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Hot Drink Paper Cups Explained


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This is a very common query; the answer primarily depends on the tempurature of beverage you intend to use. We stock a wide range of cups from single-wall plain cups, to our newest triple wall “Ultimate" paper cups. The key difference is the insulating properties of the specific cup type.

Single wall cups are perfect for warm drinks; however piping hot coffee would be rather uncomfortable to hold without the use of a cup sleeve (available seperately). Due to their single-wall construction there is no additional layer to insulate the heat of the drink.

Double walled and Ripple cups are specifically designed for far greater heat retention, the dual layers work in a similar way to a thermos flask; trapping air and isolating the customers hand from hot beverages. In addition to this, the extra rigidity is ideally suited to “coffee on the go".

With different coffee shop and drinks providers favouring different disposable cup materials, it is interesting to find out which is the most effective insulator. Perhaps the best way to discuss the insulation properties of a paper cup is to compare it with another commonly used non-reusable cup product such as polystyrene. This can be done by carrying out a quick test to show whether the polystyrene or paper cup kept the liquid it contained hotter for longer.

Differences between hot drink paper cups and Polystyrene containers
The heat retention test involves pouring 200 ml of hot water into a polystyrene cup and the same amount into a paper based hot cup to find out which cup provides the best insulation. For a broader comparison you could also utilise a plastic recepticle as part of the experiment to see how its insulating capabilities measure up. We all know each of these containers will provide a certain level of protection, but this test can help show which is the best way to keep liquids heated.

How to Test the temperature
You can use a thermometer to test the temperature of the beverage. Taking a temperature reading every minute for ten minutes, then again at 20 minutes and 30 minutes, will help to show whether the paper cup is the best insulator. You can record these readings as a chart if you wish to make the results clearer.

Heat testing
In a similar test, cup and food container specialist Contexpan found that the liquid in both cups dropped in temperature quite quickly during the first five minutes, from around 100 degrees centigrade to around 90 degrees. However, at this point, the liquid in the polystyrene cup cooled at a significantly slower rate than the paper cup, remaining at around 80 degrees after 25 minutes compared with the liquid in the paper cup, which had dropped to around 70 degrees.

The results
The findings suggest that the polystyrene cup is the better insulator, with the paper coffee cup in second place. A third cup, a plastic cup, was used in the Contexpan test and this presenting inferior insulation properties, with the water temperature falling to below 70 degrees centigrade after 25 minutes. However, companies such as Event Supplies are now offering double-layered disposable paper coffee cups with an air pocket in between to trap the heat and provide an extra barrier of insulation. Although conclusive findings have not been compiled, early indications suggest that these new double walled cups will be even better insulators than their Polystyrene competition.

Event supplies stock a huge range of quality catering disposable items used throughout professional catering businesses, whether you are organising a large event or small party, event supplies service, prices and product range ensure your catering disposable needs are exceeded.

Event Supplies

Paper Cups

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