Coffee cup test - Which one stays hotter longer?

How to choose a coffee cup?

There areseveral factors that influence the perfect coffee taste and enjoyment. Of course, it is important to carefully choose thebest coffee beans, a quality grinder and coffee machine. The skill of the barista himself also plays an important role, as does the final coffee cup in which you prepare your drink.

When looking for the ideal cup, focus on:

  1. Material
  2. Shape and workmanship
  3. Size
  4. Maintenance

Best material for coffee cups

Coffee mugs are available in a variety of materials in the market. From the cheap IKEA cup, to elegant glass to high quality porcelain.

Different materials have different properties that, although it may not seem like it at first glance, can significantly affect the quality of the coffee you make. The material should be able to withstand temperature shocks, washing and everyday use.

Ceramic mug - a classic at a reasonable price

Advantages Disadvantages
Ceramics Reasonable purchase price

Easy availability

Does not affect the taste of coffee

Not too heavy

Different colours, shapes, sizes

Thermally unstable - coffee cools quickly

Wear and tear appears after prolonged use

Not very durable, easily chipped

Ceramic is a neutral material at a reasonable price. Thanks to the glaze, it does not come into direct contact with the coffee and if you choose a ceramic cup with a quality glaze, you do not have to worry about it affecting the taste of the coffee in any way.

The cups are available in many designs, so you can choose from a plethora of colours, shapes and sizes. The downside is that the material holds heat poorly and the drink cools quickly.

With ceramics (but also porcelain and stoneware), care must be taken when heating the cups. This prevents the cold cup from taking the heat from the coffee and thus the drink retains its thermal stability.

Porcelain cup - an elegant cup that lasts

Benefits Disadvantages
Porcelain The cup cools slowly

More resistant to chipping and breakage

Withstands daily use

Less porous glaze

Does not affect the taste of coffee

High purchase price

Porcelain is a ceramic material enhanced with kaolin and other elements that greatly affect its properties. Above all, they increase the resistance to chipping or breakage and everyday use will not leave noticeable marks on a porcelain mug.

Porcelain mugs are an ageless classic that you can rely on in service. Because the glazing is done at high temperatures, the glaze fills the pores of the material. This gives the cup a smoother surface and creates a more luxurious impression.

A very important feature is the thermal stability, which is also enhanced by the thick-walled design of the coffee cup. This ensures that the drink cools slowly and prolongs the perfect enjoyment of drinking coffee at the ideal temperature.

Stoneware cups will be with you forever

Benefits Disadvantages
Stoneware More resistant to chipping

Aesthetically appealing

Withstands very high temperatures

More expensive purchase price

Less affordable


Coffee cools quickly

Kamenina is fired clay with an admixture of kaolin, feldspar and limestone, which makes the material more resistant to chipping or breaking, which is very welcome in coffee practice. In addition, stoneware cups are handsome and elegant.

Whether it's worth including in the operation is really up for consideration. The purchase price tends to be high and the coffee cup considerably heavier than the aforementioned porcelain one.

S toneware had the highest temperature drop in our test.

Glass mugs - fragile not only to look at

Advantages Disadvantages
Glass Elegant appearance

Effective with coffee drinks with milk

Does not affect the taste of coffee

Insulates poorly and coffee cools quickly

Cups are fragile, easy to break

Glass cups are especially effective for a variety of coffee drinks with milk, such as Flat White. They are great for the contrast between dark coffee and whipped white milk.

If you've drunk from a glass mug you know that it heats up very quickly and you can't touch it as it burns. In contrast, it doesn't keep the drink warm for long and before you know it, you have an iced coffee latte.

Other materials

There are also coffee mugs made of stainless steel, paper or plastic.

Flat White is the modern drink of three-wave coffee shops.

How does the shape of the cup affect the taste of the coffee?

The sensory, but also the taste impression of the coffee, is ensured by the right cup shape and should meet other parameters:

Compatible with the coffee machine

  • The cup should be no higher than 6 cm - this is the distance between the lever spout and the base where the cup is placed.
  • It is necessary to take into account the distance between the spouts, which is 4 cm - both for making two coffees at once and for making a double espresso.

To ensure thermal stability

As I mentioned above, thick-walled porcelain cups are the best choice.

The right width

The inner bottom of the cup should be hollowed out so that the coffee forms a swirl as it flows down the sides, resulting in a creamy froth. As the liquid moves, the character and intensity of the aroma and flavour develop.

  • Narrow cup - is better suited for espresso, looks better and maintains temperature and crema better.
  • Wider cup - allows plenty of room for latte art.
  • Tasting cups - similar in shape to a tulip glass for whisky, the wider bottom brings out the aroma of the coffee better.

Suitable coffee cup size

The size of the coffee cup is influenced by the coffee you want to make. The right cups are important for all coffee drinks, from classic espresso to café lattes.


Cup volume in ml

espresso 60-90 ml
flat white 100-160 ml
cappuccino 150 ml
café latte 225 ml
The coffee cups are made of different materials. Different cup shapes and sizes are suitable for different coffee drinks.

A practical view of the cups in the café

Coffee cups are put to a real test in the coffee shop every day. They have to withstand temperature differences, shocks, dishwashing, careless handling by staff and customers. It is therefore not surprising that from time to time "material fatigue" occurs and the cup gets chipped or broken.

It is also necessary to have an adequate number of cups. If cafes are struggling with small space they should be able to store the utensils in storage or cabinets that will be handy.

It is more practical to own a larger number of cups of the same volume and shape than several different cups that run the risk of running out of that particular cup for that particular drink when fully operational.

When setting up a coffee shop or choosing a new coffee maker , keep in mind that the coffee maker is not only for making the drink, but also for heating the cups. Make sure that the heating area is large enough to accommodate the number of cups you need.

Tip: Any damaged cookware should be taken out of service immediately. Not only does an insulted cup look ugly, but it's all about protecting the health of the customer (and the operator).


Espresso cup test

  • Input values: water 97 °C, 40 ml;
  • 2 min before the test, preheat the cup with 97 °C water.
stoneware ceramics glass porcelain




0:30 68 59 82 72 71
1:00 65 58 78 70 69
1:30 64 57 76 69 66
2:00 63 56 74 67 64
2:30 62 55 72 66 63
3:00 60 54 70 65 62
3:30 59 53 69 64 60
4:00 57 52 68 62 59
4:30 56 51 67 60 58
5:00 54 50 66 59 57


  • Theglass retains the most heat when heated, there is the smallest temperature difference after pouring from the kettle.
  • Ceramic has the greatest temperature loss, followed by stoneware.
  • The measured values of porcelain were good, the thick-walled mug steadied and held heat longer, the thin-walled one cooled faster towards the end.