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Different Types of Mugs and Cups For Coffee Lovers

Exploring the different types of mugs and cups for coffee can be overwhelming as there are just too many. However, using the right one for your favorite drink can make all the difference. Whether you’re a coffee lover or a tea enthusiast, there’s a wide variety of mugs and cups to choose from – all of which are designed for different purposes, styles, and preferences.

A variety of colorful mugs in different sizes and designs piled together on a pink background.

I put together a detailed guide about the different types of mugs and cups that are commonly used for coffee, from the standard ceramic mugs to stackable cups and latte glasses. Keep reading so you can find the best one that suits your style, needs, and coffee-drinking habits!

15 Types of Mugs and Cups for Coffee

I come from a big family that are all coffee and tea drinkers. My dad’s favorite is espresso, my mom loves her cold brew, my brother is an Americano fan, and my sister is more of a tea drinker (she loves Matcha tea the best). Naturally, we had a huge collection of different types of mugs at home.

Growing up, I learned the importance of using the right coffee mug or cup for drinks. My sister always complained about how her hot tea never stayed warm enough in a plastic cup. My dad would say that his coffee tasted off when he used a metallic cup. My iced coffee would be iceless by the time I got to school, so I endured drinking room-room temperature coffee from my water bottle until someone gifted me with an insulated tumbler mug.

Like I said, mugs and cups are made for various purposes and have various functions, so understanding the diverse variations is key to an enjoyable coffee drinking experience. I have classified the different types of coffee mugs and cups below by material, intended use, special function, and size. Let’s go through each one!

By Material

The material of a coffee mug plays a significant role in your drinking experience, as each material brings its own unique qualities to the table. From delicate glass to durable stainless steel, your choice of material can influence factors such as flavor preservation, temperature retention, and overall comfort.

1. Glass

The standard glass coffee mugs are typically made from borosilicate or tempered glass, both of which are known to be highly durable and heat resistant. Glass-made coffee mugs are sleek-looking and it’s fun to see the layers of your coffee as you make it. They’re also microwave and dishwasher-safe. I have a set of clear glass coffee mugs which I like because of their simplicity.

However, glass mugs are fragile and can crack with pressure or break with impact. They also won’t insulate your drink very well, so if you’re a slow coffee drinker and like to drink hot liquids, glass may not be the best material or the best option for you.

2. Ceramic

The classic mugs that we are all familiar with are made from ceramic. Traditional ceramic mugs are the most common type of mug and it comes in a variety of colors, modern designs, shapes, and sizes. Like glass, ceramic mugs work well with a dishwasher and microwave. But unlike glass, they provide good insulation which means that they can keep your drinks cool or warm longer. The downside to ceramic mugs is that they’re heavy, they stain easily, and they’re not very stylish.

3. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel coffee mugs are a popular choice for many coffee enthusiasts because they can keep drinks hot or cold for hours, perfect for those who are always on the go like me. That’s why I always bring my trusty stainless steel insulated mug with me! Stainless steel is corrosion and rust-resistant and is known for its durability. These stainless steel mugs are also aesthetic, making them a popular choice for those who want to drink their coffee in style.

4. Stoneware

Stoneware coffee mugs, which are made from clay, are often handmade. They offer a unique range of designs and different sizes, and typically have a slightly rough surface and come in earth colors. These mugs are durable and also safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave. 

Coffee drinkers like stoneware mugs because they have excellent insulation, keeping coffee warm for longer periods. If you like your coffee hot and don’t mind having a heavy mug, you might like to try a stoneware mug.

5. Melamine

Melamine is a type of plastic that is often used in tableware and kitchenware. Melamine mugs and cups are lightweight, versatile, and are shatter-resistant. They are ideal for casual or outdoor use, but not recommended for hot coffee or tea since they are made from plastic. Use them only for cold drinks!

6. China

China, the term that refers to traditional Chinese pottery, has been around for centuries. Made from fine porcelain, China mugs and cups are delicate, lightweight, and have beautifully intricate designs.

I remember my mom had a set which we weren’t allowed to use. Now I understand because while China cups are elegant, they’re not ideal for casual, everyday use due to their delicate nature. They’re great for special occasions, though! I gifted my sister with this dainty two-piece set of China mugs, and she adores it!

Four hands holding different colored mugs against a purple background: pale blue, yellow, black, and white with polka dots.

By Intended Use

Different types of mugs and cups each have an intended use. Understanding what these are allows you to have a more personalized and enjoyable drinking experience, tailored to your specific preferences, rituals, and lifestyle.

