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What Are the Different Types of Coffee Mugs?

Alyssa Mertes

Published: April 6th, 2022

You really can't have too many coffee mugs in your kitchen. Ceramic mugs are great for breakfast, travel mugs keep you company on road trips, and microwave-safe mugs are a must on busy mornings. The more, the merrier!

Here's your guide to all types of mugs. You'll learn cool mug history, the difference between porcelain and ceramic, and even the different handles you can hold.

How Old is the Coffee Mug?

Pouring coffee

Our ancient ancestors used bones, metal, or wood cups for their drinks until the invention of the pottery wheel in 3000 BC. This machine allowed for clay mugs to be created by hand, which changed the way people drank coffee forever.

Pouring coffee

What Material is Best for a Mug?

Most of the time, coffee mugs are made from ceramic. This material is durable, food-safe, and has a glossy glazed finish on the outside.

There is a wide variety of materials used to make coffee mugs. The full list includes:

  • Acrylic
  • Ceramic
  • Copper
  • Corn Plastic
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Polypropylene
  • Porcelain
  • Stone
  • Wheat Straw
acrilic mug

Acrylic Mugs

Transparent, acrylic mugs are great for juice, water, or soda. Since they're cheap, a business can also use them as trade show swag or freebies at live events.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

ceramic mug

Ceramic Mugs

Ceramic mugs are used by the estimated 1 billion coffee drinkers around the world. These mugs have smooth outer walls and easy-to-grip handles.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

copper cup

Copper Mugs

Are you hosting a cocktail party? Be sure to have plenty of copper mugs for all those Moscow Mules! Copper is shiny and non-corrosive, which means the acidity from the drink won't ruin the interior.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Corn Plastic Mug

Corn Plastic Mugs

Bring life on the farm to your drinks! Corn plastic is on trend for bottles, food packaging, and utensils. This eco-friendly material can also be used to make mugs, which is ultimately way better for the planet than disposable cups.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Glass Mugs

Glass Mugs

Beer here! Pubs, bars, and breweries should have plenty of glass mugs or steins in stock. You can use them for specialty ales, but also for serving Irish coffees, Long Islands, and even desserts!

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Metal Mug

Metal Mugs

It may seem crazy, but you can get mugs made from iron, stainless steel, or aluminum. Metal mugs are different than ceramic or stone as they tend to be very lightweight.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Polypropylene Mug

Polypropylene Mugs

You shouldn't pour piping hot coffee into polypropylene mugs. This type of plastic will melt when in contact with hot drinks. Use these plastic mugs instead for juice or soda at a picnic or backyard barbecue.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Porcelain Mug

Porcelain Mugs

If you want mugs for weddings or holiday parties, then porcelain is the best material for you! Porcelain mugs are small and delicate, so you should use them when sitting down rather than hustling around on busy mornings.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Stone Mug

Stone Mugs

No pun intended, but stone mugs "rock!" The walls are even thicker than the ones found in ceramics, making for a strong piece of drinkware that is tough to damage.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

Wheat Straw Mug

Wheat Straw Mugs

Wheat straw is a byproduct of wheat grain, making it a sustainable material. These mugs are very lightweight and have an irresistible natural appearance.

Cold Drinks

Hot Drinks

What's the Difference Between Ceramic and Porcelain Mugs?

Ceramic is a popular choice for mugs since it retains heat and is more environmentally-friendly than other materials. When compared to porcelain, ceramics are less expensive, more accessible, and have a bigger capacity. They are made from firing a non-metallic mineral, usually clay, at a high temperature.

Porcelain, on the other hand, is more elegant and fragile than ceramics. Popular for dinner parties, it's considered "fine china," which also makes it more expensive. These mugs are usually made with kaolin clay heated at temperatures as high as 2,600°F.

While both options are great, there are notable differences between ceramic and porcelain mugs. The infographic below shows everything you need to know!

Ceramic vs porcelain mugs chart

Ceramic Mugs

  • Less expensive
  • Umbrella term that includes porcelain, earthenware, pottery, and stoneware
  • Casual appearance
  • Larger capacity
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Thicker walls
  • Less fragile
  • Bigger handle
  • Usually dishwasher safe
  • Customizable with image/text


Porcelain Mugs

  • More expensive
  • In the ceramics family and includes fine china
  • Elegant appearance
  • Smaller capacity
  • Usually only available in white
  • Thinner walls
  • More fragile
  • Smaller handle
  • Needs to be handwashed
  • Customizable with image/text

Watch this video to see how ceramic coffee mugs are made!

Do Ceramic Mugs Keep Coffee Hot?

