Leak-proof travel coffee mug recommendations
February 17, 2005 8:40 AM   Subscribe

TRAVEL COFFEE MUGS: Mine leaks. Which do you use? I want one that's sturdy, benign-to-subtly-attractive in appearance, and will never, ever leak from any of its cracks, crevasses or segment joints in perpetuity throughout the universe.

I gravitate toward stainless steel. I care about the quality of my coffee. I have been told that this one, from Crate & Barrel, is good (and, yes, they have a stainless steel version). Please advise.
posted by gramschmidt to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oxo makes a mug which they swear up and down won't spill. I think all things Good Grips are fabulous, so maybe give that one a shot?
posted by falconred at 9:01 AM on February 17, 2005


My in-laws gave me this hinged Nissan travel mug a couple of years ago. It's got two big benefits over ones I've had in the past.

1) Metal-lined, not plastic. Plastic lining affects the taste of the coffee, in my snooty opinion.
2) One-handed open-and-close. Squeeze the handle as you bring it to your mouth. It keeps the coffee drinkably hot for a long, long, time.

I've given it several good hard drops, too, and it's stayed together just fine.
posted by Plutor at 9:05 AM on February 17, 2005


My wife an I both commute and have given up on cheap travel mugs. Go for the 'Nissan 14-Ounce Leak-Proof Insulated Travel Mug' available from Amazon (ASIN: B00004WHWV).

Nissan bought the Thermos brand somewhere along the way and they seem hold the patent on using a vacuum as an insulator. It will keep your coffee surprisingly hot.

It has a well-engineered seal and that won't leak. Every morning I fill mine with piping hot coffee, seal the lid, toss it in my backpack full of papers and electronics, and head for the bus.
posted by deanj at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2005


I bought a great no-leak travel mug from Starbucks. (sorry, I looked tried to find a link on their website to no avail) It's a great design - it has an absolutely no-leak sealing cap and a cool caribiner handle that means I can carry it in the bottle pouch on my backpack. I've had this for 3 months, daily use, and have never had a leak.

I don't work for starbucks, and I hardly ever buy their coffee, but this is a great mug. Good luck.
posted by scottr at 9:15 AM on February 17, 2005


The miGo Thelma Traveler We got it at target after having the same problem with lesser travel mugs. But play with the lids first. Ours is really tight (it's been about a year now), but the first one I picked off the shelf didn't fit so snugly.
posted by leapingsheep at 9:18 AM on February 17, 2005


I prefer all-stainless travel mugs. The lid has a rubber gasket that makes a good seal. All-stainless with a not-too-thin gauge keeps coffee nice and hot. I've had a couple of these, and none have leaked. Cafepress used to logo them, but seems not to carry any good travel mugs anymore, so no MeFi-logoed goodness.
posted by theora55 at 9:20 AM on February 17, 2005


1) Metal-lined, not plastic. Plastic lining affects the taste of the coffee, in my snooty opinion.

That's a fact. My problem, though, is that even though many quality travel mugs are made of stainless-steel, their lids are ALWAYS made of plastic. Can anyone recommend a non-plastic lid?

Not trying to hijack; I second the Starbucks mugs. They sell stainless steel bullets that work like a dream. I've had mine for two years with no problem, except the plastic lid that will invariably soak up the flavor of whatever is in the mug. I did work at Starbucks for quite a while; I never received a single complaint about the bullets.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:22 AM on February 17, 2005


Nissan bought the Thermos brand somewhere along the way and they seem hold the patent on using a vacuum as an insulator.

Seeing as how the vacuum bottle was invented sometime in the 1800's, I think any patents on the basic concept have long expired. Nissan does make good quality products, though.
posted by caddis at 9:24 AM on February 17, 2005


The OXO mug linked above is the one I own and I LOVE it. I'm a grad student, so the thing gets tossed in the side of my backpack, in the seat of my car, falls out on the floor, gets knocked over by a book, etc. etc. etc. and the only time it spilled was when I accidentally left the popper top thing open. It keeps things scaldingly hot for a long time too. It's great for one-handed use too, like the Nissan, so you don't have to fumble around with putting a top on and off all the time.

