There are a lot of coffee mugs on the market. You probably already have several, maybe made of ceramic or glass. But do you have the best mug for your coffee, and have you thought about all of your options?
To help you upgrade your coffee drinking experience, we’ve put together this detailed guide to the 10 different types of coffee cups and mugs. Keep reading to learn all about the benefits and drawbacks of different materials and the sizes available.
The 10 Types of Coffee Mugs
1. Ceramic Coffee Mugs
When you think of a classic coffee mug, it’s probably made of ceramic. Most people have ceramic mugs, collected from a favorite diner or a high school reunion.
Durable and often printed with designs, these mugs last forever and work well in the microwave and dishwasher. Ceramic is also a good material for insulating, meaning your coffee will stay warm for longer, and it disperses heat well throughout the liquid in your cup.
However, ceramic mugs aren’t particularly stylish, and they stain easily. Plus, they’re on the heavy side.
2. Glass Coffee Mugs
Glass mugs are beautiful and create an enjoyable drinking experience. You can see the layers of your coffee as you brew and drink it. Glass also doesn’t stain, so you won’t have to spend time scrubbing out coffee rings.
Because glass isn’t a great material for conducting heat, it won’t insulate your drink very well. If you’re a slower coffee drinker, you may want to look for double-walled glass mugs, which are designed to maintain heat by putting distance between your drink and the outside temperature.
Glass is also a more fragile material, meaning that it’s more likely to crack or shatter if it gets hit or when the temperature changes suddenly. Tempered glass is designed to better withstand heat changes as well as impact. You may want to keep an eye out for borosilicate glass, which is particularly durable.
Are you ready to buy a glass mug? Take a look at our guide to the best glass mugs available.
3. Stainless Steel Mugs
Stainless steel mugs do a great job of keeping your coffee hot for long periods. That’s why stainless steel is such a popular material for travel mugs.
These mugs are often a little more expensive, but in exchange, you’ll have quite a few options like lids and handles.
4. Melamine Coffee Mugs
You may not have heard of this material, but you’ve probably used it. Melamine is a man-made material used in various kitchen products.
Lightweight, durable, and essentially unbreakable, melamine mugs hold up well in the dishwasher and are highly affordable.
5. China Coffee Cups
Traditional Chinese pottery has been an attractive high-end option for centuries. It’s more beautiful than durable, though, and generally comes in smaller sizes, so it’s unlikely to be your go-to.
6. Stoneware Coffee Mugs
Stoneware mugs are often handmade and therefore offer an interesting range of designs. They’re durable and do a pretty good job of insulating, though they’re also typically pretty heavy. For the most part, you can safely put these mugs in the dishwasher.
Now that you’ve seen the various coffee mug materials, you may be wondering what the types are and how you can use them:
7. Classic Mugs
A classic mug is made for drinking coffee at home, at the office, or in a coffee shop. These are simple ceramic, stone, or glass mugs that hold around eight ounces of coffee.
8. Travel Mugs
If you drink your coffee in the car or on the train, you may prefer a mug that’s designed for travel. Travel mugs are typically made of either ceramic or stainless steel and hold more coffee, often around 16 ounces.
Because these mugs are taller, you may want to consider how you make coffee. Travel mugs won’t fit under drip or brew heads of many coffee machines, so measure before you buy.
These mugs also generally have lids and large handles. You’ll probably want to keep an eye out for tight-fitting lids that are easy to wash. Not all travel mugs are dishwasher-safe, so if you don’t love washing dishes, you may want to look for one that is.
Tumblers combine the qualities of classic and travel mugs. Shaped like large coffee mugs, tumblers are also equipped with travel lids.
Because they’re wider, tumblers may not fit in your car’s cup holders. They come in a variety of sizes, but many can hold over 20 ounces. Often made of stainless steel, tumblers are great at insulating, so they’ll keep your coffee warm for a long time.
10. Demitasse/Espresso cups
The demitasse is another name for an espresso cup. These tiny mugs top out at around three ounces, so they’re great for drinking a shot of espresso but won’t fit a larger cup of coffee. If you pull double shots of espresso, you may want to look for a demitasse with a larger capacity.
Typically made of ceramic, espresso cups may also come with saucers or in a set.
With all of these materials and sizes, you have a lot of options when buying coffee mugs. Depending on how you drink coffee, you may find a use for several types. You may want a stainless steel travel mug for your commute, a ceramic mug for the office, and a set of espresso cups for dinner parties. We hope this guide helps you sort through your choices and pick a great mug (or three).
Header image credit: Sebra, Shutterstock