I don’t have particularly extreme requirements for a reusable cup. I’m not a hiker. I’m not a camper. I’m not a cyclist. It’s not really a travel mug that I want. I’m not even a coffee connoisseur. But, I do value adaptability—as a fan of both hot and cold coffee—and convenience. For the legion of you like me, then—the “normal” caffeine consumers—let me introduce you to the glorious Frank Green 3-in-1 Insulated Drink Holder ($40). It is the secret sauce, the Goldilocks cup … it’s just right.
Now, I will confess that before I got to the 3-in-1, it was another Frank Green product—the 595-ml reusable bottle—that came closest to being my ideal vessel of choice. I was sure I’d stumbled upon the brand for me, with colorful options and strong materials touted along with a focus on adaptability. I had, in fact, found the right cupmaker for me, but not the right product quite yet.
Put a Lid On It
The Frank Green reusable bottle was robust with strong insulation, and I thought it’d be just what I was looking for. It was only after some serious commuting that problems revealed themselves. For example, before setting off on my merry way, trying to find room in my bag, which was typically already rammed with tech to review, wasn’t easy. My shoulder bag of choice even had a welcoming slot for a cup to nestle in, but Frank’s larger option was, well, too large.
Getting to the office, the niggles would mount. Did I bring both the push-button lid (better for hot drinks) and the straw lid (better for cold drinks)? Had I remembered to wash both of them? And, had I washed both (reasonably intricate) parts well enough? I’d typically wait until I arrived at work before my first cup of coffee, meaning these unwanted questions were haranguing a fuzzy and caffeine-deprived mind. All too often, the answer to at least one of those questions was “no.”
You see, both this larger Frank Green cup and some from rivals that heavily tout insulation chops, like the Chillys Series 2 cup, come with a thin metal rim around the top. Whether I was cleaning them at home or doing a speedy wipe at work if it had slipped my mind the night before, my hand would pick up nicks. A seam runs up the inside of the cup and meets the slim rim at the top, creating a skin-pinching problem when wedging your hand inside to clean. The 595 ml was the worst culprit, with its larger size requiring I delve as deep into the cup as I could, cramming my fingers in as if trying to get those last few Pringles from the bottom of a can, but, in this case, with a soggy communal sponge. Lost lids, perforated palms, and a bulked-up bag—initial coffee-cup joy had given way to a daily grind. This wasn’t going to work.
For a short time, I retreated to the smaller version of Frank’s ceramic reusable cup, but with no straw option, it wasn’t the convenience champ I was looking for. And the chaotic cleaning remained. Several months passed. I’d occasionally use the cup, revert to a mug, or, in poor form on my part, not use a reusable cup at all—shamefully taking whatever landfill option the coffee shop gave me.
The Size of It
Photograph: Frank Green
Then, one day, idly browsing for a new perfect container as I mulled over whether different combinations of lids would work, or whether an altogether new style of cup would be the solution, I found myself once again back on the Frank Green site. Then I saw it. The 3-in-1. An insulated holder of hot drinks, cold drinks, and canned beverages. It was the simplicity of it, clean lines, stylish colors, and no fuss. No lids to screw on, no buttons to push down, no essential accessories to remember. I wasted no time. I picked my color and placed my order.