Some coffee lovers prefer a mug that’s bright, lively, and full of character. Others choose mugs because they are simple or functional or affordable. With so many options out there, we researched and tested a wide variety of coffee mugs and espresso cups to help customers make a more informed decision. We spent weeks assessing each coffee mug or espresso cup and rating them on their size, design, durability, and overall value until we had the final list below.
Best Overall, Coffee
Le Creuset Stoneware Mug, 14 oz., Marseille
Available in many color options
Capacity a little smaller than 14 ounces
For a classic everyday mug, it doesn’t get much better than this gorgeous stoneware option from Le Creuset. Our coffee expert tested it over the course of several days and found it to be a wonderful blend of style and performance. It's comfortable to hold and drink from, thanks to a sturdy handle and gently curved lip. The stoneware is heavy, creating a high-end feeling and indicating that the mug will hold up over years of use. A scant number of online reviews mention that chipping can occur, but fortunately, our tester didn't come across any issues during the testing process. That said, the mugs are backed by 10-year warranty should any damage happen.
Le Creuset is known for the various eye-catching colors its products come in, and this mug is no different with 20 color options to choose from. You’re bound to find a shade that matches your style or kitchen décor. The mug is also sold in sets of four. It's safe in the dishwasher and microwave as well as the oven if you to swap your coffee for a brownie in a mug.
One detail our product tester pointed out is that the mug's capacity is a tad smaller than the advertised figure of 14 ounces. Le Creuset also labels it as 400 milliliters, which is, instead, roughly 13.5 ounces. Aside from that, this mug received a stellar review. And if you like the design, but prefer it to drink your morning espresso instead, it comes in a 3-ounce version, too (which you can also buy in a set of four).
Price at time of publish: $24 for Marseille
Capacity: 13.5 ounces | Dimensions: 3.75 x 5.25 x 4.25 inches | Material: Stoneware
"The Le Creuset Mug checks all the boxes. It’s stylish, durable, and comfortable to hold and drink from. I would be more than happy to have a set of these in my kitchen."
Best Overall, Espresso
De'Longhi Double Wall Thermal Espresso Cups
Elegant, modern design
Cool to the touch
Comfortable to hold and drink from
No saucers included
One of the first images likely to drift into your mind when thinking about espresso is of a tiny white cup and saucer. That timeless image gets swapped out for an equally elegant, but more modern look with these glass espresso cups from De'Longhi.
Our tester found them convenient to pick up, since you don't have to fit your fingers into a little handle, and easy to drink from. They stay cool to the touch even when the espresso is piping hot. Our testing process confirmed that the double-walled insulation keeps drinks hot longer than average, too; granted, this isn't always necessary for a drink that can be finished in a few sips.
Each glass hold up to 2 ounces, which eliminates some guesswork because it's the exact size of a double espresso shot. De'Longhi typically sells them in sets of two, but they are also available in sets of six if you like to entertain. They are reasonably priced, especially for their quality, but we don't quite consider them a budget option. It would have been a nice touch if the set included glass saucers, too.
Price at time of publish: $25 for Espresso Glasses (Set of 2)
Capacity: 2 ounces | Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 inches | Material: Glass
"De’Longhi’s espresso glasses are classy and comfortable to hold. I really appreciate the lack of handle, too, because it creates a unique look."
Best Travel Mug
Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug
Spillproof and leakproof
Easy to hold with one hand
Long heat retention
Too wide for some car cup holders
Contigo offers a wide selection of travel mugs for commuters and coffee drinkers on the go, and the West Loop is one of our absolute favorites. It's available in four sizes ranging from 10 to 24 ounces, so you can find one that holds enough coffee to last throughout the workday. It’s leakproof and spill-proof due to the mug's “Autoseal” feature that locks the lid in place. The brand also designed it with an easy one-handed drinking feature that allows you to open the lid and sip your beverage at the push of a button.
After testing the mug firsthand, our expert found its vacuum insulation to be even better than advertised. Whether it was coffee or water, drinks remained hot longer than seven hours and cold longer than 18 hours. The cleaning process is one of the few shortcomings our product tester noted, however, as the body of the mug must be hand washed, which the brand recommends doing after every use. The lid is top-rack dishwasher safe, though. As one last bonus, all of Contigo’s products have a limited lifetime guarantee.
