The Best Coffee Mugs
Coffee lovers tend to spend lots of time (and money) finding the best beans and brewing kit, but you know what’s often neglected? The best mug!
The humble coffee cup can make a huge difference in how you enjoy your coffee. Pouring your perfect coffee into a good mug helps you fully appreciate its quality.
Whether you’re looking for the best travel coffee mug or some well-designed cups for your kitchen, we’ve got you covered.
This guide will help you pick a mug that won’t let your brew down!
TOP PICK: The Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug
Consider The Following When You’re On The Lookout For A Great Coffee Cup
Coffee cups are dime a dozen, and we don’t usually think that hard when buying them.
You’ve probably got some mugs got from a garage sale or a free event giveaway sitting in your kitchen cupboard.
But you could do better! By considering the factors below, you can find the perfect cup for your coffee in no time.
The material of coffee cups makes a huge difference to the drinking experience. Roughly speaking, good mugs are made from four materials:
Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider this when deciding on a new coffee cup.
And here's a brief overview:
Ceramic cups were first made thousands of years ago - this category includes all kinds of non-metallic, natural materials like clay and porcelain. There’s a reason they’ve stuck around for so long!
Most coffee vessels these days are made from glazed ceramics like enamel or Pyrex, because they are a good all-rounder material.
They hold heat well and don’t depart any aftertaste to your beverage.
Ceramic mugs are good in the insulation department. Ceramic materials are porous, which means it traps little pockets of air which then act as insulators, keeping your coffee warm for longer.
Compared to glass, they are better at holding heat.
There are also many distinctive ways to produce traditional ceramics, from Chinese porcelain and Japanese clay pottery to English stoneware. This means you can find beautiful and unique artisanal objects, although they usually come at a high price.
On the downside, ceramic cups break easily.
Once broken, bacteria might build up in the cracks. According to the Japanese aesthetic principle of “wabi-sabi”, a teacup with a crack in it only becomes more beautiful in its imperfection - but your body might disagree!
Glass coffee cups have a sleek and modern look. In the heat insulation department, glass loses to ceramics, and might be hot to touch if it doesn’t have a proper handle. Glass doesn’t depart any smells or tangs to your coffee. It can also be recycled, so it gets some environmental points.
If you like your coffee hot and black, glass might not be the ideal choice, because it’s not a great material for heat insulation. If you prefer iced coffee (think of that delicious Thai Iced coffee or that mouthwatering Japanese style iced coffee) or add some cold milk to your drink, glass can be a great choice - it looks good and doesn’t give any extra flavor to your coffee.
BUT.....ask most seasoned coffee drinkers (me included) and they'll agree: There is just something so damn satisfying about drinking coffee from a nice glass vessel.
Hard plastic is often used to make recyclable coffee cups. It’s not the sexiest material, and despite being recyclable, it’s not that good for the environment. Compared to ceramic or glass mugs, plastic cups tend to have a much shorter life cycle.
Hard plastic retains heat well, but it might give your coffee an unpleasant smell or aftertaste.
Overall, it doesn’t make much sense to choose the plastic mug over other materials.
Steel is mostly used in travel mugs and thermos. Because of its high heat conductivity, mugs made from steel usually combine other materials as well, such as plastic handles.
A stainless steel or aluminium mug might look a bit Spartan, but it’s a good material for coffee cups.
It holds heat well and doesn’t depart any funky bonus taste. It’s also easy to clean and practically unbreakable - a well-designed steel mug can last for a lifetime.
On the downside, steel is hardly the prettiest option, unless you like industrial design.
The best material?
Ceramic or glass for home - and steel or plastic for travellers. (if you're looking for a list of the 10 best travel coffee mugs - click here)
Design - Size, Shape, Colour
Material is the most important thing to consider, but design matters as well.
Consider things like size and shape. The material will impact these as well: ceramic cups are the most versatile in the design department, while glass and steel mugs tend to look alike.
How big does your mug need to be? You want to get a mug that holds at least the amount of coffee you usually make for yourself.
Consider also the handle - a good coffee cup is comfortable to hold and doesn’t feel too hot to touch.
Is it easy to keep clean? Some materials, like stainless steel, are easy to keep spotless, while ceramics are difficult to maintain in pristine condition.
If you don’t like persistent coffee stains, maybe don’t get a white enamel mug.
Do you like how it looks?
The colour of a mug can actually have an impact on its taste - something to consider before making your decision!
The 7 Best Coffee Mugs - According To Personality!
Now you know which qualities to look for in a coffee vessel.
To make it even more of a breeze to find the perfect one for you, I’ve created a list of the 7 best mugs for coffee lovers according to personality!
|TEEQUIO "Nosy Nose" Mug||
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|CONTIGO Autoseal West Loop Mug||
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|OSAKA Ryoan-ji Mug||
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|Giant Coffee Mug||
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|COASTLINE Glass Mug||
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|YETI Rambler Tumbler||
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#1 - The "Nosy Nose" Mug (for the stylish)
This “Nosy nose mug” designed created by Mexican designer Rafael Mucino will definitely attract some curiosity amongst friends or co-workers.
Unlike the typical jokey mugs, which merely have something funny printed on them, this mug’s design is playful in itself. It’s amusing in an offbeat way.
As for the quality of the mug itself, it is definitely top of its class. The ceramic mug is handmade and glazed at a high temperature, to ensure safety and heat insulation.
