How to choose the right cup for each coffee

Discover how to choose the right cup to enjoy your coffee fully. In this article, I’ll provide practical tips on materials, sizes, and designs matching your preferences and needs. Elevate your coffee experience with the right choice of cup. Let’s get started!

How does a glass differ from a cup?

Glass is a handleless container mainly used for cold drinks; they are often straight and can vary in height and width. On the other hand, cups have a more specific shape with a wider top and a handle on one side.

Moreover, the materials used in their manufacture can also differ: glasses can be made of glass, plastic, or acrylic, while cups are commonly made of ceramic, porcelain, or glass. These materials are chosen based on the purpose and context of use for each container.

Difference between a glass and a cup

In terms of capacity, glasses generally have a larger capacity than cups, making them ideal for holding larger amounts of liquids like water, juice, soda, beer, and cocktails. On the other hand, cups have a smaller capacity and are specifically designed for holding hot beverages such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or infusions.

The distinction between a glass and a cup lies in their shape, capacity, and use. The choice between them will depend on the type of beverage you wish to enjoy and your personal preferences.

Can I clean my coffee cups in the dishwasher?

Not all coffee cups are dishwasher safe. This depends on the material and finish of the cup. Below, I provide you with a general guide on which types of coffee cups can or cannot be washed in the dishwasher:

Cups safe for the dishwasher:

  • Ceramic and porcelain: Most coffee cups made of ceramic or porcelain are suitable for the dishwasher. However, if washed frequently, cups with delicate or hand-painted finishes may lose their shine or get damaged over time.
  • Glass: Coffee cups made of glass are generally safe for the dishwasher. Just ensure they are heat-resistant and can withstand sudden temperature changes.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel cups are dishwasher safe. However, some travel cups with plastic parts or insulating components should not be washed in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer indicates it is safe.

Cups not suitable for the dishwasher:

  • Plastic cups: The heat and friction of the dishwasher can damage or deform the plastic.
  • Enamel-coated cups: Aggressive chemicals or extremely high temperatures can affect the enamel and cause chipping in enamel-coated cups.
  • Cups with sensitive finishes: Some cups have sensitive finishes, such as gold or silver leaf, which can deteriorate with dishwasher washing.
Set of 6 cups with saucers

What are double-walled cups?

Double-walled cups are more able to maintain beverage temperature than regular glass cups. Their design features two walls separated by an air or vacuum space that creates an insulating effect, helping to keep hot (or cold) beverages at the desired temperature for a longer time without transferring the temperature to the cup’s outer surface.

In terms of strength and durability, double-walled cups tend to be less robust due to their construction.

  • Strength: Double-walled cups made with borosilicate glass are known for their exceptional strength. This material can withstand a wide range of temperatures, from -4°F to 302°F, making it suitable for hot and cold beverages.
  • Enhanced temperature retention: The insulation of double-walled glass keeps the drink hot or cold for a longer period while the outer surface remains comfortable to the touch.
  • Reduced condensation: Compared to single-walled cups, double-walled cups generate less condensation on the exterior. This prevents the cup from becoming slippery and keeps surrounding surfaces dry.
Double-walled cups made of tempered glass
Double-walled coffee cups

Types of materials used in coffee cups

Coffee cups come in various materials, each with its own characteristics. Discover the ideal material that suits your style, preferences, and needs when enjoying your favorite coffee:

  1. Ceramic: Durable, heat-resistant, with a variety of designs and colors. Maintains coffee temperature well.
  2. Porcelain: Fine and elegant, perfect for special drinks.
  3. Glass: Allows clear content visibility, is heat-resistant, and is easy to clean.
  4. Stainless Steel: Durable and resistant, ideal for outdoor use, and keeps beverages’ temperature longer.
  5. Plastic: Lightweight and affordable, popular for take-out drinks, but using BPA-free plastic for hot beverages is important.
  6. Bamboo: Eco-friendly and sustainable, lightweight, and biodegradable.
  7. Silicone: Flexible and collapsible, great for travel or easy storage.
  8. Enamel-Coated Metal: With a rustic and retro finish, durable and suitable for outdoor use.

What type of coffee and size is recommended for each cup?

Each cup’s size and thickness can determine which type of coffee is most suitable to serve. Let’s start with small cups, a small and concentrated amount of coffee enjoyed in 2 to 3 ounces. The espresso takes center stage in these cups and can be served alone or used as a base for other drinks.

Medium cups are excellent for those who prefer a more balanced experience between coffee and milk. With 6 to 8 ounces, these cups are perfect for beverages like cappuccino, macchiato, or flat white.

Large cups are the right choice for a milder, milkier drink. With 12 to 16 Oz or more, these cups are ideal for latte or Americano.

Ice coffee cups are ideal for those hot days when you want a refreshing drink. These cups are larger and thicker to maintain the cold temperature of iced coffee or cold beverages. Remember that choosing the right cup for each type of coffee is essential for an unforgettable experience.

Different cup sizes

Which cup should I choose for my coffee?

A coffee cup is a container designed specifically to hold and serve coffee. They are usually made of ceramic, glass, porcelain, or stainless steel and can be found in different shapes, sizes, and designs.

Now, to choose the perfect cup, you should consider the following aspects:

  • Material: Ceramic, porcelain, and glass better retain the temperature, while stainless steel retains heat for longer but may slightly affect the taste.
  • Size: Choose a cup based on the quantity and type of coffee you enjoy. A larger cup for milk or foam-based drinks and a smaller one for espresso.
  • Thickness and Insulation: Double-walled cups better retain temperature if you prefer to savor slowly. Thinner cups are ideal for quick consumption or iced drinks.
  • Design and Aesthetics: The color and design of the cup can influence how we perceive the coffee’s taste. A white cup can soften the coffee, while a dark one enhances flavor intensity due to visual expectations.
  • Handle and Ergonomics: A comfortable and well-designed handle is important for securely holding the cup, especially with hot coffee.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Cups with smooth and glazed surfaces are easier to clean and prevent coffee residue.
Stainless steel coffee cup
Stainless steel coffee cup