The most important things that I consider when buying a travel mug are:
Whether I miss-judge where my cup holder is without taking my eyes off the road, or someone slams their brakes on in front of me.
3. How difficult it is to wash.
I'm a busy person who travels a lot so I like the ability to just throw my mugs in the dishwasher. I don't have to worry about the weird leftover smells since the dishwasher does a pretty good job cleaning and sanitizing.
Just make sure whatever you pick is dishwasher safe.
My best advice for pricing a travel mug is to avoid the cheapest. Whether it's plastic, rubber or metallic.
They just don't work out. Glass is another no. We all know why, but if I must add a reminder, it's because they're more susceptible to breaking and when it breaks it can be disastrous.
I like to look for travel mugs that are capable of storing both cold and hot beverages.
I drink equal amounts of coffee and water, so I like that I don't have to reach up into my cupboard for two different mugs depending on what I'll be drinking. Plus it also saves cupboard space.
The lids are also an important consideration for me.
Some have a habit of leaking or you need to twist them off, flip them up, Etc.
I look for designs that have a push-button type button so I can operate it with just one hand.
To take a sip, I just push the button and the protective lid lifts up so I can keep my hand on my steering wheel or bike handles without having to stop and fight with a screw top lid.
To recap, I just push down with that same hand and gently nudge it against something like the opposite bike handle. I reviewed three different travel mugs and canteens that I like including the Hydro Flask.
The Hydro Flask being my favorite because of its durability and the various cap styles to choose from like the straw lid and flip caps.
The downside is that it's not dishwasher safe but I still wash some dishes by hand so it's not like the Hydro is the only thing that requires hand washing.
As far as taste and keeping temperatures go, I've never had any problems with my Hydro Flask. If I pour juice in it, I can expect it to still be cold an hour later.
Likewise for my coffee or mochas.
I guess it really comes down to what other features you need in your mug.
I understand that keeping the freshly brewed taste is one of your top priorities, but if that's your only deciding factor, there's a lot of mugs out there that will meet your tastes.
Try and narrow your selection process more otherwise you'll spend forever looking at variety of mugs.
Happy drinking. Coffee that is… ;)