Price at time of publish: $30 for Chard 20 oz Travel Mug
Capacity: 10, 16, 20, or 24 ounces | Dimensions: 3 x 9 inches (20-ounce model) | Material: Stainless steel
"With a leak-proof design, superior insulation, and one-hand operation, it’s well worth it for those on the go." — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best Self-Warming Mug
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug 2, Metallic
Exact temperature control
Several colors and sizes available
Interior coating is extremely delicate
No longer will your coffee be sent to the microwave when it's only half finished. The Ember Mug² keeps beverages at the exact temperature you want (well, as long as it's between 120 to 145 degrees) for up to 80 or 90 minutes depending on what size mug you choose. It's available in 10 or 14 ounces, the smaller of which we tested ourselves. The battery life is an upgrade over the original Ember Mug, along with a more compact charging coaster.
Unlike a coffee mug warmer, the mug itself does the warming, as the battery is built right into the body. The included charging coaster allows you to take the mug around the house wire-free when it's fully charged. It's all controlled via the Ember app, which our tester found simple and convenient. Another nice feature is the LED indicator at the base of the mug that lets you know when it has reached the set temperature. The mug can't go in the dishwasher, which is to be expected, but it's easy to clean by hand and can be submerged in water up to 3.2 feet. Despite the high price tag, we think it's a worthwhile purchase for many customers, and it makes an excellent gift idea too.
Price at time of publish: $144 for 10 oz in Copper
Capacity: 10 or 14 ounces | Dimensions: 3.25 x 4.2 inches | Material: Stainless steel
"From the moment I poured my coffee into the mug, it stayed hot until I was finished about 60 minutes later." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Insulated Espresso Cups
Real Deal Steel Double-Wall Insulated Espresso Cups, Set of 4
Keeps espresso hot
Large, convenient handle
Stainless steel isn’t ideal for coffee
No saucers included
A unique option in the espresso world, the Real Deal Steel Espresso Cups maintain drink temperature longer than most other options you can find. As the brand name suggests, the cups are made from high-grade stainless steel, which demonstrated better insulation than ceramic and glass in our testing process. The material also provides a more casual aesthetic: one that looks just as good in a cabin on a cold morning as in a home kitchen.
Each cup holds 3 ounces, which is on the larger side, and the brand sells them in sets of four for a reasonable price. There's a variety of colors options to choose from, including black, blue, stainless steel, and white. Customers can also buy an assorted set that includes all four colors.
One of our tester's favorite touches is the large square handle. He was able to fit his finger through it better than the handles on other espresso cups that he tested, leading to a more comfortable drinking experience. The stainless steel stays cool to the touch, so you can grab the espresso cups (also known as demitasses) without fear of getting burned. We expect these cups to last for a long time, as they feel sturdy from the moment you pick one up. Perhaps the only drawback is that stainless steel isn't generally considered the best material to drink coffee from. Our tester didn't experience an unpleasant metallic taste, but the history of coffee has gravitated toward ceramic and glass mugs for taste reasons.
Price at time of publish: $40
Capacity: 3 ounces | Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.2 inches | Material: Stainless steel
"While long-lasting heat retention isn’t always useful for espresso, these little cups truly did have the best insulation of all the options I tested. And there are other advantages that make them worth buying, too."
Best Value Espresso Cups
Bruntmor 4-Ounce Espresso Cups with Saucers, Set of 4
Matching saucers included
Sturdy and well built
Occasional imperfections in paint or ceramic
Stacking is mediocre
These large 4-ounce espresso cups are made for the person who likes a little extra caffeine to start their day. And they stand out in more ways that that too. Our tester was highly impressed by the entire Bruntmor Espresso Cups and Saucers Set after testing it for several days. The ceramic that the brand uses is strong, heavy, and should be able to withstand everyday espresso shots. This level of quality is a pleasant surprise considering the item's reasonable price, which is why we think it's such a terrific value-for-money option.
Bruntmor manufactures the set in interesting color options, ones that are especially fun and bright in comparison to the more neutral colors espresso sets are associated with. The cups are safe in the microwave and dishwasher. Our tester found their insulation to be above average, as the espresso shots stayed hot for more than 20 minutes, which leaves plenty of time to enjoy the few sips.
There was little to nit-pick here other than that the cups aren't the easiest to stack. It is possible to stack them, which will save room in your cupboards, but the handles have to be turned in opposite directions, and even then they don't feel entirely secure.
Price at time of publish: $27 for Gradient Multi Colored
Capacity: 4 ounces | Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 inches | Material: Ceramic
"An all-around great value. They are comfortable to hold and drink from, and they feel high-end at an affordable price."