According to Rafael Mucino, the mug was created “"Because having only one nose in life can be boring” - and who are we to argue with him?
The mug is on sale in the Mexican design collective Teequio.
Although getting it shipped from Mexico D.F. might be a headache, the price for a handmade ceramic mug is a bargain - and if you know someone who’s going to Mexico City, you know what to ask for a souvenir!
#2 - Best Travel Mug: The Contigo Autoseal West Loop Mug
Contigo is one of the most popular brands for travel mugs, and with good reason: their product designs are both stylish and practical.
If you’re the type of person who is often on the go, the Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum Insulated travel mug might be your perfect partner.
The main attraction of the Contigo West Loop mug is the leak and spill proof “Autoseal” lid, which means you can carry it in your bag without risking ruining your laptop.
Like many other travel mugs, the Contigo West Loop is made from stainless steel.
It’s also double walled and insulated, keeping your coffee hot for about 4-5 hours, which is pretty good for a mug.
The Contigo West Loop can be difficult to clean, especially if you want to get the coffee smell out of it. It’s also not the nicest mug to use at home. But if you’re an adventurer, you might appreciate the ease of having homemade coffee on the go.
#3 - For The Artistic Souls: The Ryoan-ji Mug
This Ryoan-ji mug from Osaka Coffee is both beautiful and convenient for everyday use.
It comes in two mosaic designs, the blue-hued Hyousetsu mosaic and the Niji, which is accentuated with warmer colours. If you appreciate bright colours and Japanese design, sipping your coffee from these mugs will cheer up your day.
The Ryoan-ji is made from double-walled ceramic, which is a standard mug material with decent heat insulation.
It also has a bright blue silicone ring which will help you hold the mug safely and comfortably.
The Ryoan-ji stands out with its minimalist design; it’s an elegant mug for everyday use.
# 4 - For The Environmentalists: The KeepCup
The KeepCup has been making waves for years as the pioneer in switching from paper cups to a more environmentally sound alternative.
KeepCups comes in different sizes and designs to suit your preferences - whether your fix is an espresso fix or a large cappuccino, you can have it in this reusable mug. The only condition being, of course, that you remember to carry it with you!
BPA-free plastic is only used in the lid, while the handle is made from cork.
The choice between a glass or plastic KeepCup depends on your personal choices. Glass looks more stylish and is easier to keep clean, while plastic retains heat better.
# 5 - For The Really Thirsty: The Giant Coffee Mug
Okay, so this Giant Coffee Mug more of a joke gift, but it’s exactly what it says on the tin: a damn big mug for coffee. It would be a perfect birthday present for someone who goes through a pot of coffee each morning.
The Giant piece of art is pretty boring in design, just focusing on doing what it does best: holding a whopping 32 ounces (that’s almost one litre) of coffee.
If this doesn’t get you going in the morning, nothing will.
It’s a standard white ceramic mug, safe for the dishwasher and the microwave.
The latter option is especially helpful, because it might be difficult to guzzle down a whole mug before it goes cold.
If you just want your coffee and have no patience for dainty little cups, this one’s for you.
#6 - For The Stylish: The CoastLine Glass Mug
The CoastLine Insulated Double Wall Glass mug is a looker with its sleek glass design.
If you’re the type of person who agrees that drinking coffee from a glass makes you seem classy as hell, this is the mug of choice for you.
Not just pretty, the CoastLine glass mug fulfills its function as a vessel. It’s constructed from mouth-blown, double-walled glass, which provides decent insulation.
Its material makes it perfect for pour overs - just imagine seeing some sweet Vietnamese cà phê sữa đá drip down into this transparent beauty.
The CoastLine double-wall glass mug is also well suited for serving coffee-based cocktails.
Simply put, this is a cup for those who have style and know it.
# 7 - For The Outdoorsy: The Yeti Rambler Tumbler
If you spend a lot of time in the wild camping, hiking, talking to squirrels or whatever it is outdoorsy people do, the Yeti Rambler Tumbler might be the mug for you.
The Yeti tumbler is constructed from double-walled, insulated stainless steel, and is engineered to be as durable as possible.
While the Contigo West Loop travel mug reviewed earlier is a great fit for those who do a lot of driving, commuting or walking in urban settings, the Yeti Tumbler is the mug of choice for those who need a more heavy-duty vessel.
The Yeti Tumbler is built to be durable - according to manufacturer, it is engineered to be “virtually indestructible”.
The Yeti Tumbler is especially good at keeping drinks cold.
If you want to enjoy an iced coffee at the end of a hike, the Tumbler can be relied on. This stainless steel mug is dishwasher-safe and has a BPA-free plastic lid.
THE VERDICT: What's The Best Coffee Mug To Keep Coffee Hot?
While all of these mugs are great, one stood out as having the most unique and well thought-out qualities: Contigo West Loop.
Contigo West Loop combines good design with practicality, helping you enjoy the best coffee wherever you are.
It’s difficult not to appreciate its innovative Autoseal lid design, which makes it the best travel mug on the market. The Yeti Tumbler is a good competitor, but loses points for not being spill-free.
However, someone who prefers to drink coffee in the comfort of their own home might not find the Contigo travel mug all that useful.
For the homebodies, the expertly constructed CoastLine glass mug might give your daily brew an extra touch of sophistication.
Considering things like material and design is important to get a mug that matches the quality of your coffee.
Did you find the perfect one yet? Let me know which one it is!
We also have a complete review of the best cappuccino cups, make sure to check it here!