Pouring coffee

Ceramic mugs aren't usually insulated, which means your coffee won't stay hot forever. If that's important, look for ceramic mugs with lids. These types of mugs will keep hot drinks at a warm temperature for a longer period of time.

Pouring coffee

What Are the Different Handles for Mugs?

A mug is only a cup without its trademark handle. Whether you want a unique look or something more traditional, there's a handle for every occasion!

Are you shopping for new mugs? They will come with one of these types of handles:

  • C-handle
  • D-handle
  • O-handle
  • Open handle
  • Curved handle
  • Tiny handle
  • Square handle
  • Shaped handle
  • Oblong handle
  • Carabiner handle
  • Dual handle
  • Tri-handle
C-handle

C-handle

This aptly named handle is shaped like a "C" and is the most popular style for mugs. The rounded shape makes it easy to grip the mug without it slipping from your hands.

D-handle

D-handle

With its rectangular shape, the D-handle is easy to hold. You have more space for your fingers without worrying about any uncomfortable squishing.

O-handle

O-handle

This round handle has the whimsical look of a wind-up toy without the annoying sound. It's a less expected look than the typical ceramic handle.

Open Handle

Open Handle

Get a grip on your mug with the open handle style. This option is good for storage since it can hang right on a cup rack.

Curved Handle

Curved Handle

Basic mugs look more stylish if they have a curved handle. These handles give the mug an elegant look.

Tiny Handle

Tiny Handle

Latte, cappuccino, and espresso mugs often have a smaller capacity. Their quaint appearance is rounded out by the tiny handle on the side.

Square Handle

Square Handle

Square handles are very similar to D-shaped handles, but they tend to be thinner. You can comfortably wrap three or four fingers around this type of handle.

Shaped Handle

Shaped Handle

Why not use a mug with some personality? Shaped handles are unique and memorable, making them great novelty gifts for your friends and family.

Oblong Handle mug

Oblong Handle

Coffee mugs look way more fun with oblong handles! The warped, twisted appearance is a modern alternative to traditional drinkware.

Carabiner Handle mug

Carabiner Handle

Go on a hike or camping with these portable mugs! You can clip the carabiner handle to your bag, making it easy to remove and use when you're ready for a refill.

Dual Handle mug

Dual Handle

On a cold day, nothing is better than a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Heat yours up in a mug with two handles. You can grab both handles and totally skip the spoon!

Tri-Handle mug

Tri-Handle

Sometimes one handle just isn't enough! Get everyone talking by sipping your coffee from a mug with 3 handles.

What Are Some Other Types of Mugs?

Mugs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You can find one no matter what your personality and interests. Are you a Harry Potter fan? Get a mug with the Gryffindor seal. Do you love the Chicago Bears? Buy a travel mug with their logo on the front!

Get ready to find the coffee mug of your dreams! Here are the different styles you can choose from.

  • Beer Mugs
  • Bistro Mugs
  • Campfire Mugs
  • Cappuccino Mugs
  • Diner Mugs
  • Eco-Friendly Mugs
  • Espresso Mugs
  • Mugs With Lids
  • Mugs With Spoons
  • Novelty Mugs
  • Photo Mugs
  • Soup Mugs
  • Stoneware Mugs
  • Tall Mugs
  • Travel Mugs
Beer Mugs

Beer Mugs

Craft, domestic, or imported beer can be served in glass beer mugs. Use them instead of bottles or cans at formal events like banquets and weddings.

Bistro Mug

Bistro Mugs

If you're a trendy coffee shop or downtown café, you can't go wrong with bistro mugs. They have a quaint, charming look that your customers are sure to love.

Campfire Mug

Campfire Mugs

Toast marshmallows for s'mores, and enjoy hot chocolate in trendy camping mugs. These mugs are usually ceramic and have a trendy speckled exterior, which looks like ash residue from a bonfire!

Cappuccino Mug

Cappuccino Mugs

Do you love lattes or cappuccinos? Serve them in these rounded mugs. They may have a smaller capacity, but they can also accommodate syrups, milk, sugar, and whipped cream!

Diner Mug

Diner Mugs

Go back to the 50s by sipping coffee from a diner mug! Now you just need a big stack of pancakes and an egg omelet, and you've got a perfect breakfast.

Eco-Friendly Mug

Eco-Friendly Mugs

Stop buying all those Styrofoam to-go cups! An eco-friendly mug is much better for the planet. These natural mugs, which are made from bamboo fiber and corn powder, are one step toward a greener Earth!

Espresso Mug

Espresso Mugs

Nothing is more relaxing than sipping tea or a warm espresso while reading a book. You can use these tiny mugs any time you need a bit of rest and relaxation. Some even come with a handy saucer underneath.

