Shopping for Mugs – The New York Times


For many of us, savoring a cup of coffee is the only way to start the day. But that requires more than carefully choosing the beans and the brewing equipment. You need the right mug.

“A good coffee mug is going to enhance your whole experience,” said Emily Davis, the director of education at Counter Culture Coffee, in Atlanta. “When you have the right mug, you’re getting everything: the warmth, the aromatics, the nuances of flavor.”

What makes for an ideal mug — a handmade piece of functional art or something simpler and more utilitarian — is largely a matter of personal preferences.

“It’s about size and temperature stability,” Ms. Davis said, which depends on the mug’s diameter, height and wall thickness.

For her part, she prefers small stoneware and Fire King mugs with relatively narrow mouths: “If it’s a really wide, round cup, the coffee’s going to cool a lot faster.”

A sure sign that you’ve found a good one? When you insist on using it every morning. As Ms. Davis put it, “There’s something ritualistic about it.”


  • Should you buy a matching set? “I’m all about the mismatch,” said Ms. Davis, who often finds unique mugs at antiques stores. But “having them the same size is important,” she added, so they won’t look awkward together on the table.

  • Will it work with your brewing equipment? If you plan to make pour-over coffee or use an AeroPress directly into the mug, make sure the cup’s diameter accommodates your gear. “Knowing that it will fit, and that you don’t have to rig up anything weird, is important,” Ms. Davis said.

  • Would an insulated cup with a lid be better? No, because you’ll miss out on the warmth and aroma: “It’s not the full experience that coffee has to offer.”


Stoneware mug available in a variety of glazes

$36 at East Fork: 828-237-7200 or eastfork.com



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