What Is The Best Shape for a Coffee Mug? (Well, It Depends!)

Certified Senior Advisor®
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coffee mug shapes

The best shape for a coffee mug is highly preferential depending on how you prefer to drink your coffee. The shape you choose affects both the style and function of your coffee drinking experience.

coffee mug shapes
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What is the best shape for a coffee mug?

Well, that depends on the individual’s taste – and what the mug is expected to deliver in terms of function. A coffee mug’s shape can affect how long coffee stays hot and its weight, plus how easily it can be cleaned.

And, because coffee is more than just a drink to some, the shape and style add to the enjoyment of the overall experience.

With that said, here are some styles of coffee mugs that are now popular with consumers.

graphic showing the 6 different coffee cup shapes
The Six Basic Coffee Cup Shape Options

1. The Standard Round Ceramic Coffee Mug

Beloved by office workers and families across the globe, the ceramic coffee mug is a classic for a reason. This style is incredibly functional and offers exceptional value for money.

They are available in a variety of patterns and colors and will match the decor of any kitchen (that said, they aren’t particularly stylish, and they are too heavy). You can even get ones with heat-activated decals and with images that range from humorous to inspirational.

It seems unlikely that the standard round ceramic coffee mug is going to lose its position looking down at the competition from the pinnacle of Mug Mountain any time soon.

RELATED: Best Lightweight Coffee Mugs for Seniors

2. The Tapered Glass Coffee Mug

A more stylish option, the glass coffee mug is available in a number of different designs. It’s stainless, the drinker can see the different layers of his/her brew, and that adds to the allure.

Plus, for lovers of coffee variants that include alcohol (such as the famous Irish Coffee with Whisky), a tall glass coffee mug is a traditional approach.

Your best bet is one made with tempered glass – it’s better able to withstand heat changes and impacts. Those who really want the best of a glass coffee mug should keep an eye out for those manufactured using borosilicate glass which is even tougher than tempered glass.

3. Tall Stainless Steel Tumblers

These mugs are renowned for keeping hot beverages warm for much longer than traditional coffee mugs. They are great travel mugs – and can even make that morning commute that much more pleasant. They are also available in a number of different sizes, colors, and designs.

The tumbler versions of these mugs are designed with a lid and are ideal for use in motor vehicles. They are usually made from stainless steel, and some can even hold an overly generous 20-ounce serving of coffee.

But when purchasing one of the tumbler versions of these mugs, make sure that it will fit into your car cup holders – some are extremely wide at the base.

4. Thick and Squatty Stoneware Mugs

Where ceramic and other types of coffee mugs are often mass-produced, stoneware coffee mugs are hand-made. This makes each and every one of these coffee mugs unique – and that is part of their attraction.

They provide a rustic coffee drinking experience that seems much less clinical and uniform than that supplied by other types of coffee mugs.

Due to their thicker sides, they are great at insulating your coffee – but they can be bigger than standard sizes – and considerably heavier.

5. Tall and Skinny Travel Mugs

It could be argued that as far as an ideal marriage between form and function, Travel Mugs are about as close to ideal as one can find.

These mugs are typically made from stainless steel or ceramic and hold around 16 ounces of coffee, considerably more than other types of coffee mugs. They are also taller, and sport lids and easy-grip handles.

It’s worth noting that buyers should keep an eye out for models where the lid fits extremely tightly – and that are dishwasher safe – not all versions of Travel Mugs can be placed in the dishwasher.

6. Teeny Tiny Espresso Cups

The most diminutive (usually around 3 ounces) of the coffee mug family – and possibly for a good reason. There is (or should be) a limit to how many Espressos one consumes at a single sitting. This type of brewed coffee is a coffee variety that should be savored.

Just because the cup looks shot glass size, it shouldn’t be seen as an invitation to be gulping down Espresso all morning.

Your choice of coffee mug shape says something about your individual sense of style; however, functionality does count.

Of course, there are novelty coffee mugs as well, but those can be problematic as far as functionality. The key to a great coffee mug is whether it speaks to you – and delivers that energizing cup of coffee efficiently.

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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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