I caught a glimpse of the Vapor Cup at a Cannabis Cup event in California, but this was only in passing. There was a large crowd around their booth and it didn’t look like anyone was using it. Which made me even more curious about this vaporizer, does it work well or is it just a novelty item? I was leaning towards the latter and began to picture it on the shelf of a Spencer’s Gift store. It was a large event with a lot to see so not wanting to waste time waiting to see it in action, I continued on my way.
A few months passed and I hadn’t really thought much about the Vapor Cup, but when I saw a video online it sparked my interest again. I began searching around but couldn’t really find much in the way of reviews or personally testimonials. At this point I faced a decision and that was if I wanted to risk $250 on something that may or may not function very well as a vaporizer. Discretion is great and all but if it doesn’t vaporize than what does it even matter? Also I had a rather poor experience with the original PUFFiT and was worried it might be the same situation… but MORE expensive.
After weighing the options I decided to bite the bullet and buy a Vapor Cup, if it sucked I could just unload it on Craigslist. Ordered online and it arrived quickly, so after a few weeks of frequent use I was ready to write my review. I wanted to make sure that I had become very familiar with the unit and how it operates before jumping to any conclusions. Let’s dive in and take a look at the Vapor Cup.
Right away when I opened the box I saw some solid foam protecting the unit, a nice sign to me. If a company puts that much care into their packaging I feel that is usually reflected in the actual product as well. When I pulled the Vapor Cup from the box, seeing it close up for the first time I realized how much it actually looks like a standard coffee mug, the travel style. It arrived in mint condition, no scratches or dents on the metal body which I have unfortunately seen with other vapes. I did notice that the unit felt pretty heavy once I placed the battery inside, which does require a Phillips screwdriver to open. Though a little on the hefty side, it’s not like some 15 pound weight you’re doing curls with it, I guess they were just going for the “full cup” feel.
It feels very solid when holding it in my hand as though it could take the beating of daily on the go usage. I get the same sense from the glass draw stem, though it seems to be machine cut, the thickness of the glass is pretty impressive. However for the purpose of discretion I’ll probably be using the black plastic stem for most times I expect to be vaping in public. With the sleeve placed on the Cup I would feel comfortable leaving it in my car or on my desk even with other people around… without the sleeve though the display screen is clearly visible and that takes away the discreetness of it. You could just say it’s a temperature controlled coffee mug I suppose, nobody likes when their coffee gets cold. That actually sounds like something that could be found at a Brookstone or in a Sky Mall magazine.
The Vapor Cup includes a lot of accessories in the box which I always appreciate as a consumer, never like having to go out and buy replacement pieces within the first few weeks of use. There is a huge assortment of screens included to keep it running at top performance. Also a variety of draw stems for the Vapor Cup that can be swapped out depending on the situation in which it is being used. Plus a scoop tool for loading the herb, a tamper tool for packing it denser and some cleaning brushes for keeping it clean. They certainly start you out very well equipped for frequent operation.
USING THE DIFFERENT DRAW STEMS
The Vapor Cup has four different types of draw stems that add to the versatility and discretion of it. These include a glass one, a clear vinyl tube, a solid black plastic straw and another one that looks more like a common vaporizer mouthpiece. They’re labelled in the manual as Glass Straw, Flexible Rubber Tube, Plastic Straw and Hot Tip Mouthpiece accordingly. Let’s go over each one, how I feel they are best utilized as well as what I liked/disliked about each.
After unwrapping it, I saw the glass draw stem includes end caps to keep some herb packed and have at the ready, which is key for being discreet on the go as you don’t have to load the stem right before use. Initially I had some skepticism about the quality of the glass, as it does appear to be machine cut and not hand blown. However after a few taps on my table to give it a little stress test, I was happy to see that it has a more solid feel than expected. This is the draw stem I would recommend for getting the best flavor out of your herb, glass is a very inert material after all and generally creates the cleanest vapor. This is the only mouthpiece included that has the herb packed directly into it; the others require the “screw cap”. However the glass does take away from the discreetness of the Vapor Cup somewhat as someone could likely see vapor travelling up the stem and realize that you’re not sipping on a drink. If using it in your car or somewhere that people aren’t directly around you though, probably wouldn’t be an issue. From my time using the glass stem I would consider it comparable to the same performance you get from an Arizer Solo or Air vaporizer. And in the time I have had with the Vapor Cup, the stem still stays in place even when flipped upside down.
For those who are rather clumsy, there is also a clear vinyl tube included that won’t break in any situation if dropped on the ground. Though I don’t feel that it produces as flavorful vapor as glass does, it can take more abuse. Still it is clear just like the glass stem so for use in public, I wouldn’t say it is ideal. I thought this was the least necessary stem included and don’t expect I’ll be using it that often, but in a situation where the glass straw breaks it is nice to have some form of a backup with this vinyl one.
