Taste The Earth Blog

What Is The Most Durable Travel Mug?

by Mark Morphew on Jun 22, 2022

What Is The Most Durable Travel Mug?

If you regularly spend a small fortune on overpriced takeaway coffee, why not brew coffee at home and then take it with you?

Here at Taste The Earth, we take our coffee mugs very seriously. Our world runs on caffeine, and you'll find us sipping away on coffee in one of our ceramic insulated travel mugs from practically anywhere.

Sat at the desk, stuck in the morning commute, or trekking in the great outdoors with the family.

But not all travel mugs are created equally, and there are many that are marketed as being the best when in reality they suck at keeping coffee hot, start to fall apart, and are rendered useless within only a few months.

We get it. Weeding out the mediocre travel mugs to find the gems can be a challenge. So in this blog post, we've done some of the legwork to put you on the right path to finding the best travel mug you can.

What To Look For In A Travel Mug?

In the long run, it's much more affordable to invest in a good quality travel mug rather than regularly getting takeaway coffee, and better for the environment too.

But before you pull out your wallet, you'll want to take note of a few critical key factors before parting with your hard-earned money.

It Must Have Excellent Heat Retention

Excellent insulation is a crucial attribute of any good travel mug, and being able to enjoy hot coffee for hours is a must. But insulation works both ways, and enjoying cold drinks is also possible too.

Most popular travel mugs use vacuum insulation, which is basically two walls with a small vacuum sandwiched in between. The science behind it is pretty neat!

Since a vacuum does not conduct heat, there is no path for the heat to escape or even for cold drinks to warm up. The temperature outside the mug also cannot penetrate through to the inside.

So make sure the mug you finally settle on has vacuum insulation. It really is a must!

It Has To Be 100% Spill/Leak Proof

This is non-negotiable. It shouldn't leak!

Navigating through rush hour traffic, gripping your steering wheel with one hand and your mug in the other, the last thing you want is hot coffee spilling down your nicely pressed shirt. Not a good look!

Most travel mugs do a reasonably good job keeping the drink securely locked inside but often fail if the mug is placed horizontally, say in a gym bag.

To be honest, a travel mug isn't designed to be thrown in a bag or left on its side. An insulated bottle with a screw cap will be a better alternative if you're a regular gym-goer.

Look for a mug that has a tight-fitting lid, with a rubber seal and a lockable mouthpiece.

Travel Mug Material/Construction

Most popular travel mugs and tumblers are manufactured from either plastic, stainless steel, ceramic, or a combination.

If durability is your main concern, stainless steel should be on your radar, and as an added bonus, it retains heat far better than plastic too. Stainless steel is also one of the better materials when it comes to vacuum insulation - aka heat retention.

Unfortunately, stainless steel often affects the taste of the drinks stored inside. The science behind this is unclear; even today, it is hotly debated.

However, you can solve this issue by buying a travel mug that has a ceramic coating.

You have all of the benefits of stainless steel, but your drink won't retain any strange flavors or odors - it's just like drinking out of a regular ceramic coffee mug at home.

Get The Right Size For You?

Apart from the material used in manufacturing the travel mug, you must settle on the correct size.

The choice you make really comes down to your personal preference - how much coffee are you going to get through in one sitting?

If you often guzzle down a pot of coffee before lunch, you'll likely be unhappy with a tiny insulated travel cup.

Our advice is always to buy a mug that's bigger than you'll need.

That way, you'll always have room for those days when you require slightly more refreshment. Monday mornings, we hear ya!

How Easy Is It To Clean?

Nobody enjoys cleaning, so why make your life more difficult by purchasing a travel mug that's a challenge to keep clean.

Some mugs are an absolute pain to keep clean, and more often than not, bacteria will start to grow in hard-to-reach places where even the most thorough cleaning can't reach.

Most of the best travel mugs are easy to take apart for cleaning and can be placed in the dishwasher. Even the material used to manufacture a mug can make a big difference in how easy it is to keep the cup clean and stain-free.

Again stainless steel comes out on top, and it can be easily cleaned and resists permanent staining.

There's a reason why industrial kitchen counters are made from stainless steel - one word: hygienic.

It Should Be Easy To Use

This goes without saying, but a travel mug should be easy to use.

Unfortunately, many mugs in the market are "over constructed," which makes them almost impossible to easily operate compared to others.

If you're parachuting over the Nevada desert, great, you want your drink locked inside. But if you're navigating the morning madness on the roads, you don't want to be fumbling around trying to open your insulated mug to get a sip of coffee.

Ideally, a travel mug that can be opened and closed with a flick of a finger and doesn't block your vision when you're driving should be your top priority - unless you enjoy parachuting!

Durability: Will It Last The Distance?

We touched on durability earlier, but it's worth discussing it a bit more because it can be a deal-breaker.

If you're an outdoorsy type, durability is something that shouldn't be overlooked. You'll definitely want a travel mug that can take a few knocks and bumps.

Materials such as plastic might seem like a great option, but they are prone to becoming scratched and can crack if dropped from a significant height.

Another problem with plastic is that it becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria once it becomes chipped and scratched on the surface.

Stainless steel or even stainless steel with a ceramic inner coating will be the best options for a travel mug to take with you when you're out in the wilderness or hiking up the side of a mountain.

How Does It Affect The Taste Of Your Coffee?

There's more to choosing a good travel mug than just the material, the size, and durability - don't forget about taste.

The type of material you choose can affect the perceived taste of the beverage inside. Even the color of the mug can influence the way your coffee tastes.

A study out of BioMed Central 2014 by Van Doorn, et al. supports the theory that the color of a mug can influence your multisensory drinking experience.

The team behind the study wanted to determine whether a coffee drinker's perception would be influenced by the color of the mug from which the coffee was served.

So settling on the right color is one factor you need to consider.

But when it comes to taste, we suggest buying an insulated travel mug made from stainless steel with a ceramic coating. The ceramic will form a layer to stop any unwanted tastes from leaking into your coffee or other beverage of choice.

You can find a good quality insulated tumbler with a ceramic coating right here.

Our popular travel mugs are made with stainless steel and ceramic, with a tight-fitting lid, and they tick all the boxes regarding durability.

📌 If you're on the hunt for a good, durable, insulated travel mug, we've got you covered. You can browse our popular range here.


Mark MorphewMark Morphew is a freelance writer specializing in digital marketing and the hospitality sector. He helps coffee, catering, and food tech businesses create better content that drives more traffic and increases customer engagement.