Coffee is a morning ritual that starts many of us off on the right foot. While we might take for granted how much we enjoy the flavor, aroma, and grit of a good cup of joe, our drinking vessel can actually make or break the experience. As such, it’s important to choose the right type of mug for the type of coffee you’re having.
The classic coffee mug may need little introduction. We’ve all seen these vessels before and most of us probably have one in our possession at the moment. This kind of cup is typically small in height and diameter, with a smaller base and wider brim, which creates an upside down bell shape. As a result, beverages tend to cool down faster when served in this type of cup.
They are usually made from glass, ceramic, or polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam). Polystyrene is the most popular of these materials, as it’s cheap to produce and can retain heat very well, even when empty. Ceramic is also a common material for coffee cups, as it’s often dishwasher safe and can be more visually appealing than glass.
Mugs can be found in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from the standard short, which holds about 250ml, to tall, which is 354ml, and finally venti, which is 590ml. Starbucks, for instance, uses a cute name system to denote the different size of cups: tall, grande, and venti.
Much of the appeal of a cup of coffee has to do with its scent, and it turns out that the shape of the mug you’re using plays a large role in the strength of the aroma. In fact, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Food Quality and Preference asked a group of coffee experts and amateurs to taste samples from three different shaped mugs and rate their experience. The results showed that coffee in a tulip mug (sloped sides) had a stronger, more intense aroma than coffee in a split cup or classic diner mug.
Another key attribute of a coffee cup is its handle, which is usually narrower and more rounded than the one on a teacup. As a result, it can be easier to grip and hold when you’re sipping.
Some mugs are designed with sleeves that fit tightly over them, to insulate your hands from the hot beverage. These are commonly used by coffee shops and other vendors that serve hot beverages in disposable paper cups. You can find these in a wide variety of materials and can even customize them with your own designs. You can also get a custom printed lid for your mug to keep it sealed and spill-proof. For a more luxurious option, you can buy a ceramic or porcelain mug with a real handle. These can be more expensive, but are perfect for home use as they tend to be dishwasher-safe and don’t lose their finish over time.