Best Espresso Cups To Upgrade Your Demitasse

Dainty drinkware for a little taste of sophisticated café noir.

Best Espresso Cups To Upgrade Your Demitasse

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

It takes time to craft the perfect espresso and it should be enjoyed the way the Italians do; in the best espresso cup. Drinking from a pint-size cup, variously known as an espresso cup, demitasse or tazzina, enhances the taste and aroma. Drinkware etiquette and conventions are getting reinvented for the 21st Century. Because electric coffee machines and domestic brewing equipment enable us to prepare espresso at home, our enjoyment of this strong coffee shot is on the rise. Your cupboards may be stocked with teetering stacks of hand-me-down mugs, dinner sets, and Nan's treasured teapot, but chances are you may have a gap in your drinkware.

There are two touchpoints in the day where we are likely to reach for a half-cup. The first cup comes in the morning when you want a caffeine kick espresso. Later, in the evening, a demitasse is used to serve after-dinner café noir. An espresso cup holds between 40-90ml, which is ideal for the titular drink, as well as ristretto (30ml), cortado (60ml) with milk foam, and traditional macchiato one shot (40ml) plus milk. Additionally, espresso cups are the perfect size for serving a rich chocolate mousse dessert. But, if you love a lungo (120-140ml) or go large with your latte, then you'll need a bigger coffee cup.

Best Espresso Cups At A Glance:

Best stoneware espresso cups: Le Creuset Rainbow Espresso Cups, Set of 6
Best double-walled espresso cups: DLux Espresso Coffee Cups, Set of 2
Best porcelain espresso cups: ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer, 80ml
Best stainless steel espresso cups: Love-KANKEI Espresso Cups, Set of 2
Best unusual espresso cups: Espresso Cups Set, Ceramic Coffee Cup for Coffee Lovers

In this guide, we've taken care to include drinkware to suit all budgets; because entertaining can be elegant yet affordable. Also, we've included cups in a range of materials, including stoneware, stainless steel and traditional porcelain. Finally, we understand your needs may vastly differ. Some are looking for a single special cup, so you can down your espresso, grab a bagel and run for the bus. Others are in need of a set to expand their tableware accessories or home coffee bar. Alternatively, you may be here looking for inspo for a housewarming gift for a coffee lover. In all instances - we present to you a pretty mix of personal and interesting espresso cups - to suit all tastes.

Best Espresso Cups

Best stoneware espresso cups

These vibrant rainbow 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. The key benefit of stoneware is that it retains heat, keeping your coffee warmer for longer. Also, Le Creuset stoneware is glazed with stain and chip-resistant enamel, making it long-lasting and durable. 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."


  • Gorgeous colours
  • Iconic brand
  • Durable


  • They do not stack

Best double-walled espresso cups

DLux Espresso Coffee Cups
Price: $11.97

The visual appeal of seeing rich espresso coffee with a decadent crema makes these DLUX Espresso Coffee Cups the best contemporary drinkware for coffee. The trend for beautiful coffees, seemingly suspended in glass, can be seen widely on luxury coffee brands' socials. You can get the look too, at a very reasonable price for two 90ml cups. The double-walled glass retains heat and keeps the outer wall cool so you can hold the cup without the need for a handle... making for chic and sleek coffee grams. With a bit of imagination, you can elevate these cups into petite dessert glasses. How about serving lemon posset with a piece of shortbread on the side at your next get-together - beautiful!

Customer review: "They're well made and tougher than they look. Being borosilicate, they are extremely light, coming in at around 60g each. I've dropped them a couple of times in the sink when washing them, and they haven't cracked, so they're not as delicate as they look (I don't recommend chucking them around the kitchen, obviously)."


  • Insulated glass retains heat
  • Contemporary chic and sleek style
  • Good value


  • Visible logo on the base

Best porcelain espresso cups

ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer

Rrp: $10.99

Price: $8.99

Add a splash of colour to your coffee ritual with this ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer. It evokes 20th Century café culture tradition with its gentle tulip shape and the dull fern colour is redolent of mass-produced Mid-Century tea and dinner sets. The tactility of this good-looking glass, with its smooth curved handle, enhances the pleasure of savouring the taste and aroma of sensational espresso. Make this your personal coffee cup for your morning pick-me-up... it's too good to share.