The solid black plastic draw stem is by far the most discreet option and the one I would suggest for vaping in public. With this setup, you cannot see any of the vapor as it travels up the air path and quite honestly it makes the Vapor Cup looks exactly like a travel coffee mug. Packing the herb is a little different as it doesn’t go directly into the draw same as the glass one, but rather goes into the heating chamber and a screw top goes over. With the screw top in place the black straw is attached and you’re ready to vaporize. The flavor isn’t exactly like what I got with the glass stem, however it doesn’t taste bad or plastic like at all. You cannot beat this black straw when it comes to discretion with the Vapor Cup.
Lastly is another black plastic stem, but this one has a tapered top that gives it more of the appearance of a vaporizer mouthpiece than a drink straw. Though it isn’t clear and keeps the vapor hidden from sight, it might still be an attention grabber when using the Vapor Cup on the go. Works just like the other black plastic stem and you can get nice vapor production when using it. Honestly all of the various draw stems work fine, it is a matter of preference and the situation in which you will be vaporizer that will affect the one you choose to use.
HOW IT WORKS
Just by looking at the Vapor Cup, I am sure a lot of people are going to be asking the exact same question, “How does this thing even work?” At least I thought that way at first, but to be honest it is not difficult at all and the instructions are very informative with photos for visual learners.
To start there is an on and off toggle switch on the bottom of the unit which activates the display screen showing the temp and battery life. The temperature is controlled with the plus & minus buttons and the heat is activated via the big heater button directly below the screen. It can be to set temperatures ranging from 200°F to 400°F and heats up to 360° in a little over 2 minutes. There is also a built-in auto shutoff that will power the unit down after 18 minutes of use, but can easily be turned right back on by pressing the heater button and it will go to the last temp setting. It also features a pass through charger design so you can use the Vapor Cup while plugged in, even with the battery removed.
In the instruction manual they list two methods for using the Vapor Cup, which really breaks down to vaporizing with the glass draw stem or employing one of the other three stems. Below I’ll explain the difference in setup and performance between the two methods.
GLASS DRAW STEM
Being a longtime fan of the Arizer Solo, this was the first draw stem I used after opening up my Vapor Cup. In a similar fashion, the herb is packed directly into the draw stem which is inserted into the heating chamber. I never use a screen with the Solo but the Vapor Cup includes them in the box so I decided to switch things up and put a screen in the stem. After packing it with my herb I placed the glass stem into the heating chamber and placed the lid back on the Vapor Cup. Out of curiosity I turned it upside down to see if the stem would slip right out, however it stayed snugly in place.
I set the Vapor Cup to 360° and pressed the large heater button to initiate it the process. From the 77° it showed when first powered on to actually reaching my set temperature took about three minutes. Though the light went green, I opted to wait an additional 30 seconds or so just to ensure that glass stem was thoroughly heated and ready for vaporization. I find that most vaporizers require a little extra time heating to reach their full potential.
My draw approach was just like how I inhale from the Solo; long, slow and continuous breath without clamping my lips around the glass. Owning a Solo for years, I have noticed a lot of people complain about it feeling like a thick milkshake or not getting any air flow at all. That to me is just poor technique or impatience and not so much a flaw of the vaporizer itself. Pretend you are hitting the roach of a joint, as air flow around the draw stem is very helpful. I would say that this method works very well when using the glass stem with the Vapor Cup.
The first exhale was not a huge cloud, but dang did I get the full flavor of the herb. I choose to wait at least 15 to 30 seconds between draws as I do with most vapes, knowing that each breath pulls some of the heat from the chamber. My second pull definitely created a larger cloud while retaining the wonderful flavor. I continued vaporizing the first bowl for a solid eight large draws before I felt the need to tap out the herb.
When pulling the draw stem out, I noticed that it was not resistant at all and I didn’t feel as though it was going to break. Same with tapping the spent herb onto the table, even after a few solid whacks the stem seemed strong as ever. Shouldn’t expect to be replacing them too often, at least if all of them are made to this standard.
The herb itself came out a goldish brown and crispy, but definitely not burned or charred. Considering how much I’ve used the Solo I kind of figured there wouldn’t be any burning, as the herb is heated through the glass and never really touches the metal heating chamber. I am happy with the vapor production when using the Vapor Cup with the glass stem, no doubt.
THE OTHER STEMS
The second method listed applies for the remaining draw stems and requires the included “screw cap” and involves the user packing herb directly into the heating chamber. I was a little concerned to try this method at first, afraid my herb might over heat and burn or the chamber would get dirty over time. For the sake of fully reviewing the Vapor Cup, I packed some herb right into the chamber and attached the screw chamber which has a screen in it to prevent anything being drawn up the stem. With the lid back in place and the black straw connected, I started to heat the Vapor Cup to 360° again for a direct comparison of vapor production.
