The whole idea of having a reusable coffee cup is that you only need to buy it once.
However, it seems like so many people own several, whilst never using them - because they’re just not that great. Leaky, bulky or with a funny taste, shoddy coffee cups end up worse for the environment if they’re thrown away or simply aren’t used enough. Compared to disposable cups, it can take 20 to 100 uses for a reusable one to offset its higher carbon cost of manufacture.
As you might imagine, we’re very fussy about our reusable cups. For us, both durability and functionality are paramount. If you’re going to be incentivised to remember your cup, keep it washed and carry it around, it has to offer a great experience.
Introducing Sttoke. One of our Australian team members brought our attention to this product, which is making a name for itself as the coffee drinker’s choice for unspoiled flavour. Designed in Melbourne and rising in popularity worldwide, this sleek little number was the Gold Winner in the 2018 Good Design Awards product design category. It promises no weird aftertaste, a drink that stays hot for hours and a beautiful, balanced design in a range of colourful styles. It even comes with a 2 year warranty. But at £30, is it worth the price? We decided to put it through its paces and find out.
As first impressions go, the Sttoke outperforms any reusable cup we’ve seen before - it’s minimalistic, yet unique in appearance. The cup has a slender profile, with no handle, no silicone sleeve and no enormous chunky lid. The Sttoke comes in an 8oz and 12oz size (a regular or large coffee). We opted for the 8oz, as it fits in most coffee machines and we liked the serving size.
What supposedly sets this product apart from any other cup on the market is the shatter proof Greblon® ceramic coating of the cup’s interior, which is durable, easy to clean and flavourless. The cup itself is made of high-grade stainless steel, double-layered like a thermos, with an attractive anodised surface finish and a discreet rubbery base to help prevent knocks. The flat spill-proof lid is made of a rigid, transparent BPA free plastic, and has a sliding top over the mouth opening. A rubber seal keeps the lid snug inside the cup.
Due to the double-layered walls of the cup, the Sttoke offers a high level of insulation, promising a hot drink for 3 hours, and a cold one for 6 hours. We were pleasantly surprised to find this was accurate, so long as the drinking hole remained closed using the slider. No matter what temperature the liquid was inside, the outside of the Sttoke remained comfortable to hold. Whilst we adjusted to using the cup and accounting for its efficiency, burned mouths were a frequent occurrence!
When using reusable cups in the past, some Buy Me Once team members have complained of an unpleasant silicone, plastic or metallic taste affecting the flavour of their morning brew. Despite having a plastic lid, the Sttoke seems to bypass this completely with its ceramic interior, and even after 30 days’ use still kept the pure taste of the beverage inside. Our frequent coffee drinkers have particularly noticed this - as flavour purists, they had been taking ceramic mugs to cafes! It’s no wonder the Sttoke is becoming well-known as the coffee connoisseur’s choice.
Thanks to its rubber seal, the Sttoke’s lid is very snug. We’ve found it to be trustworthy when walking or driving, and have had no issue tucking it, full of hot liquid, under an arm to carry a bunch of other stuff. However, when the Sttoke promises to be ‘spill-proof’, we’ve found this only means it won’t pop open catastrophically. If it is knocked over on a table whilst full, a few drips do come out, and Stoke’s website does state this.
Despite having no handle or grip points, the Sttoke is designed to fit really nicely in the hand, feeling secure to hold. The lid is tight but easy to pry off safely, due to the slight extra lip on one side.
Drinking from the Sttoke did take some getting used to, as the mouth hole is set pretty deep below the rim - about 1cm. With a fairly large hole and a slight channel guiding liquid out, this opening replicates drinking from a mug, without the sloshing risk. When you tip back the cup, a little pool of liquid is created in this channel, which you can slurp from carefully as you would any fresh cup of coffee.
This clever design allows you to drink hotter liquid more safely and naturally, as temperature can be gauged with your lips. It may also be helping the flavour too, by minimising your mouth’s contact with plastic. With other lids we’ve tried, including disposable ones, you have to suck boiling liquid from a small hole, or tip it into your mouth hoping for the best.
When it comes to Buy Me Once testing, it doesn’t matter how lovely a product is - if it doesn’t last, it’s not going to make the cut. The Sttoke cup is covered by a 2 year warranty against manufacturing defects, which is a good indication that it’s a well-made item. But during the month, we wanted to really put it through the wars. Our Sttoke suffered all kinds of abuse, surviving several drops whilst both full and empty. Not only did it not break, the lid stayed firmly on every time and only dripped a tiny amount of liquid. The bonded stainless steel and ceramic is clearly not just a pretty face.
When reading other reviews of the Sttoke, a persistent gripe was that the outside surface gets easily scratched. Ours suffered a little throughout the month, but despite rough treatment the scratches on our metallic pink cup were neither extensive nor immediately visible. A matte coating might suffer more, however. Our conclusion? If you’re concerned about cosmetic damage, look after your cup and pop it in a cloth bag before stuffing inside your rucksack. And below surface level, the Sttoke really is one tough cookie.
We found the Sttoke cup to be very easy to clean - at least once we read on their website exactly how to do so properly. The sliding mechanism in the lid (an ideal place for grime to collect), can actually be popped out using a teaspoon handle, and all parts washed thoroughly. We at first didn’t realise that the Sttoke should be cleaned with a soft sponge only - the lid has subsequently gotten pretty scratched up from scourer use. This has not affected the functionality of the cup, but feeds into our general conclusion that this cup should be treated with care, in accordance with the manufacturer’s advice.
In a market saturated with countless reusable cups and travel mugs, the Sttoke manages to offer something better, and something different. Between all our team members we’ve tried so many cool cups made from organic bamboo, recycled materials and cork. But as soon as we get a hint of a bad taste, they’re relegated to the back of the cupboard. The Sttoke offers not just neutral flavour, but also a balanced ergonomic design, a sleek, minimalistic appearance and impressive durability. Crucially, these design features add up to real, consistent everyday use, and thus an actual positive difference being made upon the world. We believe strongly in refusing single-use items, and are now even more incentivised to do so.
The Sttoke has converted us all: coffee snobs, office tea guzzlers and reusable cup newbies alike. The whole design has clearly been carefully considered, resulting in a beautiful product that offers a fantastic experience. It may require a little looking after, but for a clean taste and lasting heat, we think this product is worth it. The 2 year warranty is an extra assurance that Sttoke have faith in their design, and we’re certain that, with some care, your sturdy Sttoke cup could last for many, many years.