Customer review: "I really like these cups. They're a good quality and weight, the colours are lovely and vibrant. I find 80ml an ideal size for a double shot (I normally pull 36-38g though)."


  • Comes with a saucer
  • Stylish
  • Available in a range of colours


  • Breaks if dropped

Best stainless steel espresso cups

If you can't bear to be without your morning pep, or you're looking for something a bit different, these Love-KANKEI Espresso Cups are totally portable and stylish and can stand getting thrown around. The set of two 150ml cups is stackable, making them a great option for travelling. Additionally, these vessels are double-walled and thermally insulated, so your coffee stays hotter for longer. Whether you're on a campsite, at a hotel or at your beach hut - at least you can take the pleasure of your espresso ritual on the road - with no half measures.

Customer review: "I really like these. Nice brushed matt finish on the outside of the cup with polished inside. Holds the heat well and is perfect for small coffees outdoors when out camping."


  • Insulated
  • Stylish
  • Robust
  • Versatile


  • Can't be used in a microwave

Best unusual espresso cups

Espresso Cups Set, Ceramic Coffee Cup for Coffee Lovers
Price: £30.27+ (was £37.84)

If you like to admire your strong and concentrated coffee in a beautiful vessel, this Ceramic Coffee Cup for Coffee Lovers could be the one for you. It's all in the detail, this gorgeous handmade drinkware from Your Gift Corner on Etsy comes in a number of styles - look closely, even the handle shapes vary. From scallops, ornate tiles, peacock, coral to botanic flowers and more - choose from a colourful range of patterns, then opt for one up to eight cups in a set. The decorative saucers have colour-coordinated cups and every piece is one-of-a-kind. This is a very tactile and individualised espresso cup and saucer set which would make a treasured gift.

Customer review: "This morning, I greatly liked having my espresso and cortado in these for the very first time. The cups are adorable, wonderfully and perfectly designed. Comfortable to hold I adore the various hues and textures on them."


  • Handmade
  • Huge range of patterns to suit every taste
  • Unique


  • Not dishwasher safe

Best personalised espresso cup

This popular Personalised White Espresso Cup from Perfectly Named on Etsy is handmade by a small business in the United Kingdom so you can rest assured that the recipient will not have seen drinkware like this before. Although espresso is gone in one or two mouthfuls, having a cup with one's name on it means this will be on display for a long time to come. Also, this vessel is made of enamel so it's going to stand up to being dropped or knocked. The white and blue rim is a simple retro look that will appeal broadly, especially if you've got a country-kitchen feel or holiday cottage by-the-coast vibes.

Customer review: "I bought this as a gift for my husband and he absolutely loves it. I love the design and quality of the cup. It was the perfect personalised gift for his first birthday a Dad."


  • Supporting small business in the UK
  • Personalised
  • Durable material


  • Capacity not specified

Best luxury espresso cup

Simple pleasure, that should not be underestimated, starts with the first coffee of the day. Elevate your espresso experience to one of luxury with this striking Ann Demeulemeester Porcelain Espresso Cup and bring a decadent sense of occasion that upgrades your coffee ritual to art. With a mesmerising design, glossy black and white sheen and tactile shape, this reinvents the espresso cup - drawing on other influences beyond the continent. Indulge in a miniature piece of designer drinkware - it's actually a rather good price for a high-end product.

Selfridges says: "It’s not often that a cup makes you wonder about the moment that the universe rushed into existence. But this one does. Shouldn’t be too surprising, tho, as Ann Demeulemeester is more visionary artist than designer of plainly functional objects. The Dé tableware collection was designed for Serax, and each piece has a degrade finish from meticulous hand-drawn hatching in several layers. Like we say: more art than plate."