A bunch of my colleagues have also purchased them (for themselves and parents, etc.) thanks to all of my crowing about it.
posted by stefnet at 10:08 AM on February 17, 2005


This is gold. Thanks for the responses.

You're right, Oxo makes good products, and I like the look of the bottom of the mug. The one I have now is stainless steel but has this annoying plastic base that retains and then leaks either water (after washing) or coffee (after a slight spill down the side). The all-stainless route sounds good for this reason, too.

But I love the thought of chucking the Nissan one into a full backpack and never having it spill. I'm in and out of libraries and classrooms a lot. Student life demands a no-spill mug that keeps coffee hot for a long time, as stefnet mentions.

Since I don't enjoy their coffee, I had sort of written off Starbucks. I'll have to check out the mug you speak of.

But I plan on checking out all of these.

BlueTrain is on to something, though. Does anyone have experience with one that doesn't have a plastic lid?
posted by gramschmidt at 10:26 AM on February 17, 2005


I second deanj's response on the "Nissan 14-Ounce Leak-Proof Insulated Travel Mug." That mug is completely leakproof, keeps my beverage hot to warm from 6am to 6pm, is durable as hell, and yes, I fill it up and put it inside my backpack with my powerbook.

The only downside is that its instructions claim that it's not to be cleaned in a dishwasher. I haven't put mine in the dishwasher because of this. YMMV.

I thought it was pretty pricey-- the first time I bought it it was $40+shipping from Amazon. I lost the first mug I bought and immediately bought another. The cost savings of making my coffee at home and taking it with me on the train vs. buying coffee at the train station (replete with invariably spilling flimsy cardboard coffee cup) more than justifies the expenditure.

There may be other truly leak-proof travel mugs out there, but this one is just perfect for me.

Morning routine: Make a french-press carafe of coffee while unloading the dishwasher and watching 10-month-old boy eat cheerios. 1/2 of the french press goes into ceramic coffee mug which I drink while I eat my cereal and feed 10-month-old boy banana. 1/2 of the french press goes into travel mug. Finish breakfast, coffee. Hand 10-month-old off to mom. Grab coffee mug, backpack. Bike to train station. Drink coffee on train, while thinking about what to do. My morning coffee ritual would be extremely disrupted without this mug.

Now I'm going to stop procrastinating and turn on the electron microscope. I hope you find the leak-proof mug you're looking for.
posted by u2604ab at 10:40 AM on February 17, 2005


Okay, vacuum on the electorn microscope if fubar.

The handle on the Nissan 14-Ounce Leak-Proof Insulated Travel Mug was a feature that I thought, initially, would get in the way, but, it doesn't, and it's acutally quite useful.
posted by u2604ab at 10:57 AM on February 17, 2005


I have a few of these - they're relatively cheap and they work great. Only real drawback is that they have no drink-through lid. I haven't seen one that has that truly is what I'd call "leakproof". The carabiner handle is convenient as you can clip it to a bag or belt. The interior of the lid is plastic/rubber - the rest is all metal.

This may be similar to the previously mentioned Starbucks one, of which I know not.

I highly recommend Tools for Stagecraft - they've got tons of interesting and useful gadgets.
posted by Caviar at 10:59 AM on February 17, 2005


I went through a mad sampling of travel mugs over the last six months and I can whole heartedly say that the Nissan mug linked above is the hands down winner.

Other mugs in the running that I used were the Starbucks, coffee bean, eddie bauer, and a brandless one. Nissan was vastly superior in keeping stuff hot and the most leakproof.