7. Tea Cups

As the name suggests, tea cups are commonly used to drink hot tea, although many people also use it for coffee and other hot beverages. Made from porcelain, these cups are ideal to use for  loose-leaf and bagged tea drinks. Tea cups come in a wide variety of designs and sizes, so you’re to find one that suits your needs.

8. Travel Mugs

Travel coffee mugs or tumblers are designed for individuals who are always on the go, so they can enjoy their hot drinks while traveling, driving, commuting, or while working. These mugs, which come in various sizes that usually fit in the car cup holder of cars or on bikes, are made from different materials like stainless steel, ceramic, or plastic. Some even come with a straw for easier sipping on the go. They are typically well insulated and come with a lid to avoid coffee spills and stains.

By Special Function

You can also choose the best type of mug for you by looking at its special function. This way, you can find the right one for your needs, whether it’s keeping your drink warm or enjoying your coffee on the go.

9. Insulated Mugs

Contrary to popular belief, a travel mug and an insulated mug are not the same. While both offer thermal insulation to keep drinks hot or cold for extended periods, travel mugs are designed for portability and on-the-go use, while insulated mugs have a more traditional mug-like design with a handle and are generally more versatile in terms of use. They can be used at home, in the office, for a morning commute, or for leisure activities where portability is not a primary concern. My husband recommends this insulated mug which he uses everyday in his home office!

10. Double-Walled Mugs

Similar to insulated mugs, the main purpose of double-walled cups is to keep your drink at optimum temperature. Designed with two insulation walls, these mugs are typically made from high-resistance glass or stainless steel. They create a vacuum-sealed barrier that effectively traps heat or cold, keeping your drink just the way you want it. Additionally, mugs with double walls give you a comfortable grip even when your drink is piping hot or ice cold!

11. Novelty Mugs

Novelty mugs are for those who want that extra bit of fun while drinking their coffee. These mugs come in all colors, designs, shapes, and sizes. Whether you enjoy a mug shaped as your favorite animal or one that features a witty phrase, you’re sure to find one that matches your personality. My brother, who is a huge gamer, loves his Gameboy mug! Just be sure to consider the material of your novelty mug, as not all would be safe to put inside a dishwasher or a microwave.

Four colorful cups of various shapes and sizes lined up on a white surface; two red, one white, and one yellow.

By Size

Mugs and cups come in a wide range of sizes. They cater to the different brewing methods and serving preferences of coffee and tea lovers. From petite espresso cups for concentrated shots to large mugs and tall latte glasses for indulgent creations, there’s a perfect mug size for your coffee of choice.

12. Standard

Standard coffee mugs are a popular choice for daily use. These mugs hold about eight to twelve ounces, have a wide opening, and offer a comfortable grip. Whether you need a morning brew or an afternoon pick-me-up, you can drink any type of coffee in the trusty, versatile standard mug.

13. Espresso Cup

Espresso cups are specifically designed for espresso shots, ideal for coffee lovers who enjoy a smaller but more concentrated caffeine fix. These cups have a capacity of two to three ounces only but can effectively maintain the flavor intensity and temperature of the espresso.

14. Cappuccino Mug

Are you a cappuccino lover? Then this is a must-have! A cappuccino cup or mug holds about 6 ounces of coffee and has a bowl-like shape to enhance your cappuccino drinking experience, complete with its creamy texture and frothy milk foam! I love my stackable cappuccino cups which I keep in my coffee nook in my kitchen.

15. Latte Glasses

Latte glasses are tall, cylindrical in shape, and have a capacity of about eight to sixteen ounces. They are typically made of clear glass so you can see the beautiful layers of a latte. They also have a larger opening to accommodate latte art. I’ve only ever made my Chocolate Chai Latte in a cup, and the next time I make it will definitely be in a latte glass!

Wrapping Up

Understanding the different types of mugs and cups for coffee and tea will give you an idea which is best to use according to your preferred drink, your style, and your drinking habits. They also make great gifts! While you can use any type of mug for your favorite drink, using the one specifically designed for your style will make your coffee experience more efficient and enjoyable.

If you enjoyed this article, please do share it with your fellow coffee and tea lovers! I’m sure they’ll appreciate any tips to enhance their coffee time!

Issablle Johnson

Thursday 30th of May 2024

Wow, that's great! I never imagined there were different mugs that could enhance my drink-savoring experience.

Easy Homemade Life

Monday 3rd of June 2024

I hope this helps, Issablle. Thank you for visiting the post!