  • Designer drinkware that's affordable
  • An alternative interpretation of an espresso cup
  • Too good to share


  • Porcelain will smash if dropped

Best vintage espresso cup

Alice in Wonderland Espresso Cup and Saucer

Rrp: $29.99

Price: $26.95

It's never too late for coffee. Break out the jam tarts and impress at your next afternoon tea party with this nostalgic Alice in Wonderland Espresso Cup and Saucer. Your tableware is your tool with which you set the scene and this charming cup and saucer will evoke childhood whimsy and traditional English summer fun - lazing on a golden afternoon - just add fairy cakes and pudding. This beautifully designed drinkware is inspired by the V&A archives and part of a matching tableware collection. Luxurious gold details on the quintessential illustrations by Sir John Tenniel make this a cup to be treasured as a display piece as much as a functional item.

Customer review: "I like very much the design, shape, size of the cup and saucer and the graphic is excellent. I have more pieces from the set and they are all very high standard, the fine China is fine but sturdy. The packaging is lovely making every piece a very nice gift."


  • Made from fine china
  • Beautifully packaged
  • A must for an Alice in Wonderland fan


  • Prone to breakages

Best Scandi-style espresso cups

Perfect for fika or a café noir after a sit-down meal. This set of four Royal Doulton Coffee Studio Espresso Cups and Saucers has a relaxed shape and toned-down colourways that reflect a laid-back approach to entertaining. Chic and simple - just add good friends with some good food - and your brunch party is all good to go. Save the silver spoons, modern entertaining is all about being relaxed and welcoming and this espresso set totally reflects the Scandi vibe with elegance.

Customer review: N/A


  • Dishwasher safe
  • Durable porcelain


  • Will break if dropped

Our Verdict: Best Espresso Cups

Whether you're entertaining or luxuriating in your own coffee ritual, A Modern Kitchen recommends DLux Espresso Coffee Cups. The transparent double-walled design is aesthetically gorgeous, as well as enabling you to see the crema and coffee colour. Plus, it provides thermal insulation so you don't burn your fingers. Being dishwasher and microwave safe increases the range of use - including serving dessert pots. Although you might not fit a tiramisu in there. Make the DLUX Espresso Coffee Cups the finishing touch to your dining experience and make the last course the sweetest.


How is espresso made?

Brewing espresso is a common way to enjoy coffee on the continent. Originating in Italy, it involves a pressurised brewing process that forces very hot water through finely-ground coffee; essentially squeezing the flavour out of the ground coffee. An espresso machine is used, whether in the form of bean-to-cup or a manual pump coffee machine, which gives control over the temperature, water pressure and speed of extraction. This early 20th Century invention, began in Northern Italy. Espresso culture spread to become popular worldwide by the 1950s. The term 'pulling a shot' refers to the barista pulling a lever to force the hot water through the coffee under pressure. Alternatively, this process can be replicated by an electric pump.

It has a thicker mouthfeel than other coffees and results in a concentrated shot of around 40ml. The pressurised brewing separates the oils from the liquid that releases a strong coffee aroma. The crema that forms on top contains those oils in foam and has a wonderfully creamy taste.

Why is using an espresso cup important?

The design of the drinkware can affect the taste of the beverage. For example, drinking a glass of water is more sating and pleasing than drinking water from chunky, opaque stoneware. Similarly, the flavours and aromas of coffee are enhanced by the vessel. A tiny 40ml espresso needs a tiny cup, otherwise, the aromas and taste will get lost in a larger vessel. It's a good idea to have a wide selection of cups and mugs so you can mix and match different shapes and styles and cater for every occasion.

The shape and material of an espresso cup enhance the taste of the coffee and keeps it warmer for longer. Traditionally, espresso cups are made of porcelain. According to Caffe Morandini, the cup should have "a truncated cone shape, rounded inside and with an egg-shaped bottom that will assure a more lasting texture of the cream."

If you are a coffee connoisseur, opt for a cup that's white inside, as the contrast allows you to observe the colour of the coffee and crema. Espresso cups traditionally have straight outer sides. Grip the handle of the espresso cup with two fingers. Before double-walled cups came along this was the way to prevent getting burnt while holding the hot drink. Additionally, espresso cups often come with a matching saucer which is ideal for placing a coffee spoon (smaller than a teaspoon), a sugar lump, or a piece of dark chocolate for the most incredible indulgence and mouthfeel.

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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