What should your coffee cup be made of?

coffee-691464_640Paper, polystyrene, china, pottery, glass, metal….it seems you can made a coffee cup out of more or less anything, but what’s it doing to the taste of the drink? We take a look at what to use and when to use it.

Paper cups are often seen at events and in situations where breakable cups aren’t an option. For the cafe owner, the advantages are that they’re lightweight to transport and cheap to use. For the consumer, they’re discardable and great for taking drinks away, but don’t insulate very well and can be uncomfortable to hold as a result. Some paper cups are fitted with corrugated outer insulating layers or cardboard slip covers to reduce this problem.
Polystyrene cups are lightweight and non-breakable, and as they have much thicker walls they have better insulation qualities. However, they’re not very ‘green’ as they can’t be made from recycled materials or recycled themselves, and they can make the coffee taste a bit funny and plasticky.
Using glass cups for coffee is a fairly modern institution, and was introduced to showcase drinks such as latte which has distinct layers. Like ceramic materials, glass doesn’t affect the flavour of the coffee but doesn’t hold heat as well as china and pottery.
Metal mugs are normally used for camping and brewing up your coffee outdoors. Look for mugs coated with enamel or made from stainless steel, as aluminium mugs can taint coffee. Hot drinks in metal cups lose heat quickly.
Ceramic cups are probably the oldest type of manmade drinking vessel, and are what most of us still drink our coffee from now. Ceramic ranges from fine bone china to thick, chunky pottery, but all ceramic cups have the advantage that they hold heat well and don’t taint the drink.
Take a look at our range of paper coffee ups here.