Better coffee. One cup at a time.

Best Coffee Mug and How to Choose the Right One

(Note: I may earn a small commission from purchases made through product links in this article at no extra cost to you. Additionally, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

Choosing the right coffee mug can have a dramatic impact how you enjoy your coffee. To many manual coffee brewers drinking coffee is more than just a daily habit, it is a ritual. A favorite coffee cup is part of that ritual. For me there is nothing better than having a thick, ceramic diner style coffee mug to drink coffee out of in the morning (and afternoon and night…).

While most coffee mugs are chosen rather serendipitously (gifts, random purchases at coffee shop and tech conference swag), there are a few things to consider if you are actively looking for a new favorite coffee mug. 

In this post, I will be discussing the various things you should consider when on the hunt for a vessel to hold your precious manually brewed coffee as well as recommending a few of my favorite mug and cup designs to point you in the right direction. 

I would love to hear from you guys about what you look for in a coffee cup and where your favorite mug came from. Let me know if there are mugs that should be on my list. 

A Few Things to Consider When Purchasing a Coffee Mug

What you like to drink your coffee out of will be different for everybody. There are no right or wrong answers to personal coffee cup preferences but here are a few things to consider.

General Aesthetics

While shape, design, color and material all deserve their own category for consideration, they also fall under the broader category of aesthetic appeal. 

How a piece of coffeeware looks should be a major factor when choosing a coffee mug. As they say. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and you should have a coffee mug that brings you joy (The Life-Change Magic of Tidying Up… anyone?).  

Whether is it a witty saying, a nostalgic design or a mug that deserves its own series of Instagram posts, your first and foremost consideration for a favorite mug should be whether you like the way it looks or not. 


Similar to aesthetics, function is a larger category that touches some of the smaller categories. Think about the settings and circumstances you enjoy your coffee in and what you look for in a cup of coffee.

Are you primarily drinking coffee on the go? Maybe look into a travel thermos or a mug that will fit into your car’s cup holder. Looking for a Travel Mug?-Some Travel Mugs Worth Considering (also check out the Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug).

Looking for a mug to take camping? Think about durability and how well it works with your coffee outside brewing method

Are you a busy parent that can’t be bothered with hand washing your dishes? Look for a coffee cup that is durable, keeps your coffee warm and is dishwasher safe.


The shape of a coffee cup is a major part of its appeal but there is more to shape than surface considerations.  

Look for a mug that fits into your hand and is comfortable to drink out of. This will of course look different for everyone but think about how you like to hold your mug (cupped in two hands, by the handle, or ???). The shape of a coffee mug should meet that ritual. 

Along with other factors, the shape of a coffee mug can also affect how coffee will taste (yes coffee can taste different out of different vessels) and the general functionality of a coffee cup. 

The Lino, by notNeutral, was designed with taste and function in mind. Every detail down to a place to rest your thumb was meticulously designed with user comfort in mind. 

The shape of a coffee cup will have a big impact on its functionality and if it is right for you. A giant coffee mug will not be a good fit for someone who drinks small cups of coffee, a tall skinny mug will not be ideal for a klutz (like me) and a shallow mug with a large mouth would be less than ideal for someone who likes their coffee warm but does not drink it very fast.


The color of you coffee mug might seem to fit solely into the “Coffee Mug Aesthetics” category and for the most part, it does. As I mentioned above, you should choose a coffee mug that you like the look of.

However, it is worth mentioning that there has been some research suggesting the color of you coffee mug can also affect how you perceive a coffee to taste. A study done in 2014 found that people tasted coffee differently when they drank it out of a white mug.

I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in this but it is interesting none-the-less and worth noting. 


The material your coffee mug is made out of can impact everything from how your coffee tastes, to heat retention, and how you should care for it. 

Ceramic coffee mugs are the most popular choices but you can also find coffee mugs made of glass, enamelware and even stainless steel. 

