Sure, the abundance of new, design-friendly weed gear is fun; it's a complete 180-degree turn from where we were even 10 years ago. There are dispensaries that look like Apple stores and bodegas; edibles in the shape of gummies or shrimp chips; and bongs so discreet, your parents wouldn't pick up on your pot-smoking if they were Cheech and Chong themselves.
But these innovations don't make everyone's lives easier. In states where weed is already legal, these gadgets are all over dispensary floors — extras you can explore as you make your way to a checkout counter. In states where weed is only legal medicinally, or just "decriminalized," the industry's design boon is less apparent — and so is its legality elsewhere in the U.S. It's just generally less acceptable.
That's why many companies work so hard to make weed products that blend in. Case in point? The Puffco Cupsy.
Reminiscent of a reusable to-go coffee cup, the Cupsy water pipe hides in plain sight and packs down into itself when you're on the move. You simply open the silicone lid, fill the cup with water, close the lid, pack the bowl and spark it — there are no electric parts and no glass components. It's essentially indestructible — and surprisingly smooth, too.
Puffco Cupsy Review
What's Good About the Puffco Cupsy
It's incredibly incognito.
Compared to other contemporary attempts at making a bong that looks nothing like a bong, the Puffco Cupsy takes the cake. When closed, with the bowl tucked into its storage slot, it is indiscernible from a to-go drip coffee. Sure, up close there are some instant giveaways, like the Cupsy logo on the side, but who's to say unsuspecting others won't assume that's a reusable coffee cup manufacturer or a new coffee shop they've never heard of before?
The clever top closure system also prevents some of the leftover weed aroma from escaping the bowl, too, because it essentially acts as a lid for it. No, it isn't airtight — it'll still smell like weed — but it isn't as fragrant as a bong with an exposed bowl.
It's easy to clean.
Traditional bongs are so hard to clean that there are extensive how-to's on the subject. You need an assortment of tiny tools to do it: pipe cleaners, a scrubbing brush, some sort of cleaning solution, Q-Tips and paper towels. That's a hell of a lot of work — especially if there are corners of its chamber, for example, you can't reach.
The Cupsy, on the other hand, breaks down completely, giving you easy access to all of its parts. You can pull the stem off, clean the base of the mouthpiece, wash the aluminum cup and so on and so forth. Plus, I've found the aluminum base to be far easier to clean than glass, even if there's no real science to that. Two splashes of Green Piece, some hot water and a little light scrubbing, and Cupsy is good as new.
It's impressively smooth.
To be honest, I expected the Cupsy to work okay, but not as well as a traditional bong. The ergonomics seemed off, and I questioned whether a device this different could deliver the same, well, experience.
I was wrong. This thing is surprisingly smooth. It pulls with the same veracity as a normal bubbler, but with the added benefit of being slightly smaller, reducing its total output, making you...well, less violently high after one hit.
It's not overpowering.
As I implied above, some bongs are too good. (Modern weed strains, with THC levels as high as 30 percent, don't help.) Ever try Heir, the modern, two-part glass bong that's the size of a Stanley tumbler? One normal hit and you're sent to the shadow realm — sunk into your own face, nervous your bloodshot eyes are bulging out of your head. The Puffco Cupsy won't do that to you — it's simply not possible, unless you have a really low tolerance.
The compact nature of the design results in a small bowl and an undersized chamber, at least compared to full-size bongs. Sure, that might be a problem for seasoned smokers, but it makes the Cupsy less intimidating — and less of an eyesore in your apartment.
What's Not Ideal About the Puffco Cupsy
Fine, it's a little gimmicky.
I get it. This cute little coffee cup doesn't conjure classic scenes of passing a glass bong around a hazy dorm room, but weed isn't what it used to be — how we use it has changed, and, as such, so have the tools we use to do so. That being said, there is something funny about picking this thing up, especially if you plan to pass it after your turn.
It's easy to ash completely in one sesh, making it the task of the next person to pack it again. The mouthpiece is awfully close to the flame, too, when you spark the bowl, so be careful if you have long hair, bangs or are wearing a hat with a brim that might bump it.
The exterior sleeve shouldn't come off, and the bowl can be a bit hard to remove.
While the exterior sleeve, which protects your hands from the heat on a real coffee, makes sense aesthetically, it doesn't serve much of a purpose here. I know that it's meant to give you a better grip, because the aluminum can get a little slick — but it shouldn't come off, even though I know it's supposed to when you wash it. For me, it's gotten a little stretched out, and it slides to the bottom of the cup sometimes.
There's a slight issue with the bowl, too, which pushes into the silicone lid (the same material the sleeve is made from). It gets stuck sometimes, and pulling with too much force occasionally lifts the entire lid. Just be slow but forceful with it, I'd say.
Puffco Cupsy: The Verdict
Bongs are expensive — especially good ones, which is why the Puffco Cupsy for only $60 is such a steal. It's a compact, incognito water pipe with a closable lid, a shatterproof body and an easy-to-clean ceramic bowl.
Does it deliver the same crowd-pleasing, crowd-sized smoke clouds as a foot-tall bong? No, but it can go so many places a bong can't while delivering an equal, albeit different, experience. I was admittedly skeptical, despite the Cupsy's undeniable charm. It ended up becoming the only pipe I really need.