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Coffee Cup Shapes

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Reading a thread on another forum about why Reidel glasses make such a difference in tasting wine got me to thinking...

Does the shape of my coffee cup affect how I taste the coffee? Is there an optimal shape, or different shapes based on the bean?

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I'm not sure that the shape of the cup affects the taste, but the material sure does. Taste the difference between coffee sipped from a pottery mug, a thin-rimmed porcelain teacup, a styrofoam cup, and a paper cup, and you'll agree!

....and stirrers! I hate the taste wooden stirrers leave in coffee!

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
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If anything it could be in your mind. When I drink from this mug the coffee always tastes better. :smile:



It is just an Anglicized Welsh spelling for David to celebrate my English/Welsh ancestry. The Welsh have no "v" in their alphabet or it would be spelled Dafydd.

I must warn you. My passion is the Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Now blogging: Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Blog

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If anything it could be in your mind. When I drink from this mug the coffee always tastes better.  :smile:

In my mind, the perfect cup of coffee is served to me in an old brown Buffalo China cup, (the ones with a whole in the handle too small to fit a normal sized finger through), on a formica tabletop in Choppy's, my hometown pizzeria, where I spent so many youthful hours pondering the events of the day and speculating on those to come.

SB (their coffee was lousy, but the price was right, and the cups were great :wink: )

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As with so many flatware, cutlery, plate and serving vessel issues - much is subjective.

When drinking coffee I happen to have a personal preference for the style of mug that "Davydd" illustrates. It's big enough to not be dainty and holds enough to last for awhile but not so much that it cools off too quickly. And the sheer mass of the cramic is a great insulator -especially if the cup is pre-heated.

I have never cared for glass as a coffee serving vessell but was highly impressed with double espresso shots or machiatto's served in the Bodum Pavina. It allows you to see the "Guiness effect" of a properly pulled shot.

As for machiatto, cappucccino and latte drinks - I always prefer a thick ceramic wall for heat retention and also a wide shallow bowl shape to allow space for latte art (when it is being created). Just conjecture here but I also suspect that the microfoam/crema mixture that characterizes a properly pulled and texturized milk drink is present in greater abundance and lasts longer when there's more surface area.

That mixture is the most satisfying part of the drink for me and has the most subtle blend of flavors therefore the more surface area available for microfoam - the better.

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This is my favorite cup. I just love its shape and elegant lines. The rim is the right thickness and feels perfect against the lips... not too sharp, not too rounded. The matching saucer rises subtly in the center, placing the cup on a miniature pedestal.

Edited by Beto (log)
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Anything that holds more than 2 sips!

But seriously, I'm with SuzySushi on this, that material makes more difference to the taste than shape. I can't speak so much for coffee (since most of my coffee comes in a disposable paper cup with plastic travel lid...), but I think it certainly makes a difference for how tea tastes. Any kind of metal vessel (including stainless steel) seems to be the worst kind for tea, it makes it taste -- well, funny -- at least in my experience. Does the same hold true for coffee? I've never had coffee in a metal cup/mug.

I'm a fan of glass, because it's non-porous therefore is more resistant to absorbing flavours -- so I can use the same cup for coffee and tea! As long as it's durable, tempered glass. My glass mug holds a whopping 22oz - just right! Unfortunately it doesn't hold the heat as well as ceramic, which I also use pretty regularly. I've got basic ceramic mugs of various shapes & sizes.

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This is my favorite cup.  I just love its shape and elegant lines.  The rim is the right thickness and feels perfect against the lips... not too sharp, not too rounded.  The matching saucer rises subtly in the center, placing the cup on a miniature pedestal.

Me too! I bought a dozen of the Illy bar cups with sacuers a few years ago to have at home. But I'm now due to get some in the espresso/machiatto size. The hole in the handle is too small for anything but my pinky but the overall shape, heft and aesthetic is perfect.

I just wish that exact cup was available for custom imprinting to allow roasters and coffeehouses to customize it for their retail use.

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  • 4 weeks later...

There has got to be something to this. My Mother, who turns 80 this year, refuses to drink coffee out of anything other than a fine china/thin-rimmed porcelain cup. She carries it with her and I bought a set of cups to match her wedding china to keep at my house for her visits. My Mother is a serious coffee drinker...I recall in the early 70's when we traveled she carried her coffee pot with her (this is beofre hotels had complimentary coffee makers in rooms). I always drink out of a mug - one I "borrowed" on vacation in Ptown five years ago (SMILE) - and out of all the mugs I have, I am drawn to this one! Could be the taste...

Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.
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  • 1 year later...

I somehow ended up with a Navy Standard glass cup in our cupboard when I got out in 1970 and to this day it is still the cup of choice. I really don't even listen to my wife complain when coffee is served after dinner and the guests get her fancy china, I get my old glass Navy cup.

I wonder if sailors today still get those white with kinda green stripe cups?

Edited by RobertCollins (log)



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