Best Espresso Cup Set
Sweese Porcelain Stackable Espresso Cups with Saucers and Stand
Cups have sturdy construction
Stackable and space saving
Metal stand lacks quality
Looking for a full set of cups and saucers to stock your home espresso bar? Look no further than this 13-piece set from Sweese—a brand with an extensive selection of porcelain dinnerware and drinkware. The purchase includes six espresso cups, six saucers, and a steel rack to keep everything organized. Our tester found that the cups stack flawlessly and all the pieces feel secure, even though the rack itself isn't the most robust. This is an unbeatable option for those who want a large espresso set that saves space in the kitchen, and it comes at a fair price.
Sweese makes the set in three sizes: 2.5, 4, and 8 ounces. Our expert tested the 2.5-ounce espresso cups, but the larger ones may work better depending on the types of espresso drinks you want to brew. For example, the 8-ounce model is designed for cappuccinos. The cups and saucers come in seven color options, including a simple white and brighter colors like red and mint green.
There are a couple drawbacks to keep in mind, unfortunately. Our tester didn't love the handles on the cups, as he wasn't able to fit his finger through them; instead, he would usually grab around the entire cup to drink the espresso. They also don't keep liquids hot as long as other models that were tested. All in all, though, this is a dependable set that looks great on the countertop.
Price at time of publish: $25 for 2.4 inch in White
Capacity: 2.5, 4, or 8 ounces | Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.8 inches (2.5-ounce model) | Material: Porcelain
"There are a few shortcomings here—particularly that they may be uncomfortable for some people to hold by the handle—but it’s a reliable set that I still recommend."
Best Personalized Mug
Shelly Klein Personalized Hobby Mugs
Great gift idea
Can preview design
Text may be slightly uneven
Some personalized mugs display sentimental family photos. Others have silly quotations on them or a loved one's initials. But they all add a touch of character to your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, including these personalized mugs from Uncommon Goods. Customers can get a person's name printed on them or a family name and the year they were "established." The unique part is that you get to customize a whimsical cartoon illustration of yourself or a beloved person in your life. There are 27 hobbies and passions to choose from, ranging from golf to gardening and even holiday-themed options.
Our tester found that there was more than enough variety to create a personalized replica. You can even add pets. Our tester said the designs are printed sharply and clearly and that the colors are bold. The only concern is that the text may be uneven by a fraction. It's almost impossible to notice—we're talking the difference of a millimeter—but it's worth acknowledging nonetheless.
The mugs are 15 ounces each and only come in white ceramic, which makes it easier for the illustrations to pop. As expected, they are a little pricier than an average mug, but they aren't overly expensive, especially for such a fun, one-of-a-kind gift. The mugs themselves have a satisfying weight and a large, comfortable handle, which makes up for the price tag even more. One of our favorite touches is that users can preview the illustration before purchasing to know they will love it upon arrival.
Price at time of publish: $32 for 1 Mug
Capacity: 15 ounces | Dimensions: 3.25 x 4.5 inches | Material: Ceramic
"It's an adorable way to show someone you're thinking of them or for families to get a specialized mug for everyone in the household."
Best Mug Set
Royal Doulton Pacific Mug Set
Different pattern on each mug
Brand sells other items with matching designs
Made from porcelain
Price varies by retailer
Too wide for some customers
This porcelain mug set from Royal Doulton has a style that's distinct enough to stand out, yet universal enough to match all manner of kitchens. The six mugs in the set all feature a different pattern but are bound together by the same Pacific Blue accent color. Our tester was so impressed by the clarity of the designs as soon as he took the mugs out of their presentable box, which makes them a possible gift option, as well. Royal Doulton sells other drinkware and dinnerware with the same Pacific Blue design, including plates, bowls, and serving trays.
The mugs are safe in the dishwasher, microwave, and oven up to 212 degrees. Unfortunately, the price of the set varies by retailer, so you may need to do some digging to make sure you're getting the best deal. That said, you'll have your pick of the lot, as many retailers sell this popular item.
While the 13-ounce mugs don't keep liquids hot for quite as long as other options we looked at, the insulation is still more than satisfactory. Additionally, our tester found them comfortable to hold, smooth and cool to the touch, and easy to drink from, thanks to a wide but proportionate lid opening.
Price at time of publish: $72 for 6 Count (Pack of 1)
Capacity: 13 ounces | Dimensions: 4.1 x 3.5 inches | Material: Porcelain
"The Royal Doulton Pacific Mug Set feels sophisticated, but not dull because of the striking mismatched designs."
