Choosing a Coffee Mug

Coffee Cup Buying Guide: How to Pick the Best Mug

Best Coffee Mugs for Travel and Home

Coffee mugs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. You can get large metal travel mugs with lids and standard coffee mugs that you will find in almost every kitchen. Considering all this, what, then, is the Best Coffee Mug for Home and Travel?

What To Look for in a Coffee Mug

You need to consider 4 essential elements when choosing a coffee mug which are

  • the proper size
  • the material
  • the right lid
  • the overall design

Due to the sheer variety of options, choosing the right coffee mug is not an easy task. However, if you stop to consider a few details, you may find it easier to narrow down your options.

How Do You Plan to Use Coffee Mug?

What is the difference between a coffee cup and a coffee mug? A coffee mug typically refers to a large cup that includes a handle. However, the term is not strictly defined.

For example, large coffee cups with lids that are intended for use when commuting or traveling may be called mugs or cups, depending on the manufacturer.

Before you buy a coffee mug, you should think about how you plan to use it. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Where do you plan to use the mug?
  • What types of beverages do you drink?
  • How much coffee do you drink?

If you plan on using the mug at home, you may not need a large mug with a lid. However, these features may be essential when traveling with a hot cup of coffee in your car.

You should also consider the types of beverages that you prepare. If you tend to mix other ingredients into your coffee, you may need a tall mug to prevent the drink from spilling as you mix it.

The amount of coffee that you drink may also affect your decision. Some people consume entire pots of coffee. The typical 12-cup coffeemaker can make about 58 ounces of coffee while a single serving is considered 6 to 8 ounces.

How to Choose the Right Size Coffee Mug

One of the first considerations is the size. The standard coffee cup can hold about 8 to 12 ounces of liquid. Large mugs may hold 24 to 36 ounces. You can even find extra-large mugs that hold 64 ounces, making them big enough to hold an entire pot of coffee.

When you are in your own kitchen, you can refill your coffee mug whenever you like. A standard 8 to 12 ounces coffee mug may be enough.

If you need a mug for the road, a larger size may be needed. If the typical serving is 6 to 8 ounces, a 24-ounce mug can hold 3 to 4 servings.

How to Choose the Right Material for Coffee

The material is also an important consideration. Coffee mugs are traditionally made from porcelain or other ceramics.


A ceramic coffee mug is made from clay that is hardened in a kiln. Porcelain products use a type of clay called Kaolin clay that is found in the Asian region, particularly in China, which is why items made with this material were frequently called “China”.

Europeans could not find a clay that matched the same properties found in Kaolin clay. To this day, China remains the gold standard for ceramics, which results in higher costs.

A typical ceramic mug may cost less compared to fine China mugs. However, they are often more durable. If you drop a porcelain mug on the ground, it will likely shatter. Other mugs may simply crack or survive the crash.

Ceramics are mostly used for coffee mugs that are intended to be used at home. Even the thicker ceramics can still crack, which makes them less suited for life outside your house.

Neither option affects the taste of the coffee. Ceramics are non-porous, which prevents the material from changing the flavor of your drink.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is another popular material for coffee mugs. Like ceramics, stainless steel is not porous and does not affect the flavor of the coffee. However, it can help keep your coffee hot for a longer period, which is why it is the preferred choice for travel mugs.

Plastic, foam, and paper are not recommended. While most of these materials are disposable, they can change the taste of your beverage. Plastic and polystyrene foam are porous and allow toxins to penetrate your coffee. Paper cups become soggy, which causes some of the paper material to end up in your drink.

The bottom line is that ceramics are recommended for home use and stainless steel is recommended for use outside your house.

How to Choose the Right Lid for Coffee

The lid is an important detail if you plan to take the mug outside of your house. Most lids are made from plastic and should be washed after each use.

There are also different types of plastic lids. For example, you can find plastic lids that are see-through. There are also lids that provide a spot for inserting a straw.

Some lids have an opening that slides open, while others have a tab that flips open. The tabs are more prone to accidental spills, especially when the tab becomes worn. Lids with a sliding tab tend to provide a little more protection against spills.

You may also want to determine whether the lid screws or snaps on. A snap-on lid may pop off. However, a screw lid should remain secure, even if you drop the coffee cup.

How to Choose the Right Design

Some coffee drinkers do not care about the design or look of the mug, while others specifically seek mugs with certain sayings or connections to their favorite shows or books.

You can find plain mugs with a solid color. There are also mugs with interesting patterns, colorful designs, or whimsical phrases. You can even find coffee mugs shaped like different characters from popular movies and television shows.

Novelty mugs may be fun for drinking coffee in your kitchen. However, they may not always be suitable for use in the workplace, especially when they feature crude humor.

Choosing a Coffee Mug for Home

When choosing a coffee mug for home use, you may not need a lid. You also do not need to worry about the size, as you can easily refill the mug by walking into the kitchen.

Your main considerations for choosing a mug for your kitchen include the material and the design. A ceramic mug like a personal favorite of mine, the Le Creuset, which you can find on Amazon is the most common choice. They can last for many years and come in many different designs.

When it comes to the design, you can choose almost anything that suits your tastes. The coffee mugs in your cupboards can reflect your personality or include a funny saying that brightens your mornings.

Choosing a Coffee Mug for Work

Travel mugs should provide a few different features compared to a standard mug. You need to ensure that the mug keeps your coffee hot and prevents it from spilling out.

When choosing a mug for use outside of your house, you should pay attention to the lid and the size A screw-on lid is more secure compared to a snap on lid and you may also want a lid with an opening that slides open, like the Yeti Rambler.

The size depends on how much coffee that you drink. Keep in mind that a typical serving is 6 to 8 ounces, but many people pour 12-ounce servings at home. With a 20-24-ounce travel mug you may fit 3 to 4 recommended servings, but these are just a couple of your personal serving sizes.

The design is also a consideration when choosing a travel mug. Remember that if you plan to use your mug in a workplace, you should avoid mugs that contain crude or potentially offensive humor.

Final Thoughts

How do you choose the right coffee mug? This depends on your personal needs.

If you want a mug for drinking your morning coffee while you get ready for work, consider getting a standard coffee mug made from ceramics. If you need a mug for your commute, ensure that it is has a lid and durable material, such as stainless steel.

Besides the features discussed, you may occasionally find extra features. There are coffee mugs that you can plug into a USB port or car charger to keep your beverage hot.

There are also coffee mugs with designs that use batteries to keep your coffee at the same temperature all day, like the Caludryn Coffee Travel Mug.

These are more expensive then your average travel cup (see current price on Amazon) but if your a purest or plan to be you may want to check it out.

In the end, you may spend hours trying to find the perfect mug. Luckily, you do not need to purchase just one mug. Having a variety of options ensures that you never run out of clean coffee cups and provides you with extras in case one of your mugs breaks.