Can You Put Hot Coffee In A Plastic Cup? (Safe Types & Alternatives)

Last Updated on May 17, 2022 by John Moretti

Most coffee lovers prefer their coffee drink of choice piping hot. However, in the world of disposable coffee cups, many are searching for a cheap, reusable way to drink their coffee. One option is to use a plastic cup or a plastic travel cup, but are these cups safe for use with hot coffee?

Hot coffee should not be put into a plastic cup. Plastic breaks down at high temperatures and will contaminate the coffee. Thick-walled, heat-proof, food-safe plastic cups can be used for coffee if it is not too hot and consumed quickly. Stainless steel and ceramic cups are better alternatives. 

The temperature of coffee drastically affects its flavor, which is why most coffee drinks are typically served hot. If you want to use a plastic cup for drinking hot coffee, there are a few things to consider. Let’s go through the important details of drinking hot coffee from a plastic cup.

Are Plastic Cups Safe For Use With Hot Coffee?

The cup that coffee is served in is more important than most people realize. Coffee is a somewhat delicate drink, and the flavors of the beverage are easily affected by many factors. The material that the cup of coffee is served in can negatively affect its flavor, and the heat of the beverage must be considered when deciding what type of cup to serve the drink in as well.

Plastic cups are everywhere nowadays, and many people find themselves drinking hot coffee from plastic cups and wondering if these vessels are ideal for coffee and if they are even safe for drinking hot coffee out of?

The truth is that plastic cups are not ideal for drinking hot coffee. However, some plastic cups may be suitable for certain coffee drinks, but the right cup must be used in order to be food-safe and not negatively affect the flavor of the drink.

Plastic Cups coffee

The type of plastic that the cup is made from is the most important factor here. Most plastic cups are BPA-free and food-safe these days, but if the cup you want to use does not bear these certifications, it is not safe for hot coffee.

The issue here is that if hot coffee is placed into a plastic cup, the high temperature of the beverage rapidly increases the breakdown of the plastic that the cup is made from. This is not immediately noticeable to the eye, but the high heat of the coffee will cause the plastic to deteriorate on a molecular level.

This will cause the plastic to slowly leach into the coffee. This causes a number of problems but is only significantly dangerous to human health if this practice is repeated frequently.

If you use a plastic cup for hot coffee once, there should be any direct threat to your health, but if you make this a habit, using a plastic cup for hot coffee can be very bad for your health.

The plastic leaching into the coffee will also negatively affect the taste of the beverage, so if you care at all about the way your coffee tastes, then a plastic cup should not be your first choice.

In the end of it, if you have no other choice but to use a plastic cup for hot coffee once, you will be fine, but try not to make using a plastic cup of any kind your daily coffee cup.

Which Types Of Plastic Cups Are Safe For Hot Coffee?

reusable plastic cup

If using a plastic cup can be hazardous to your health and can detract from the flavor of the coffee in the cup, is it ever safe to use a plastic cup, and which plastic cups are best if they are the only option?

Plastic cups are not ideal for coffee, but if there is no other option, the best plastic cups to use for hot coffee are thick travel cups that are made from BPA-free, food-safe plastics. The cup should have no paint on the inside, and it should be dishwasher friendly. The dishwasher-friendly label proves that the cup can withstand high temperatures without sustaining damage.

Disposable plastic cups that are made from thin plastic should not be used for hot beverages of any kind. These cups are not designed for high temperatures and will begin to break down very quickly if hot coffee is poured into them.

These plastic cups are not rated for high temperatures, which also means that they are very difficult to hold when used with hot coffee. This can be a challenge when commuting or driving with a cup of hot coffee.

If you have to use a plastic cup for your hot coffee, be sure that the plastic is thick enough to protect your hand from high temperatures.

Are There Any Better Alternatives?

If plastic cups are not ideal for use with hot coffee, are there any other cups that are a suitable alternative other than traditional ceramic cups and mugs?

If you are drinking hot coffee on the go and are searching for an inexpensive way to transport your hot coffee and enjoy it while on the move, plastic cups are not the best option, but steel cups are a far better option.

A single-walled stainless-steel cup is a very inexpensive way to drink hot coffee on the move that is always safe to use with hot beverages of any kind. The double-walled, insulated versions of stainless steel travel cups can be expensive, but the single-walled versions are very affordable and are far better and safer than plastic cups of any kind.

Conclusion

Plastic cups are not ideal for hot coffee. These cups will negatively affect the taste and flavors present in the beverage, and if they are used frequently with hot coffee, they can be hazardous to a person’s health.

If possible, it is always better to use an alternative to plastic cups such as stainless steel or ceramic. If there is no other option, be sure to use a plastic cup that is as thick as possible, heat resistant, and food safe.