Reusable cup for coffee lovers – Rcup [review]

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Recently I was sent an rCup. rCup is a reusable cup for hot drinks made from old disposable paper cups. As regular readers and social media followers will know, I’m fanatical about coffee and increasingly conscious about our impact on this poor battered planet Earth.

rcup review - reusable cup from recycled cups based on the circular economy

A brief note about rCup and its makers

rCup was designed by an award winning design company based in the north cost of Cornwall led by former Dyson designer and inventor – ashortwalk. They design recycled functional products such as house signs from old plant pots.

Their website says that the rCup is the “only one that is made from the single use cups that are still being used in coffee shops and cafes every day.”

The rCup and I

I was fascinated with the rCup since I first saw it on the shelves of Waitrose supermarket. It was the design that first attracted my attention – the natural look, muted colours, the script – and once I got reading the label I saw it was made from other recycled cups, I was impressed.

I had recently gotten myself a KeepCup, and being a frugal shopper, I was not in the market for new one, but there it was, every time I popped into Waitrose.

2018 has been an year where I have properly woken up to the relentless harm we’re doing to our planet, courtesy of Sir David Attenborough and his stunning Blue Planet series.

I was always interested in sustainability but recently I started having a bigger sense of urgency, as, I suspect, a large part of the population.

The merits of the rCup

When you open the rCup it comes with plenty of information about the process on the sleeve and a mini brochure inside. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that you’ve made the right choice. But that’s not just because of its eco credentials. The rCup was voted Which?’s  “Best Buy – reusable coffee cup November Nov 2018”.

The highlights

Other than the eco credentials, here are my highlights when using the rCup:

  • Nice design and discreet, natural looking colours. The material is smooth, with the holding cup lightly rugged to the extent that you can feel a slight elevation from what it seems like particles of what once was an old coffee single use cup (perhaps mine from the year before??!). I quite like that because it reminds me of the cup’s virtues
  • In line with the ethos of the circular economy, the cup not only uses recycled cups as materials, but the rCup is itself recyclable after, one expects, a long life of use  

As to functionality, there are a few key criteria for a reusable cup and rCup, in my view, meets them:

  • One doesn’t want to be scalded by his or her drink. The rCup is insulated, so wherever you hold it, as long as the lid is on and locked, you will not feel the heat. The insulation is pretty good so if you keep it locked when not drinking, it will keep the drink warm inside. The website says it keeps hot drinks for approximately 90 minutes (I don’t know about you, but I don’t take that long to have my drink!)   
  • It’s machine washable (top shelf only)
  • And, importantly, it’s 100% leak proof. It really is! I turned it upside down and no drop feel off it, which I was super pleased about.
  • The one hand opening the mechanism is quite handy as well – just pop it down with one finger to unlock and vice versa

A note for coffee lovers

It appears that the designers took great care to make the rCup with coffee lovers front of mind. One of such features is that it’s the perfect size to use with an aeropress. Other features include the open mechanism that lets the aroma of the coffee come out and the insulation keeping the drinks at the right temperature for longer.

Having said that, I’m sure the cup can be used for tea and other hot drinks. I for one, intend to try it for hot chocolate in one of those dreadfully cold winter days.

What I didn’t like so much

The opening mechanism is great in the sense that it can be operated with one hand only (great for commuters holding for dear life on public transport or drivers in rush hour). It’s also designed for 360 drinking, meaning you can drink from any side of the cup once the top is unlocked. Unfortunately, I forgot this and how good the insulation is and one day I scalded my tongue and spilled a bit of the drink on the sides – I think that’s just habit though, I’m used to a different cup and I’m a little absent minded. I’m happy to say it never happened again after that episode.

If locked, the rCup is 100%  spill proof – that’s one of the things I’ve tested! Sadly, I’m a bit goofy and in the early days of using the cup, I didn’t realise that it was unlocked and let it spill over me. There is a line to help gauge whether the lid is locked or not, but here’s a note for the designer: perhaps make it a little more obvious for distracted folk like me?

The verdict

I’m really impressed with the rCup overall. The designers not only created something of great virtue, they also took great care with its benefits which makes it a winner for commuters (as the Which? recognition testifies).

The 12 oz cup is a little large for me as I’m a flat white girl and like a more compact size of cup, but my other half is an americano kind of guy and needs a reusable cup so he’ll be pleased to get it. I will of course reserve the right to borrow it!

The rCup is available in 8oz and 12 oz and you can get it from 

rcup review - reusable cup from recycled cups based on the circular economy

Full disclosure: I was sent a free 12oz rCup in return for an honest review.  

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