Foam Coffee Cups – Bad for Coffee?

There are also travel mugs, which are coffee mugs that are made of stainless steel and plastic, making them very durable and can retain heat for long period of time, making these ideal to take with you when you’re on the go.

However, there is another kind of coffee cup that probably matches the number of their more popular counterparts.

These coffee cups are used by companies, particularly by vending companies with their coffee vending machines. These are foam coffee cups.

Vending companies use foam coffee cups because of their inherent properties. Foam cups are good insulators.


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In other words, you can hold a foam cup filled with hot coffee brewed without burning your hand.

In addition, paper cups, which are often used in coffee franchises, such as Starbucks, need a cardboard sleeve for insulation. Foam cups don’t need cardboard sleeves.

Second, it is actually cheaper to make and mass produce foam paper cups, making them ideal for vending companies to load up in their vending machines en masse.

Do foam coffee cups have an effect on the taste of coffee? There are no documented studies that show that foam cups have a positive or negative effect on the taste of coffee.

And do take note that foam cups were widely used for coffee and other hot or cold beverages even before the advent of paper cups. If there is a negative effect on taste, it should have been documented decades ago.

However, foam cups do have a negative image because it is made of Styrofoam, and there is an ongoing debate if using paper or foam coffee cups is better for the environment.

There are good arguments on both sides, which make the final verdict very unclear at the moment.

In fact, some green and eco-friendly coffee shops prefer to use foam coffee cups for to-go coffee, because they believe it is better to use foam cups rather than paper cups for the environment.

For one, paper cups create more trash because patrons would always ask for a cardboard sleeve. Second, surprisingly, paper cups do not biodegrade quickly.

20 years from now, a paper cup would still be a paper cup. Finally, it takes more energy and natural resources to manufacture a paper cup.

Therefore, are foam cups bad for coffee? No, they are not. However, as much as possible, use reusable cups whenever you can.

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About US | OCM Profile

OCM was started in 2007, focusing first on coffee machines, then marketing for coffee and food and beverage companies. Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

OCM has also created many marketing workshops and classes for the F&B industry. Many of the modules are running in the Singapore Skillsfuture Classes in tertiary institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic Skillsfuture Academy and also ITE College East COC classes. 

For the readers (coffee lovers), we continue to share coffee articles (and videos) and have also started a free coffee class section (with free online coffee training supported by coffee partners). 

To connect with coffee and F&B practitioners, join our growing F&B group on Linkedin (20 000 and growing).

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