As for your question about a stainless steel lid, unless they are vacuum insulated like the sides of the container, I don't think you would want one. Stainless stell is a good conductor and if there was no insulation between the inside and outside, it would cool your beverage quickly. This was the problem I had with Coffee Bean's mug. The inside was stainless, but the lip of the cup had a stainless ring too and it provided a heat transfer path from the inside to the outside. Lame. I could touch the ring and know that it was acting to cool down my coffee.
posted by jonah at 11:06 AM on February 17, 2005


jonah-

would you trust that Nissan mug full of coffee in the same compartment of a backpack as your laptop? I ask only because it looks like the hinge-lever could be accidentally activated if the mug shifted around in a backpack, spilling the coffee.
posted by u2604ab at 11:13 AM on February 17, 2005


Starbucks has some good ones...

Also, Nalgene makes some good, sturdy bottles...
posted by bamassippi at 11:36 AM on February 17, 2005


I have the OXO travel mug. In terms of sealing, it works very well. I got it to take in my backpack when I'm on my bike, and I've never had a problem. It also keeps heat almost as well as an actual thermos. If these are what you want, go for it. But the real problem I have with it (and the reason to post) is that it is totally impossible to clean the mechanism that you drink through. Since keeping coffee-related stuff clean is the most important factor for flavor, if this is what concerns you, when you buy one of these things, be sure to buy one that you can take apart completely. This mechanism is also plastic, which is even worse.

Plastic lining affects the taste of the coffee, in my snooty opinion.

This is probably because it's a lot harder to thoroughly remove coffee oils and odors from plastic - try soaking it in baking soda for a while. Stainless steel even regular wiping can be sufficient. (Unfortunately the OXO top floats so it's kind of a pain to do even this.)
posted by advil at 11:52 AM on February 17, 2005


Stainless stell is a good conductor and if there was no insulation between the inside and outside, it would cool your beverage quickly.

Also, wouldn't a totally stainless steel lid get way hot and burn your lips every time you took a sip? I wonder if there is such a thing as a lid that is lined with stainless on the inside but is insulated and plastic on the outside.
posted by Nice Donkey at 11:59 AM on February 17, 2005


But the real problem I have with it (and the reason to post) is that it is totally impossible to clean the mechanism that you drink through.

I agree with this, but I have had luck soaking it in baking soda and water in a container that can be closed to keep it submerged and then swishing it vigorously and rinsing through thoroughly with hot water.

Honestly, I will probably end up buying another OXO mug because that is a bit of a problem. I tend to drink either hot tea or hot cider in it most often and having one mug for each beverage would be helpful in keeping things from being odd-tasting. The way the mug works is so useful to me that I think it would be worth it.
posted by stefnet at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2005


would you trust that Nissan mug full of coffee in the same compartment of a backpack as your laptop? I ask only because it looks like the hinge-lever could be accidentally activated if the mug shifted around in a backpack, spilling the coffee.

Absolutely not on that model. I think the only thing I would trust in a backback with a laptop would be a thermos style container with a double screw on top.
posted by jonah at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2005


Also, I haven't tried that OXO mug, but I did almost buy one and it looked much better for spill proofing if you were planning on throwing your mug around. The Nissan is easier to use one handed though, since you just squeeze the lever when you drink, the OXO requires that you push down on the button on top of the mug.
posted by jonah at 2:16 PM on February 17, 2005


I carry a Nissan with a screw-top lid everyday in the car and take a coffee mug with me. I pour hot coffee into my mug and drink from it. The Nissan is awesome. It does not leak, is indestructible, and keeps the coffee hot for hours. I do however like drinking from a coffee mug.
posted by davenportmom at 4:24 PM on February 17, 2005


I have used one of these Nissan Backpack Bottles for a long time now and it does not leak at all. Every other supposedly leakproof mug wasn't. I throw this in my bag every day, sometimes with my laptop, and it has never gotten drop one on anything. Also the lid has a nice drinking spout and a spring-loaded latch. Plus it holds 16 oz. It's really one of my absolutely favorite things.
posted by jmignault at 6:15 PM on February 17, 2005


The one that you point to at Crate & Barrel (Trudeau is the manufacturer) is a freakin' tank. My wife has been regularly abusing one for quite a while now and it never, ever leaks.
posted by sad_otter at 7:04 PM on February 17, 2005


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