Cafes are slowly starting to reopen and the aroma of freshly ground coffee is spilling out onto the streets once again - hurrah! While many of us are eager to rekindle our love-affair with a barista-grade coffee, during this global health crisis it’s important that we take extra precautions and reimagine how we would normally enact this sacred morning ritual to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

First off, let’s address some rumours. There has been some confusion as to whether or not the trusty Keep Cup is a suitable receptacle for our daily dose of coffee, with some suggesting that disposable plastic cups are actually a safer option. I am here to debunk that myth and tell you that this is simply not true! The virus can exist on both single-use and reusables alike and as Responsible Cafes so rightly points out, ‘there is nothing to say that a single use cup has not been infected during its life cycle and during the exchange to a customer’.

With that out of the way, let’s jump into exactly how you can continue to stay safe during COVID-19 whilst rocking your reusables!

1. Put your reusable cup on the counter and let the barista pour it in directly

This one is pretty self explanatory. All you have to do in this contactless exchange is place your cup on the counter and let the barista pour in your coffee and milk. Easy.

Just remember to clean your cup at home first, giving it a thorough wash with hot water and soap as the virus is sensitive to heat and detergent.

2. Order your coffee in a normal crockery cup, then transfer it over to your own

You can ask the barista to do this for you. Alternatively, just order your coffee to ‘have here’ and when it arrives pour it into your reusable cup. Responsible Cafes has a great little video demonstrating how to do this safely.

3. Get involved in a cup swap scheme

It may be the first you’re hearing of the concept, but swap’n’go cup networks are becoming increasingly common. All you do is visit any participating cafe, borrow one of the cups to drink your coffee and return it when you’re done. The cafe then washes and sterilizes the cup in house, ready to be used by the next person. And if you’d like another coffee upon returning your used cup, that’s not a problem; they'll just prepare you another one in a new and freshly sanitised cup. If you’d like more information on how this works, check out any one of these websites - Returnr, Green Caffeen and Huskee Swap.

It also goes without saying that if your cafe doesn’t offer any of these options, there are still ways to reduce your waste and avoid single-use. If you have the time you can always order a coffee to enjoy in house rather than on the go. Otherwise you can go ‘topless’ and say no to the lid, or just try a cafe down the road that will accommodate your requests.