Best Coffee Cups For All Occasions

Know your cups and flaunt your great taste in drinkware.

Best Coffee Cups

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

Whether it's relaxing on the sofa with a cosy mug, or using a travel cup in the office, our coffee drinkware reflects the environment we're in. There are quirky coffee shops with tactile stoneware that elevates a latte into art. High street coffee chains have normalised gigantic soup bowl-sized vessels and social media has popularised transparent double-walled glasses. But the best coffee begins at home with your morning brew, so we've found the best coffee cups worthy of fitting the bill.

You may already have a favourite mug. Whether you got it as a Secret Santa pressie, as a holiday souvenir, or it's been acquired from long-departed housemates - our go-to drinking vessel is an object that we become attached to. And as we all know, it's always a sad day when it gets knocked over and smashed. The replacement never quite has the same feeling of comfort when we put our hands around it and give it a hug. However, our selection of coffee cups not only look good - they'll help to elevate the taste of your morning cuppa too.

Which Cup Qualities Are Best?

Amazingly, the shape of our coffee cups can affect the taste of our coffee. The work of Brazilian PhD researcher Fabiana Carvalho, into how a vessel can enhance the aroma and flavours of coffee is a fascinating read for any coffee enthusiast.

In the briefest terms, the best shape for a great coffee aroma is a tulip-shaped cup, narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. The best cups have the widest tilt angle; so when the coffee is angled towards your mouth it's impacting a wide surface area. This contact releases more aroma and you perceive more coffee flavours as a result.

There's a good reason behind Nescafé's iconic red mug too. Even the colour of a coffee cup can affect the way we perceive the taste. For example, a blue mug might make the beverage taste milder than a red cup, which is perceived as warmer. If you really want elevate the taste of your coffee, you may want to consider investing a new machine, be it coffee pod or even a great filtered option.

If you're planning on having friends around for Fika, there are a few types of cups you should have in your kitchen arsenal. To recreate the real coffee shop vibe, 200ml café-style latte glasses are a must-have. Demitasse or espresso cups are perfect for serving Turkish coffees, macchiatos and espresso. Invest in cups that are different sizes; a standard mug size ranges between 240-350ml, which is ideal for your morning pick-me-up.

However, if you're serving flat whites to friends, you may want to have 160ml cups to impress with your coffee connoisseurship, just don't forget the milk.

Best Coffee Cups

Use kitchen shelves to show off your assortment of cups and mugs. And how about setting up your own home coffee bar, complete with a coffee machine and accessories? From high-end Denby drinkware to amazing high-street options - this guide covers cups for all budgets and in all sorts of exciting shapes and sizes.

Whilst some of us have asbestos mouths and drink our beverages piping hot, others prefer to let their drinks cool down. So, we've thrown in some of the latest mug warmers and thermal travel mugs. You'll never have to drink stone-cold coffee again (unless that's the way you like to get your perks).

Best high-end coffee cups

Denby Azure Haze 2 Piece Large Mug Set
Price: $38.55

We couldn't write about coffee cups and not feature a product from Denby. This iconic English brand has unique glazing that's well-known for producing beautiful and highly durable stoneware products. This set of two elevates drinking a morning coffee to a luxurious experience. Matching homeware is also available in the Azure Haze range.

Customer review: "I decided to try Denby cups and I wasn’t disappointed. They are a great price and look good. We very much like the colour and they're not likely to stain due to the glaze (as have been the case with other makes). Also, they also have the added bonus of not being to heavy."

Pros

  • Chip-proof
  • Made to last

Cons

  • Expensive

Best double-walled coffee cups

Here at A Modern Kitchen, we just love double-walled mugs. If you haven't yet been converted to the benefits, then let us tell you all about the original (and the best) from the Danish brand Bodum. A double-walled cup insulates your drink, and whether it's hot or cold, you can wrap your hands around it and it will feel room temperature. This set of six glasses works out to be a good value for quality glassware.

Customer review: "These really keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Don't let the lack of handles put you off. Due to the design, you can pick these up as soon as you make your hot drinks without issues."

Pros

  • Iconic design
  • Insulates your drink

Cons

  • Will break if dropped

Best espresso cups

These vibrant espresso cups from Le Creuset will brighten everyone's day. Le Creuset stoneware is synonymous with being aesthetically beautiful and reliably durable. Invest in the best and bring a smile to coffee mornings. Matching rainbow ramekins, tea plates and egg cups are also available from this iconic brand.