What’s the difference between Porcelain Mugs and Ceramic Mugs? Technically speaking, porcelain is a type of ceramic but in most cases, when someone talks about a ceramic mug, they mean that it is not porcelain. Porcelain mugs have thinner walls and can be translucent or opaque. Ceramic mugs are generally thicker, better for heat retention, and more durable.

Ceramic is my go-to material, although I do enjoy the aforementioned porcelain Lino mug. Most ceramics can be thrown in the dishwasher, are pretty durable and are quite pleasant to drink coffee out of. 

I am personally not a fan of enamelware or stainless steel in a daily coffee mug. I don’t like the experience of drinking out of either and the metal mugs make the coffee taste a little different.

Glass is a fine choice for a mug but again, I don’t prefer it. This is mostly a preference based on aesthetics.

My Favorite Coffee Mugs

I’m always on the look out for unique coffee cups. Whether it’s a vintage mug from a thrift store or cool merch from a favorite roaster. Here are the mugs I’m into right now. I’d love to add more to the list, contact me or comment below if there are ones I am missing out on. 

  • The Honest Chirstmas Mug– This mug from Honest Coffee Roasters has a great shape and a cool design. It is from 2019, so get it while supplies last.
  • Ruby Handmade Mug– I received this mug for Christmas a few years ago and loved the shape and feel of it. It doesn’t have a handle which made it unique. Unfortunately, it had a mishap and was shattered during a wrestling match with my rowdy children. It might be about time to get another one.
  • Stone Creek Coffee “Never Stop Learning” Diner Mug– Stone Creek Coffee is always doing interesting things at their roastery. This mug has a cool teal color, the classic diner shape and I love the design and message.
  • Perc Mint Diner Mug– Perc coffee nailed it with this mug. Mint green is making a serious comeback and this mug can bring a pop of retro color to your morning coffee ritual.
  • Crema X Bean and Bailey Ceramics Slip Cast Mug– Crema teamed up with Bean and Bailey Ceramics to make this beautiful mug. It has been on my list for awhile and a portion of the sale goes towards the Anderson Bailey Clay Scholarship Fund. Bean and Bailey also has a “Tilt Mug” that is pretty cool.
  • Erin Englert Pottery “Still Summer” Camp Mug– The “Still Summer” mug is hand thrown ceramic with a camping motif. It’s perfect for coffee outside or the outdoor enthusiast. Support a small Colorado business by pick one (or more) up.
  • Handlebar Coffee Roasters “Handlebar” Mug– This black mug with gold accents puts some extra class into the already classy Lino mug. The bicycle theme seals the deal for me.
  • “Drink Good Coffee” Mug– A classic diner mug from the people at Good Coffee. This mug reminds you to drink good coffee (and hopefully brew good coffee too).
  • Stumptown Holiday Mug– Stumptown Coffee has great branding and I always enjoy their merchandise. Their “Holiday Mug” is no exception, it makes me want to start a fire and drink some Hair Bender.
  • Olympia Coffee 12 oz. Angle Mug– Olympia Coffee’s “Angle Mug” has a unique handle shape. The mug incorporates a cup of spilled coffee into the logo, an all too familiar scene at the Brewing Coffee Manually house.
  • Onyx Coffee Archetype Cotto Mug– Another mug with a unique shape. Onyx’s “Archetype Cotto” mug has a more rustic look to it (hand wash only!).
  • Tanner Goods “Crater Lake” Mug– The “Crater Lake” mug has a large capacity (16 oz.) and a wider shape. It’s perfect for a big cup of coffee on the weekend.
  • Vintage Coffee Mugs– There is a certain appeal to finding the perfect vintage coffee mug. If the end result (a unique vintage mug) is more appealing than the thankless quest of perusing garage sales and houseware shelfs at thrift stores, I have a collection of vintage mugs for sale in my shop.

Cover photo by Ken Englert

1 Comment

  1. August

    So this is a good article and I really appreciate you compiling this list. I’m trying to narrow down what my favorite mug is for a powerpoint party and this really helps with the categories I should consider.
    Unfortunately about half of the links that you’ve supplied to show off your faves don’t work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.