Same as with the glass stem I gave a curtesy period after the heat light switched to green before inhaling. With the black straw you cannot see any vapor as it travels up the path, far more discreet than the clear glass. I did find that the first draw with this setup seemed to produce a larger cloud, likely has to do with the herb being straight in the heating chamber. Though the glass tasted better in my mind, I didn’t feel that the black straw gave off a plastic flavor nor did I get any metallic taste from the herb being in being placed in the chamber. This is the method I plan on using for my public vaporization, as I am confident nobody will be able to distinguish the Vapor Cup from a regular travel mug when using the black straw.
COMPARED TO OTHER DISCREET VAPORIZERS
I would consider this the first vaporizer on the market which focuses on discretion as the main selling point. There are also the PUFFiT, Indica and HipVap that were designed for discreet use in the public eye. Let’s breakdown what all of these vaporizers brings to the table and how each of them compares to the Vapor Cup.
First up is the PUFFiT portable vaporizer, which is shaped like an asthma inhaler. When I first saw this thing I thought it was just downright brilliant, but then I used it and was exceptionally disappointed. It is certainly smaller than the Vapor Cup and though it claimed to heat in about 30 to 45 seconds, it often takes up to three heat cycles before any wisp of vapor begins to form. Pretty much a letdown and in my opinion a very novelty item, one that relies more on appearance than performance. I will say that the PUFFiT 2 was a big improvement over the first, though still not incredibly effective.
Next in line is the Indica vaporizer, another portable with the intention of discretion. This unit is modelled after the Zippo brand lighter, but doesn’t actually use a flame in any way. The Indica has five preset temperatures that are indicated via LEDs but no digital readout. It works pretty well as a vaporizer for dry herb; however the idea of sucking on a Zippo lighter is a little strange. You might receive some confused stares when puffing on the Indica out in public.
Last one to up to bat is the HipVap, a portable vape with the look of hip flask. Cool idea, though it doesn’t really make for a discreet vaporizer. Drinking from a flask isn’t necessarily legal in most places and will still draw attention. Yes you can cover it completely with your hand, but holding a fist up to your mouth doesn’t seem very secretive to me. It’d dock it quite a few points for that reason, but as far as vapor production goes it works pretty well. Plus it does have a digital temperature display screen, something both the PUFFiT and Indica lack.
Out of all of the “discreet vaporizers” available today, I put the Vapor Cup at the head of the pack. It beats out the PUFFiT in vapor production easily, while the HipVap is not very discreet with the flask design and the Indica just doesn’t make much sense. Though it may be on the larger side of things and you can’t fit it in your pocket, but if you bust out something like a Crafty or Ascent in a crowd of people it’s pretty obvious what you’re doing. I’d say this is the most discreet vaporizer, at least by definition of the word.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE VAPOR CUP
More than anything, I like that the Vapor Cup actually vaporizes well. I got clouds of vapor from the glass draw stem and black straw alike. The design is certainly unique, but if it didn’t work well than what does it even matter if you can take it out in public easily? It is made of quality materials and does not feel cheap to me when holding or using it. Along with being well crafted, it is a distinctive vaporizer in a market saturated with knockoffs and reproductions. With the privacy sleeve on and the black straw in place, it can be taken on the go with no worries.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE ABOUT THE VAPOR CUP
In order to resemble a travel mug it does need to be the size of one, so for those seeking a very compact portable, the Vapor Cup is not the best option. It is more comparable to the dimensions of desktop unit; sort of looks like someone took an Extreme Q and turned it upside down. Also the instructions recommend a 24 hour initial charge in order to achieve the most reliable battery life, which is one of the longest I have ever come across with a vape, though it can still be used during this time while plugged in.
The Vapor Cup is for the person who wants to remain discreet while enjoying the advantages of vaporization. Though it can be considered a rather large vaporizer, it truly has to be the size it is in order to replicate the appearance of a coffee mug. I would say that busting out a PAX in public is going to bring more attention than sipping on the Vapor Cup. Plus it features a digital temperature display for accurate control, which is conveniently hidden with the privacy sleeve. So if you are a professional, trying to keep it secret from your kids or just want the freedom of vaping wherever you are, I would suggest the Vapor Cup.
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The Verdict | Vapor Cup Vaporizer Review
The best vaporizer in the “discreet” category hands down. It is quickly mistaken for a common travel coffee mug, but is not just a novelty product. The Vapor Cup hides in plain sight while vaporizing your herb efficiently.