Single Wall or Double Wall Coffee Cups?

When choosing disposable coffee cups for your business, the comfort they give to your customers can matter just as much as the way that they look and function. Choosing the right kind of disposable cup can be a reflection of your business and can even influence how satisfied your customers are with your business as a whole. 

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Marketing and Consumer Research, different elements of product packaging can sometimes heavily influence a customer's buying behaviour. Whether to stock single or double wall coffee cups may not be the main consideration when ordering disposable cups for your business, but choosing the best kind of cup for your customers can lead to higher customer satisfaction and a higher return.

So, what are some important considerations when choosing a takeaway coffee cup?

  • Functionality

Takeaway cups need to be sturdy and liquid resistant, which is traditionally done with the addition of an oil-based polyethylene plastic lining. However, the use of a plastic lining is what makes most disposable cups non-recyclable in almost all waste streams - and even when taken to landfill, these plastic-lined cups will release methane gas into the environment - which is why finding a more sustainable compostable option can be a simple solution.

According to Statista, more than 50% of Australians consciously consider sustainability when making purchases. As such, a popular more sustainable option for businesses are takeaway cups lined with a bio-based lining such as a polylactic acid (PLA). 

PLA is a chemical compound made from plant-based materials such as corn or sugarcane and that replicates plastic. With the Australian governments continually unfolding Single-Use Plastics ban, sustainability has become an important factor in hospitality and food service industries. 

Customers are more conscious than ever of their own environmental impact so being more conscious of the disposable cups that you’re using is an easy way to make sure that they’re satisfied.

  • Cost

The decision between single and double wall coffee cups may also come down to their cost. As single wall cups are less complicated to produce and less expensive to transport (due to weight), these cups can often be a cheaper option for your business. 

On the other hand, a double wall cup is going to be more comfortable for your customers to hold (especially for hotter drinks like coffees and tea) as they provide an extra layer of insulation and will even prolong the temperature of their hot milk-based beverages.

Differences between Single Wall and Double Wall Coffee Cups

While single wall and double wall takeaway cups seem like they do the same thing, there are some big differences in their design. The most important difference being their construction.

Single wall cups are designed with only one layer of paper and are often better suited to serving cold drinks - which means when being used to serve hot drinks will often require a cup sleeve.

Double wall cups are designed with two layers of paper with an extra air pocket in between for better insulation. Having an extra layer of paper and the gap of air means that double wall cups provide better insulation to both keep drinks hot and protect your customers hands. 

Single Wall Coffee Cups

A single wall coffee cup is made up of only one layer of paper making it a perfect cup for cold drinks. Single wall cups require less paper and resources to produce and can reduce the production of paperboard by 55%. A lighter cup can also reduce overall weight during transport, resulting in lowered carbon emissions and a smaller carbon footprint.

When single wall cups are used for hot beverages, an extra layer of insulation should always be provided to protect your customers hands. This can be done with a cup sleeve, but you may find customers will ask for a second cup instead. Using a second cup not only doubles the cost to your business, but can also create more waste.

Using single wall cups for hot drinks can also impact the taste of a beverage, as the contents will cool quicker without the extra layer of insulation. It may also cause discomfort to your customers as they may not be able to handle hot cups, especially if your customer base consists of the elderly. 

In most cases, a single wall cup can be best used for iced drinks like iced lattes, smoothing and milkshakes.

Double Wall Coffee Cups 

Double wall coffee cups consist of two layers of paper with a thin pocket of air in between. This makes the coffee cup more durable and more comfortable for your customers. Using double wall coffee cups will remove the need for a separate coffee sleeve as the double wall provides enough insulation to keep the heat of your product inside the cup while acting as a barrier against your customers hands.

Double wall cups keep drinks hot for longer and provide a better overall experience for your customer as their hands will be protected against the heat. 

A double wall cup can still be used for iced coffees and other cold drinks as the added insulation will work to keep drinks cold as well as hot.

Double wall cups can be a great option for your business if you have a large customer base of elderly patrons who require a cup that is more stable and easier to hold.

Knowing which cup will work best for your business and customers is key to ordering the right cup.

Single Wall vs. Double Wall Coffee Cups: Comparative Table 

No Ticks = Not Recommended    

Single tick = Good For  

Double tick = Best For


Single Wall

Double Wall

 Cost Effective



 Liquid Resistant


 Hot Drinks


 Cold Drinks




Food packaging options are ever-evolving and making a decision on what to provide your customers can be difficult. Both single and double wall cups have their benefits and limitations, and so finding the best one for your business is key.

Explore the range of single and double wall cups here