Customer review: "These are beautiful espresso cups. They hold a little over a double, and keep the contents warmer then other cups I've tried in this size."

Pros

  • Gorgeous colours
  • Iconic brand
  • Durable

Cons

  • They do not stack

Best for Fika

Gohobi Handmade Stoneware Coffee Cup and Saucer
Price: £19.80+

www.etsy.com

An elegant coffee cup and matching saucer, that strikes us as being the perfect cup for Fika. The tactile and textured stoneware has comforting Scandi vibes. We can imagine curling up with a good book, a cinnamon bun and this gorgeous cup and saucer. For a little extra, a lovely little asymmetric spoon accompanies this set.

Customer review: "This cup and saucer set is beautiful. I think it looks much more expensive than it was and is really stylish."

Pros

  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • High quality
  • Lovely to hold

Cons

  • Expensive

Best coffee cup for cappuccino

The shape of these stoneware cups makes them ideal for cappuccinos and flat whites. The wide circular shape is the perfect canvas for swirly coffee art or a generous sprinkling of grated chocolate. The unique glaze gives a variegated colouring that makes each cup slightly different. Imagine savouring a delicious latte and pepparkaka - the paired-down minimalist, handmade effect oozes Scandi vibes at a very affordable price. This cup is part of a matching stoneware range.

Customer review: "Love these mugs. They are microwave and dishwasher proof, which is a must in this day and age. They are all slightly different in some way, but that's kind of unique, so they aren't all the same. Makes them look very expensive."

Pros

  • Looks expensive
  • Handmade effect

Cons

  • Each cup is slightly different

Best cup for latte

Recreate your favourite high street branded coffee at home with this set of two tall latte glasses. The double wall of glass keeps your coffee hot while the outside stays relatively cool to the touch. These slender glasses have a wide base and they taper outwards, so there's plenty of room for squirty cream on top.

Customer review: "Tassimo make quite small cups of coffee approximately 200ml, these cups are the perfect size for the machine."

Pros

  • Robust
  • Good value
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Might not fit under all coffee machines

Best coffee cup set

Calla Ceramic Mug, Set of 4
Price: £18 (was £20)

www.wayfair.co.uk

Nothing brings a smile to a face more than wrapping one's hands around a big warm mug and sipping the first coffee of the day. This gorgeous set of ceramic mugs are an inviting shape to hold. And, as the mugs are different colours, they make a great option for a shared household. Bursting with contemporary style and practical too, as they are dishwasher and microwave safe.

Customer review: "Really gorgeous mugs with a lovely weight to them."

Pros

  • Sturdy and stylish
  • Large capacity

Cons

  • Expensive to replace if dropped

Best personalised coffee cup

Treat yourself or a loved one to a stylish glass mug with an initial and name. Choose from a wide range of metallic colours for extra personalisation. At a super affordable price, this initial mug makes a super gift idea for anyone who loves coffee. It's also a practical idea to stop others from stealing your mug.

Customer review: "This is my second time ordering personalised mugs. they are beautiful and make sure good presents."

Pros

  • Super Instagrammable
  • Great price
  • Range of colours for lettering

Cons

  • Not suitable for microwave or dishwasher

Best for coffee lovers

As with wine-tasting, a tulip-shaped drinking vessel is the best for enhancing the aroma and taste of coffee. The surface area of the cup activates the flavour notes and diffuses them. So when you inhale the aroma, you get a waft of complex scents that any coffee lover will love to distinguish. This set of six Royal Genware Tulip Cups offers good value if you are looking to purchase a set of traditional drinkware.

Pros

  • Traditional coffee cup
  • Range of colours available

Cons

  • Small capacity

Best Heated Cups And Warmers

Initially, a heated cup and mug warmer might seem like a smart idea, but not really top of anyone's wish list. However, think of the number of times a steaming cup of coffee has gone cold when a sudden call crops up. A desktop gadget de jour, you can set the temperature and leave it on all day on a minimal charge. That's so much more convenient than having to reheat cold coffee in the microwave.

Best heated coffee cup

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
Price: $143.95
Alternative retailers
Target$119.99View offer
Apple$149.95View offer
Best Buy$149.99View offer

This gadget will keep your cuppa warm for up to one and a half hours on a single charge with the mug itself or all day when you use the coaster. The Ember mug has a long-lasting battery, so you can keep your drink warm for longer and control it with an app, allowing you to choose the temperature you'd like your drink to be.

