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Best Espresso Cups

So you finally got that espresso machine! Congratulations. Your caffeine consumption and lifestyle are about to change dramatically. The only catch? Now you need to get some decent espresso cups to go alongside your sexy new machine. The novelty mug that you got on a high school trip to St Louis isn’t going to cut it anymore if you truly want to have an artisanal espresso experience at home. After all, you’re not just making coffee for yourself to get through a morning commute anymore. Now you are your own personal brewista and need to act like one.

A proper espresso cup truly makes the difference between the amateur coffee drinking and the home brew master. A good cup sets the tone and defines the experience as more than just a casual suckle on the teat of caffeinated glory. It creates an atmosphere of class and serious coffee loving. With the right espresso cup, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the bustling streets of Milan, from the comfort of your kitchen. Beyond the aesthetics, the right cup can even affect the flavor of your espresso in addition to the presentation. It’s important not to make this decision lightly. Choosing which espresso cup to bring into your life is a significant decision.

Now that you understand the gravity of this decision, the challenges of this shopping adventure should come into focus. Shopping for espresso cups is no joke. It’s an important decision to be treated with respect. So how do you put in the research and dedication to find the espresso cup that you and your coffee deserve? Simple: read this article. Below you’ll find a list of our favorite espresso cups on the market. Below that, you’ll find a definitive guide for what to look out for in an espresso cup. In other words, by the time you finish this article you’ll know which espresso cup is the right one for you and would be able to click a link to buy it. You’ve done all the necessary work by coming to this page. Now let us handle the rest and guide you to the espresso cups of your dreams.

Best Overall Espresso Cup — Royal Doulton Coffee Studio Espresso Cup And Saucer Set

It’s no accident that the title of this espresso cup set evokes royalty. This is truly the height of espresso cup luxury and refinement. Made of the finest porcelain with an elegant satin dip glaze that provides a perfect colorful accent, these cups and saucers are practically a work of art. They are elegantly designed with a sense of style that never overwhelms their functionality. You’ll soon find house guests asking for a cup of espresso purely to hold one of these beauties in their hand.

Even better, they function perfectly. The white interior allows you to see and appreciate your espresso cup in all of its glory. The cups are dishwasher and even (god forbid) microwave safe, allowing you to do just about anything you want with them and never disrupt the functionality or flavor. They fit into practically every kitchen and the design won’t go out of date, which is good since these durable cups will last a lifetime. The cups even come with a matching saucer, practically begging you to add a biscotti or biscuit on the side (go on, we won’t tell anyone). There’s really nothing to complain about. This is the Platonic ideal of an espresso cup.

Pros

  • Gorgeous design.
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe.
  • Designed to be durable and functional as well as pretty.
  • Surprisingly affordable.

Cons

  • Colors aren’t customizable, so you must accept Royal Doulton’s choices.

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Best Glass Espresso Cup — JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Insulated Glass Espresso Mugs

How could anyone turn down an espresso cup with a name as perfect as JoyJolt? If you’re looking for a glass espresso cup (or in this case, mug), you really can’t find one better than this. The double wall insolation ensures that the inside layer will keep your espresso insulated and warm, while the outer layer will stay mercifully cool to the touch. The second layer also creates a unique optical effect that will allow you to examine your perfect shot of espresso from all angles in a perfectly contained glass cup-within-a-mug.

Beyond the stunning visual design, these glass espresso mugs are also dishwasher, microwave, fridge, and freezer safe. They can suit every possible espresso mug need and function. Despite being made of glass, they are also quite durable and as long as you aren’t throwing them against the wall, should last as long as you need to sip down some tasty espresso.

Pros

  • Gorgeous design.
  • Dishwasher, microwave, fridge, and freezer safe.
  • Designed to be durable and functional as well as pretty.
  • Unique double glass wall design allows you to admire your espresso shot from all angles.

Cons

  • Only ships in packs of two mugs, so getting a full set can be quite expensive.

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Best Colorful Espresso Cup Set — Le Creuset Stoneware Rainbow Espresso Mugs

Why have a few dull identical espresso cups when you could have an entire rainbow of colors within your espresso cup set? These little beauties are destined to light up any kitchen with a splash of color in between rounds of containing splashes of espresso. The package by Le Creuset is even designed to be a stunning gift to pass along to the espresso lover in your life. Of course, once you have an espresso cup set this absolutely gorgeous in your hands, it’ll be tough to pass that along to anyone else.

This pretty set of six cups (representing every color of the rainbow!) is also quite functional. The high quality ceramic is chip-resistant, stain resistant, and dishwasher safe. As we all know, ceramic is the best quality espresso cup material for taste and heat retention. So, not only will this delightful set light up your kitchen, it’ll also give you the best espresso drinking experience possible.

Pros

  • Beautiful rainbow color set design.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Chip and stain resistant.
  • Offers strong flavor and heat retention.

Cons

  • The interior of the cups is the same color as the exterior, which espresso lovers think detracts from the experience.

