Pros: Using a (heat-resistant) straw to drink coffee, tea or cocoa could help preserve your teeth.
Cons: The initial cost seems steep (till you factor this product's admirable, indefinite reusability).
To me, the most suprising thing about this relatively recently invented product is that it hadn’t already appeared decades ago. After all, coffee, tea and cocoa consumption has existed, seemingly, forever; and surely any consumer from any era could pretty well appreciate some, if not all, of the following boldfaced "Key Advantages" listed at HotStraw.com:
Hot Straw plastic doesn't melt in coffee/tea. HotStraw.com indicates this product tolerates temperatures “of over 200°F.” More specifically (according to a separate, online interview with the product’s creator—the brilliant, beautiful, well-named Dawn Miracle), the “BPA-free” Hot Straw is made of “dense polypropylene so it withstands up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit.” [Hence it's likewise "dishwasher-safe"—presumably perpetually!]
Helps prevent coffee stains on your teeth. Considering that coffee and sugars can gradually deteriorate/erode (not to mention stain) tooth enamel, it makes sense to me that “less coffee contact with your teeth” (by using a straw) constitutes a noteworthy advantage. Indeed, it was with this very notion in mind that I initially googled and happily discovered this “Hot Straw” product! As HotStraw.com puts it, "By using a straw, you are able to get the coffee past your teeth while you drink it."
Prevents spills of your To-go cup. The Hot Straw was designed to fit the hole of “to-go” coffee cups “perfectly.”
Dissipates Heat. If you’re now and again concerned that freshly brewed coffee (or tea, etc.) might burn your mouth, you should appreciate the Hot Straw’s wider-than-usual configuration. Its essentially “oval” design incorporates two smallish holes instead of a single large hole, which allows superior control of the fluid uptake and prevents unduly big sips of piping-hot liquid..
Prevents Wrinkles. HotStraw.com indicates that the “pursing” some people do when using a small, conventionally shaped straw can eventually cause wrinkles around the mouth. The suggestion is that the Hot Straw’s design is just enough different and larger as to not require such a significant degree of oral “pursing.” Though I myself was/am a bit less concerned with this purported advantage, I suppose there could well be something to it.
Recyclable. HotStraw.com states this product “is made of a recyclable plastic” and that “you have the option to simply recycle it if you’re on the go, or you can always wash it out and re-use it if you grow attached to it.” Well. Factoring the “not-so-cheap” price of this product ($6.95 per “three-pack” or, alternatively, around twenty bucks—including postal shipping—for three “three-packs”), you can bet that this stubbornly frugal consumer won’t be casually discarding any of his Hot Straw specimens. Indeed, I fully intend to be using them for, at least, several years.
Where to buy?
I placed my order directly via HotStraw.com (instead of Amazon.com, where the cost per straw would have been substantially higher) and used that site’s “PayPal” option. (Any major credit card should work equally well.) Though the former website’s somewhat rudimentary-looking “order” page could certainly benefit from a bit of aesthetic tweaking [e.g., the dark text labeling one of the screen’s darkish, clickable buttons was well-nigh indiscernible (i.e., sensible visual contrast between that explanatory text and its background would’ve circumvented some momentary head scratching)], it’s nonetheless adequately functional; and the bottom line is that all went well when I placed my order. Not only did I promptly receive an email acknowledgement, but also the product shipped within about one business day, and it arrived (inside a smallish, bubble-pack envelope) via postal mail just a few days thereafter.
Having fully successfully and satisfyingly used this Hot Straw product daily for one week (with coffee from my conventional Black and Decker "auto-drip" coffeemaker), I do feel that the $20.85 (including shipping) that I paid for three of these Hot Straw “three-packs” was money well-spent. Again, I consider these thick, dense-polypropylene straws to be essentially “permanent” (indefinitely reusable) products, which should justify their initial cost.
Note that the Hot Straw is available in either a seven-inch or a nine-inch length. I opted for the seven-inch, which seems just right—not only for many “to-go” mugs but also for my favorite “at-home” mug, the official Epinions.com “tall” (15-ounce) mug.
Also note that the Hot Straw is available in any of three different, solid colors—red, blue, or pink. I chose red, which strikes me as appropriate for coffee, if only because it’s reminiscent of those likewise red little “coffee stirrers” that I’ve seen at certain public, “serve-yourself” coffee stations. [In retrospect, I can only belatedly assume that those wee, “free” conventional stirrers (like the Hot Straw) weren’t/aren’t subject to any leeching of unhealthful substances into one’s hot beverage!]
Speaking of which, I’ve found that my seven-inch Hot Straw itself can aptly double as a “stirrer” such that I needn’t wield a spoon to mix sugar and/or cream into my morning cuppa joe.
I repeat, the Hot Straw constitutes an innovation that should have appeared decades ago. If you value your teeth and overall health, and if you want to lessen the likelihood of messy/dangerous spills, you owe it to yourself to try this splendidly conceived, indefinitely reusable product.