* Prices may differ from that shown
When it comes to travelling with drinks I've owned quite a few different tumblers and flasks to take with me to work. From family owned heirloom Thermos flasks that are too bulky and often need a bag of their own to carry about with to cheap and cheerful travel mugs with leaking lids and broken handles that never seem to return home with me. I've been keeping an eye out for unusual and unique mugs for holding coffee, not least the Culinaire Smart Coffee mug, which is perfect whenever I need strong filter coffee. However what are the alternatives available if you don't want filter coffee apart from standard cheap priced travel mugs?
Whilst it may look like an ordinary throwaway cup, the "I'm Not A Paper Cup," cup is anything but disposable even though it is clear where the designers have taken inspiration from! Dressed completely in white, measuring 14cm by 8.5cm and 8.5cm this double insulated rubber/porcelain coffee cup is designed to be used for travelling, or handed over to the Barista/coffee shop of your choice for taking out your favourite coffee to start the day instead of the throwaway disposable cups. The idea isn't as daft as it seems. The IMNAP cup is designed to withstand temperatures up 175° Fahrenheit, which is handy for anyone like me who loves their coffee slightly hotter at 160° Fahrenheit. Over the usual double or tripled walled disposable cups, I'm delighted to say that the IMNAP cup kept my hot coffee hot for a couple of hours much more than so called all plastic sheathed travel mugs or paper cup derivatives.
Styled in pure white, this durable cup wouldn't look out of place in an IKEA or a MUJI store. The permanently rubber covered porcelain cup comes equipped with a flexible soft rubber/silicone lid that looks very similar to the plastic cup lids you'd find on many premium coffee cups such as Café Nero, Costa Coffee and Starbucks to name but a few. Officially the site I found this on states that the cup can take 8oz of fluid, which isn't quite true. The UK standard coffee cup, medium sized at 16oz (473.1 ml) fills easily in this cup without overflowing which means you get a bit more than just 8oz of the smaller cup sizes you'll find in the coffee houses. Although the lid is removable, both lid and the cup are dishwasher safe and its good that the interior has stain proof smooth porcelain which makes it easy to clean regardless of if you have a dishwasher or not. A sip hole is also included in the flexible lid and it firmly attaches well to the porcelain covered rim of the cup. Have it on or have if off in your own time - the lid easily snaps onto the rim and is easy to take off if you want to get to additional toppings such as cream or chocolate sprinkles at the time of prep. The mouth of the cup without the lid is smooth and round so there is no danger here of rough edges. The cup is also warm to the touch thanks to its double insulation and won't burn hands. Thanks to its white design it's easy to wipe with a damp cloth if any stains get on it and thanks to its general size it can be slipped easily and safely in most laptop bags or the bag of choice you take with you to the office such as a back pack after use.
Despite the lack of a handle there is a speckled grainy quality to the porcelain/rubber exterior that lends a gripping texture than anything else to my hand although it can feel fine sandpaper rough to the driest of hands! This not only ensures you keep a grip of your cup but it never feels like its going to slip out of my hand in use. It is however not the lightest cup on the market, weighing around 447g just nigh of 450g before it is filled so it does feel heavy at the time and increases when its full of coffee or alternative hot drinks. I don't mind the weight issue at all and its easy to place this cup without fear of it falling over (perhaps its heavy for a reason) as the base is flat despite being too narrow thanks to its original design. The soft silicone lid sucks down on the top of the cup with a slight suction action but it is not an airtight lid and thus can't be relied upon if the cup is turned upside down! The makers claim that the cup is 100% non-toxic and lead free.
Other downsides of this cup however are obvious; because of its initial weight this isn't the kind of cup I would buy for my mother and I'm surprised that it doesn't come with an additional carrier of some sort that would make it perfect for carrying around. Also if you lose the lid, you lose it for life; what a pity that no other lid is given if the initial one gets lost! The cost price of this product can range from the middling to astronomical! Short of shopping online for one where prices really do differ from £11-95 to £13-95, I found this cup in Urban Outfitters in Glasgow who amongst the other novel gadgets and kitsch merchandise they sell price this cup at a whopping £18-95 which is really steep! For that price you could pick up a proper travel mug that probably has versatile grips on it and possibly a carry case. Despite the price however I picked up two on my day of purchase: one for a friend and another for me.
Another downside is that because of its true likeness to a paper cup you may well find someone else throwing it out by mistake if you take it to the office with you. I have thought about putting my name on it but I like the simple design of the cup and don't want to damage the exterior.
The IANAP cup however is a novel and unique gift to give someone including yourself, particularly if you like coffee on the go and don't like the idea of carrying a bulky flask. It has been on sale in the USA from 2006 and on the Amazon site there are replacement lids available - however this seems to be for the USA only. However it doesn't replace the whole concept of a travel coffee mug completely. Given that most are available at pound shops, BN, Au Naturel, Poundstretchers and other shops at 99p, cheap travel mugs will always be available. The IANAP cup is ideal if you want to stand out from the crowd, but at the price you really need to be the sort of person who travels everyday with a hot drink on the go before you consider it. Over the Smart cup, at least the IANAP cup has a lid but the Smart Cup is a smarter design and lighter generally. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2009
I am not a paper cup! I am a device of porcelain! Welcome to the strangely topsy-turvy world of I'm Not a Paper Cup / And as its name cleverly suggests, it's not a paper cup / It is, instead, a sturdy ceramic cup with a silicone lid that looks exactly like the classic paper coffee cup beloved of New Yorkers / Only it's more useful, more flexible and considerably more eco-friendly than your common-or-garden paper cup / It's a take-anywhere, drink-anywhere, drink-anything alternative to the metallic thermos-style drinking cup, in cooler, funkier clothes / Double-skinned to keep your hot drinks warmer for longer, it comes with a flexible silicone lid replete with that ever-so-handy slurphole to stop accidental spillages over important documents / Put the two together, and what have you got? A thoroughly innovative and highly creative drinking vessel, that's what / Fully dishwasher friendly, the silicone lid can even withstand temperatures as high as 230 Celsius / A touch warmer even than Starbucks serve their famous caffeinated brews / And there you have it / It's a cup, not a mug / A porcelain cup, not a paper cup / But one that thinks it is / And looks like it is / Only it's not / Got it?