If you’re looking for a coffee mug, the Le Creuset Mug is our top pick. The sturdy construction makes it durable for everyday use, and the beautiful design offers enough variety to match any home décor color palette. For espresso cups, the De’Longhi Espresso Glasses are comfortable to hold, boast an elegant design, and keep your drink at its ideal temperature.
How We Tested
Our expert food writers spent weeks testing all of the coffee mugs and espresso cups featured in this article. The testing methods ranged from measuring coffee temperature in the mugs and cups over a period of time to assessing the general ease of drinking from them and cleaning them. Our testers then rated each item on its size, design, durability, and overall value.
Other Options We Tested
- JoyJolt Serene Double Wall Insulated Glasses: While some customers may be pleased by these glass mugs, our tester encountered too many issues in our testing process to confidently recommend them. One of the two mugs broke during shipping, raising concerns about their long-term durability. He also found the size of the mugs to be poorly designed. The 13.5-ounce model that he tested was so large, especially around the lip, that it was awkward and uncomfortable to drink from.
What to Look in Coffee Mugs and Espresso Cups
The material you choose can impact how you enjoy your beverage. For instance, if you sip coffee slowly, a heat-resistant material, such as stainless steel or double-wall insulation may be in your best interest. If you’re picky about keeping your coffee’s flavor completely pure, then you may want to steer clear of a stainless steel cup, as it can sometimes impart a metallic taste to your drink. A neutral material, such as porcelain or stoneware, would be better suited for this preference.
Another important consideration may be whether you have children and if they'll be handling your cups and mugs. If this is the case, opting for a more durable material, such as stainless steel or thick ceramic, would be ideal.
All espresso cups and coffee mugs have different safety features to offer. Depending on how you use your mug, there may be certain safety options to look for when buying a new mug. Microwave-safe mugs are ideal for someone who likes to reheat their coffee throughout the day. For quick cleanup, being able to put your mug in the dishwasher without having to worry about it getting damaged is another important quality to look for, as is whether it's freezer-, oven-, or broiler-safe.
A coffee mug or espresso cup’s capacity is important to note when shopping around. To know what mug or cup to buy, determine what types of coffee drinks you enjoy most often. If it’s just a single espresso shot, look for a cup with a smaller capacity ranging somewhere between 2 and 4 ounces. If you drink drip coffee or espresso drinks, such as cappuccinos and lattes, it’s best to look for a vessel with a larger volume starting at about 6 ounces and going up from there.
What is a demitasse cup?
A demitasse cup is just another word for an espresso cup. The terms can be used interchangeably. In French, "demitasse" translates to "half cup." This might sound like a misnomer at first, as a demitasse only holds 2 to 3 ounces, but the translation is actually fitting because most coffee brands consider a cup to be 5 ounces.
What material keeps coffee hot longest?
Of the materials commonly used in drinkware, stainless steel is the best at keeping liquids hot for a long period of time. Unfortunately, stainless steel is more common for travel mugs and tumblers than traditional home mugs. As a result, ceramic mugs are the most popular for home use. They keep coffee hot longer than porcelain (which happens to be a type of ceramic), glass, and plastic. They can also be placed in the microwave, unlike stainless steel mugs.
What type of mug should I use for a latte?
Latte cups tend to be short with wide openings, almost like a bowl. This allows the top layer of milk foam to spread more thinly across the drink. If a mug is too narrow, the milk foam ends up in a massive heap at the top and gets in the way of sipping the steamed milk and espresso. A wider cup also provides more space for latte art. Lattes are usually served in larger sizes than cappuccinos, so a standard latte cup is larger than a standard cappuccino cup.
How do you get stains out of a coffee mug?
If your mug is weathered and has its share of coffee stains, you can use baking soda as a possible solution. Add a small amount onto the bottom of the stained cup, followed by a small amount of water to form a paste. Proceed by gently scrubbing away the stains. They should disappear in a matter of minutes. Rinse and wash as normal.
Should you drink from a cracked coffee mug?
If that beloved mug of yours that’s cracked, fear not, as you can possibly repair the damage. If the crack is external—somewhere like on the handle—it's easy to seal up the cracks with a bit of super glue. Cracks found on the inside of the mug that cause it to leak can be more difficult to repair. It may be best to purchase another mug instead.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He tested seven coffee mugs and espresso cups that appear on this list. Derek has written for The Spruce Eats since 2019.