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Best Space Saving Espresso Cup Set — Sweese Porcelain Stackable Espresso Cup Set

Are you looking for a full espresso cup set, but worry about not having enough counter or shelf space to accommodate it? Then you would really benefit from Sweese’s Porcelain Stackable Espresso Cup Set. This set stacks six sets of espresso cups and saucers into a compressed space that isn’t much larger than a single set. They are all easy to access and it’s even easy on the eyes with a satisfying and pleasing design. The cups are available in a variety of colors, so it’s easy to customize this set to fit into any compact kitchen.

Thankfully, Sweese didn’t skip on the actual cups for the sake of the compact design. These little beauties are made out of professional grade porcelain, making them dishwasher safe, durable, stylish, and practical. Heat will be retained, coffee color can be admired, and saucers are included. They are practically begging to be paired with a biscuit. So stalk up. You, your family, and your friends will be getting plenty of use out of these.

Pros

  • Impressive space-saving stack design.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Offers strong flavor and heat retention.

Cons

  • Stack can be a bit wobbly.
  • Some customers complain about chipping.

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Things To Look Out For

Here are some things to consider when choosing which espresso cups are right for you.

Cup Size

If you’ve only ever dabbled in the wonderful world espresso cups before now, you might be living under the illusion that there is only a single size of espresso cup. It might seem that way from the outside, but there are actually a few different sizes of espresso cup out there. Which one will work before for you depends entirely on your needs. So, the standard espresso cup that you’re likely familiar with is called a Demitasse, which translates from Italian to “half-cup.” It holds between 2-3 ounces of liquid. That one-ounce of variance is where the different sizes of espresso come in. A doppio normale refers to a 2-ounce espresso cup, while a lungo doppio can hold 3 ounces. So, if you’ve need a strong blast of caffeine to get your engine running, you’ll want a lungo doppio while less intense coffee fiends will feel satisfied with the doppio normale.

Material Matters

The differences between espresso cups aren’t merely limited to size. There are also several different materials typically used to build an espresso cup with their own advantages and disadvantages. In general, it all comes down to heat. Some substances simply conduct and hold heat better than others, so you’ll want to keep that in mind depending on the level of heat you like to have hit your tongue.

So, which materials have the best thermal insulation qualities (that’s science!)? The three main styles of espresso cup are ceramic, glass, and stainless steel (other options like paper and plastic aren’t really worth considering beyond their disposability). Stainless steel doesn’t retain heat as well as the other options and if it’s made from cheap material often lends your coffee a metallic taste, so it’s the weakest option. Glass espresso cups actually retain heat the best (as long as the cups are double walled anyways), but come with all of the fragile drawbacks of any glass product.

Ceramic espresso cups are the Goldilocks of the market, falling right in the middle. They retain heat quite well with none of the drawbacks of the other two options. There’s a reason why these are the most popular and beloved espresso cups on the market and we don’t expect to see that change any time soon.

Consider A Saucer

Do you absolutely need a saucer to enjoy a nice, fresh cup of espresso? No, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth the investment. After all, it’s nice to have something rest your hot espresso cup on beyond your table and it’s much more difficult to talk yourself out of having a biscotti alongside your espresso when there’s open saucer space. Necessity? No. Useful? Obviously.

Cup Color

This may seem like a simple preference, but it actually has a bigger impact on your cup of espresso than you make. You see, true espresso aficionados don’t simply want drink their shot of caffeinated glory. They want to appreciate the artistry of that beautiful shot of Joe as well. They prefer a white interior so that the strength and depth of color of their espresso shot is clearly visible. The exterior can be any color. But if you truly want to appreciate everything about your beautiful shot of the good stuff, made sure that your cup has a white interior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are espresso cups so small?

The espresso layman might assume that espresso cups are so small to limit the amount of coffee one drinks. In fact, the opposite is true. These cups are small so that the coffee has substantially less water than the average cup o’ Joe. It might not be immediately visually apparent, but a full espresso cup is more powerful. You wouldn’t want one bigger, for the sake of your heart and sanity. Could you drink your espresso out of a larger cup? Obviously, but why do that when there are specially designed cups that are just the right size to contain the perfect serving of espresso?

Can a cup affect the flavor of the espresso shot it contains?

Believe it or not, yes! If you are drinking out of a cheap or poorly made metallic or ceramic espresso cup, some of the chemicals in the cup may leak into your tasty shot. This leak won’t be substantial enough to be poisonous or anything like that. However, it will alter the flavor just enough to irritate espresso aficionados.

Are espresso cups dishwasher safe?

In general, yes. However, this very much depends on the style of espresso cup and the quality of its construction. Espresso cup manufacturers always list this on their packaging or website. So, it’s always worth checking to be safe.

Is it okay to drink espresso every day?

Thankfully, yes. This has been proven true. According to the department of health, you should only be concerned if you’re drinking five or more shots of espresso every day. As long as you can keep your numbers under that, you should be just fine.

Photo credit: I love coffee/Shutterstock

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