Customer review: "In my non-heated office now the temperature is dropping it’s the best thing ever. When caught on the phone for a length of time I know my drink or soup is going to be just the way I like it. It’s deceptively cool to the touch, easy to clean and gives you a surprise when near the last few gulps when it’s still piping hot at the end."

Pros

  • Reliably keeps drinks warm
  • Long charge

Cons

  • Issues getting mug to stay connected to the app
  • Mug will stain over time

Best mug warmer

GREATCHI Mug Warmer
Price: £26.99

This hot plate coffee warmer is great for different-sized mugs. With three temperature settings to choose from, you can get your perfect hot drink with this mug warmer. The glass panel top is waterproof, fireproof and a decent size, making it suitable for certain cups, mugs, carafes and bowls. You could even fit a small teapot on it.

Customer review: "Very simple to use, just place the teapot (or mug) over it and it heats up (it has a pressure switch underneath). It has three touch buttons for three heat settings - shame it does not also have an on-off button. The only way to switch it off is to remove the cup or teapot from it, but if like me your desk space is limited, then it is inconvenient."

Pros

  • Can accommodate a variety of drinkware
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Temperature is in Fahrenheit

Best Reusable Coffee Cup

If you want to save money and enjoy your favourite coffee outside of the home, a reusable cup is a must-have. Look for lightweight, leakproof and thermal options. Plus, lots of coffee shops give you a discount if you bring your own reusable cup. Help combat the plastic waste epidemic by switching to reusable.

Your coffee addiction may be one bad habit you're not letting go of - but single-use plastics can definitely get the chop.

Best reusable coffee cup

THILY Stainless Steel Tumbler
Price: $13.89

Keep your coffee at the right temperature for longer with this mug, available in a great range of colours and prints. This tumbler is rust-resistant, shatterproof and non-toxic, and the triple insulation will keep your hot drinks hot for up to three hours and cold for up to nine hours. With a stunning range of designs, this insulated tumbler would make a wonderful gift for anybody.

Customer review: "They have a rubber seal lid which has a sliding tab on the top which you can slide open to reveal the small hole to drink your drink from. Alternatively you can take the lid off to let it cool for a bit and then drink it direct from the cup. And even if you forget about it with the lid off, it still keeps your drink hot for so much longer which is perfect."

Pros

  • Good insulation
  • Great design variety

Cons

  • Not the best lid

Best travel mug

Bodum 11068-01 Vacuum Travel Mug
Price: $25.01

The Bodum Travel Mug is an Amazon favourite, thanks to its slip-proof rubber collar and lid, which come in different colours, and features a double-wall for heat insulation.

Customer review: "I've been charged for a 'medium' size drink (i.e. one around 450ml) because the mug looks a lot larger than its true capacity. If it was plastic, like the Starbucks reusables, then it's probably closer. But the raised bottom in this mug - while helping for the general heat retention - subtracts from the volume."

Pros

  • Easy to hold
  • Good insulation

Cons

  • A little plain
  • Not dishwasher safe

OUR VERDICT: Best Coffee Cups

We just can't get enough of double-walled cups, and for quality drinkware, we choose the Bodum PAVINA Double Walled Thermo Glasses. It's wonderfully satisfying to offer your guests lovely cups when entertaining. And these glasses are a great value investment for coffee mornings, dinner parties and luxurious breakfasts because they are versatile. The double-walled insulation means you could serve anything from piping hot coffee to iced parfait in them. The handle-less design means they make dainty dessert glasses as well as drinkware. We think they're the ideal choice for serving an after dinner affogato.

FAQs

What Are The Advantages Of Double-Walled Coffee Cups?

A double-walled cup is transparent and a lot thicker than a standard drinking vessel. A handle is redundant on a double-walled vessel because it's insulated. This solves the problem of the outside of a mug being uncomfortable to hold when it contains a hot drink. Equally, a double-walled vessel keeps ice-cold drinks cool too. Because the area between the walls is hollow, you'll find this drinkware much lighter than ceramic and stoneware cups.

Pleasing to hold and lovely to look at, double-walled vessels are also durable. Generally, they're made from high-quality borosilicate glass, which is sturdier than single-walled cups and won't easily crack. It's also a food-grade material that won't taint like plastic, or pick up the stains left by stewed tea bags.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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