Following the disappointment of the F-Cup, I’d given up looking for ceramic thermal cups for a while. Then a couple of months ago on Twitter I saw a post from Coffee Box for something called the Sttoke Reusable Cup. An insulated metal cup, with a ceramic coating, so you get the heat retention of a travel mug but without the change in taste that you normally get from steel or plastic mugs.
The cups are available in two sizes, 8oz (about 230ml) and 12oz (about 340ml), currently priced at £29.99 and £34.99 respectively on Coffee Box (other retailers are available!). The one I went for is the 8oz blue version and here it is –
It’s a very elegant, almost pretty thing. The ceramic is lovely and smooth on the outside and it feels really nice in your hand. The outside remains cool, regardless of the temp of the liquid inside and I’m pleased to be able to say that it retains heat really well. Cups like these are never going to keep heat in the same way as a dedicated thermos or the like, but you can have a drink in there for a good couple of hours and still find it pleasantly warm.
So there’s the pros. It looks nice, it feels nice, and it does exactly what you want a thermal cup to do – It keeps your drinks warm. However, there are a couple of caveats.
The first is that to call the lid “spill proof” is perhaps stretching the meaning of those words just a smidge. While, yes, it will keep your drink from pouring out all over your desk if you knock it over thanks to the rubber seal holding it quite snugly in place, it’s far from sealed. If you tip this over, it WILL dribble coffee everywhere so don’t think you can just close the lid and stick it into your bag, you’ll end up with coffee everywhere.
The second issue I have with it is the ceramic coating inside. It’s being slowly but steadily chipped away as I stir my coffee inside it. I’ve had this cup four months, and you can see the damage steel teaspons have already done to it in the pictures below. This is from using it once or twice a day, almost every day over the last four months so I am a little concerned about the longevity of this coating.
The last concern I have is with the lid. The little slider that covers the opening is prone to getting coffee underneath it as you drink. It is removable for cleaning, but it requires so much effort to get it to pop free that I’m genuinely concerned that something is going to snap each time I remove it and if you are someone who struggles with gripping things or has problems with the strength in your hands you might find this a problem. That said, you certainly can’t say that it’s not on there securely.
All in all, though, do I like this cup? I really do. Initially I was disappointed with how small it is, but actually now I rather like it as it leads to making stronger, more intense drinks. I have a double shot of espresso each time, topped up with either hot water or steamed milk and it’s just lovely every time. While there are some niggles about the lid, and some nitpicks, I definitely don’t regret spending the money on it.
Oh! I almost forgot! It has one odd little habit if you have the drinking hole closed. It TICKS. It burbles away to itself with these funny little ticking, popping noises, like sitting next to a bowl of rice crispies. Even if you’ve only got the dregs of your drink left, you can hear it chattering away to itself. The documentation does also note that you need to leave the hole slightly open to make sure the steam doesn’t build up pressure inside the cup. Last thing you want is the lid popping off all by itself.
If you want a cup for home, something a bit different from your usual coffee mug, something to sit on your desk while you work, something that’s going to let you sip at the same cup of coffee for an hour without getting cold, this is definitely worth your hard-earned money.