have ever seen before and sure to turn heads, not least because of the beautiful turquoise colour and unicorn motif. Designed as a wine glass, this cup is made from stainless steel and is also a thermal cup so it will keep your drink hot or cold as required with no transference of heat to the hand. The perfect choice for taking to Christmas markets for mulled wine, or relaxing at a BBQ with a chilled Prosecco on a warm day! The cup comes complete with an eco-friendly reusable steel straw that even has its own cleaning brush. If you prefer you can of course simply sip from the lip, I guess it depends if your drink is hot or cold. Not as large as some other mugs on this page, this beautiful cup will still hold a conventional size cup of tea or coffee, measuring just over the size of a standard carbonated drinks can. The lid is clear plastic with a metal rim and resembles the top of a fizzy drinks can. Because it also comes with a reusable metal straw this would be fabulous for anyone with a disability which means they have to use a drinking straw.While many people agree that disposable plastic straws are a scourge on the planet, some people genuinely require straws in order to drink, and paper straws I’m afraid simply don’t stand up to the rigours of a hot drink.
We love the gentle curve of this one, the way it just rests in the hand and catches the light with all the dazzle of a real unicorn. This adorable, versatile drinking vessel is surely destined to become a design classic, especially as it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Unicorn Travel Mugs for All
So there you have it, ceramic, bamboo and stainless steel, three reusable options for environmentally friendly unicorns everywhere. With so many fabulous unicorn motifs, there’s a reusable travel cup for everyone, whether you are heading out on a long journey, hopping on and off public transport, or simply popping out to the coffee shop on the corner. Whichever style you choose, unicorns everywhere are able to do their bit to avoid single-use drinks carriers whilst spreading the unicorn magic wherever we go. Which one is your favourite? We love to read your feedback, and if you have any other suggestions about this subject or ideas to reduce waste and keep the planet unicorn-friendly we’d love to read them in the comments below.