Mugs With Lid

Mugs With Lids

On a busy morning, your coffee might end up sloshing over the rim of the cup. Avoid this mishap by drinking from a ceramic mug with lid. As a bonus, these mugs also help keep the coffee hot for a longer time.

Mugs With Spoon

Mugs With Spoons

If you like your coffee with a bit of sugar, or want to add a touch of honey to your tea, you can't go wrong with spooner mugs. The mini spoon is perfect for stirring in extra flavor.

Novelty Mug

Novelty Mugs

Stand out from the average joe while sipping your cup of joe! There are a ton of unique mugs out there to choose from such as the ones featured here, which have cute little feet on the bottom.

Photo Mug

Photo Mugs

The holidays are around the corner! A photo mug is a great gift for everyone, from your childhood best friend to your grandmother. You can print a special memory right on the front, and the best part is every ink color is included in the cost!

Shaped Mug

Shaped Mugs

A colorful mug is fun, but wouldn't it be cool to sip from one shaped like an object or even your favorite cartoon character? A tiki mug, for instance, is awesome for frozen drinks at a summer luau or on a tropical vacation.

Soup Mug

Soup Mugs

It's not all about coffee! Eat hot soup or a hearty chili from a soup mug. You can also use these coffee cups for ice cream!

Stoneware Mug

Stoneware Mugs

Stoneware mugs look like they came right off the pottery wheel and are very trendy. Grab a few to put in your kitchen cabinet at home.

Tall Mug

Tall Mugs

Wow, this morning was tough! You need a lot of caffeine just to make it through the day. Pour it right into tall mugs, which hold as much as 28 ounces of coffee!

Travel Mug

Travel Mugs

Hit the road in style with your favorite travel mug. The attached lid helps you avoid spills as you move around from place to place. The vacuum insulation, meanwhile, keeps your drink at a hot temperature.

How Many Coffee Cups Do You Need?

Over 150 million people drink coffee every single day. Some drink as many as three cups. If you belong to that group, it's not a bad idea to have 5 to 7 mugs for every coffee drinker in your household.

You may find that your coffee mug collection has gotten way out of hand. Try any of these storage ideas to organize your kitchen!

On counter mug storage

Put in Cabinet

As long as you have the space, you can place your coffee cups in a kitchen cabinet. Be sure to use a lower shelf, so you can easily reach the mugs in the morning.

Hang on Hooks

Put up a pegboard or drill hooks into the wall. You can then hang each mug by its handle. This is a good solution if you're running out of storage or have no space on your counters.

Counter storage

Store in Counter Organizer

Fruit baskets or wire holders are a great way to organize mugs! You can also buy mini “trees,” and hang a mug from each “branch.” Set the rack on the counter right next to the coffee maker.

storage cubby https://www.diys.com/

Make Part of the Décor

Buy a nice display shelf for all of your pretty mugs. It will create an irresistibly homey atmosphere in your kitchen.

Rolling Cart https://www.thertastore.com/

Try a Rolling Cart

Does your kitchen not have an island? Make one yourself by investing in a rolling cart. You can use the extra cabinetry to store your coffee cups.

storage shelves with mugs

Place on a Shelf

Some kitchens have built-in shelves on the outside of the cabinets. Use this space to store your mugs. You can also paint a bookshelf and place all your pretty mugs on the shelf for a cool, vintage look.

Stats for Success

Stat 1

Roughly 54% of Americans enjoy a good cup of coffee.

Stat 2

60% of people have an emotional attachment to their favorite mug.

Stat 3

Americans drink an average of 400 million cups of coffee every day.

The Bottom Line

You now have a complete guide to the different types of mugs. Mugs are always a welcome addition to your kitchen, especially if you start your day with a cup (or three) of coffee!

Quality Logo Products are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!

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Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.

References

Coffee.org. (2018). Different Types of Coffee Mugs. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://coffee.org/

Planet Mugs. (2018). Porcelain Mugs VS Ceramic Mugs. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.planetmugs.com.au/porcelain-mugs-or-ceramic-mugs

Andrews, L. (2016, February 02). 6 Reasons We're Emotionally Attached to Our Favorite Mugs. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201602/6-reasons-were-emotionally-attached-our-favorite-mugs

Carry Your Cup. (2018). Get the Facts. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from http://www.carryyourcup.org/get-the-facts

WikiHow. (2018). How to Test if a Dish is Microwave Safe. Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://www.wikihow.com/Test-if-a-Dish-Is-Microwave-Safe

Fann, V. (2020, December 1). Coffee or No Coffee? An Exploration of America's Morning Beverage. Retrieved from, https://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/coffee-or-no-coffee-an-exploration-of-americas-morning-beverage/food-beverage