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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Best Coffee Travel Mug

Finding the Best Coffee Travel Mug

My old coffee mug was leaking so much I had to throw it away.  I was driving to a business meeting, and the mug was leaking as usual and dripped on my pants as usual.  I decided that a new travel mug was worth buying.  But which one to buy?  Here are my most important features for the best travel coffee mug:

List of Travel Mug Features

  1. Must keep coffee hot.  This means good insulation.  Foam or vacuum insulated are fine as long as they keep coffee hot for my 30 minute drive plus a few minutes drinking from it after I arrive at my office.
  2. Must not leak.  This is not only a convenience, but a safety issue while driving.  I would sometimes try to wipe up drips while driving.  I would prefer to concentrate on my driving and listening to NPR.
  3. Must fit in car cup holder.  A travel mug is not very useful to me if it doesn't fit securely in my car cup holder.  I drive a Honda Civic, so this may be a challenge for wider mugs.
  4. Must hold at least 16 oz of coffee.  I need at least this much coffee to get going.
  5. Must last a long time.  I am willing to spend a bit of money to get a high quality coffee mug that will last a long time.
  6. Appearance.  I spend a lot of time drinking from my travel mug each day, and often carry it into the office with me.  If I'm willing to pay a bit of money, I want a travel mug that looks expensive.
  7. Handle.  I have used travel mugs with a handle and without a handle.  The handle makes a coffee mug easier to deal with while driving, so I would prefer a travel mug with a handle.

The Best Travel Coffee Mug

After searching on and checking out travel mugs at department stores, coffee shops, and gourmet cooking stores, I found the best travel coffee mug and ordered it.  My selection:
Contigo Autoseal Randolph Stainless Steel Travel Mug Vacuum Insulated, 16-Ounce, Silver

This travel mug has excellent reviews for keeping coffee hot and for not leaking.  Check off #1 and #2 on the list.  Looking at it, you can also check off #6- appearance and #7- handle from the list of of desired features.  The Contigo holds 16 ounces, so we'll check off #4 since it holds enough coffee to be useful.  I tried it out in my car cup holder and  it fits securely.  The handle does not block its fit into the cup holder, so check off #3.  I don't know yet if the Contigo mug will last a long time, but it certainly appears to be solidly constructed with high quality steel body and durable plastic lid.  Hopefully I can check off #5 after a few years of testing.

New coffee mug in the packaging
Contigo stainless steel travel coffee mug with vacuum insulation
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Show spring mechanism in lid the controls coffee flow
Underside of Contigo travel mug lid- spring mechanism stops coffee flow unless the trigger on the handle is pressed
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The Contigo uses a trigger to control the flow of coffee.  You press the trigger on the handle- it works either left-handed or right-handed, and this allows coffee to flow when you tip the cup.  If you don't push the trigger, no coffee will flow.  You can even hold the travel mug upside down and it doesn't leak at all!

Coffee mug turned upside down and is not leaking
Coffee mug turned upside down- and it doesn't leak at all!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The thermal insulation is accomplished using a vacuum- this is a layer inside the stainless steel body that contains no air and therefore resists the flow of heat since there is nothing in the empty space to transfer heat from the inside of the cup to the outside.  This is the same method used in a thermos to keep liquids hot for a long time.  It seems to work well in the Contigo and will keep my coffee hot and me happy.  There are other color schemes available, but the stainless steel body with black and blue lid work for me.

Contigo Travel Mug Stainless Steel Body and Plastic Lid
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

I am looking forward to the drive to work with me and my Contigo for many years!  It was nice to find such a well-designed thermal coffee mug, especially after suffering with a coffee mug that leaked and did not keep coffee very warm.

Copyright © 2013 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal


  1. This coffee mug one of my personal favorite. I love the design and the size of the coffee mug.

    Finn Felton

    Kopi Luwak

  2. This Contigo machine is really one of best coffee maker that I have seen in the market.Not only because of the classy style and design but also because of the unique features that it possess. For example it has thermal insulation that resists the flow of heat since there is nothing in the empty space to transfer heat from the inside of the cup to the outside

  3. CoffeeForless is another good place for coffee supplies and affordable rates.