Starbucks Reusable Cup


$1 plastic cup

My wife and I have been using these Starbucks reusable cups for a couple of months now. My wife takes tea with her everyday to work, in addition to the occasional Starbucks run throughout the week. I use mine much less, but still, I bought one so that I could use it if I wanted to.

So, why am I willing to carry around the Starbucks logo with me when I walk from my home to my studio in a town that doesn’t even have a Starbucks?

Well, first off, the price is right: $1. I know the pundits have said that people are terrible at reusing things and that people are going to be buying these by the score. If that’s you, if your stuff routinely ends up buried in a pile of fast food detritus in the back seat foot well of your car, then this is probably not the wisest investment. But I’m pretty careful with my stuff, even something as easily replaced as a $1 plastic cup.

Second, it’s trim and well-designed. Other than the logo, (which could probably be removed with some acetone (nail-polish remover) it’s a clean white form, and it is clearly very highly engineered. This isn’t just a toss-off. Starbucks has clearly invested time and thought into getting this thing right. It looks like the paper cups they use in the stores, but there are subtle differences that make this cleaner, and it has good hand- and mouth-feel. It’s not garish like some of those Nalgene or aluminum water bottles, and it’s BPA free, so that’s nice. Pretty top-shelf for a buck! It fits into your cup holder easily, and I’ve even used it with piping hot water in it for tea, and it doesn’t burn the hand like the paper cups do.

I saw some noise on the Internet about it falling apart after a month or so of use, but that hasn’t been our experience. Granted, we’ve only had them a few months, but they’ve been through the dishwasher a few times (though we usually hand wash because we don’t run the machine every day and my wife needs her daily tea!) and they still look brand-new.

I can’t remember the last time I was this pleased with a purchase that wasn’t hundreds of dollars.

Full Disclosure: my sister-in-law works for Starbucks as an interior designer, but since the only benefit we get from that is a pound of coffee in our Christmas stocking, I think it’s safe to say I’m not unduly biased towards the company.

-- Kurt Ankeny 05/29/13