The alternatives -- for iced beverages -- are few and far between. Ideally you want an exact or near replica of the disposable iced coffee cups that all coffee joints give out -- hole for straw, sealed lid that won't leak -- but made of glass or stainless steel, preferably with a glass or stainless steel straw. I know there are plastic options available that are marketed as BPA-free, but I personally avoid plastic whenever possible so am not about to buy a plastic reusable cup.
I polled all of the eco parents I know to find out how they swing this coffee conundrum. Families who live in car cultures tend to just use the same thermoses they do in the cold months. This doesn't work for urban moms and dads (or nannies or grandparents). Things that don't have the hole for a straw just don't work -- you try pushing a stroller through New York City streets carrying a glass canning jar in one hand. It's a very spill-y, almost acrobatic experience, with sips few and far between, unless you catch the right Don't Walk sign rhythm. Unenjoyable, inefficient, and very messy.
Here are the best options I've managed to find:
1. A GlassRootsMovement cup
Glassroots Movement makes a glass cup with glass straw and plastic lid. Would that someone like Starbucks would start selling it all over the country, as the shipping costs almost as much as the cup itself! You do have to pay attention to where you put this when you run out of coffee -- even a durable glass straw isn't the sort of thing you can throw in the bottom of a bag.
2. A big sippy cup
Buy one of the stainless steel lined kids sippy cups with retractable silicone straws in the biggest size. Foogo makes them. The retractable part makes it easier to carry when you're done.
One mommy I polled said she saw a glass water bottle with a glass straw at a Crate and Barrel in Colorado. I haven't been able to find them on their website. And I contacted a trusted enamelware company -- GoldenRabbit.com -- to see if they would consider making a cup-with-straw. Unfortunately they say new molds are hard to make, and enamelware is more difficult to work with than, say, melamine. For more on drinking straw alternatives, head over to The Soft Landing.
If you've come across other glass/stainless options with reusable straws, please post in comments. Of course you could always caffeinate before leaving the house. But it's not quite the same. Whatever cup you're currently using, make sure to fill it with a Fair Trade (preferably organic) brew, and similarly sourced milk.
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