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Best Cups

Credit: Jane Jackson
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 25, 2020
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Ready to update your kitchen with a new cup? We researched over 50 different options before purchasing the top 11 products on the market for side-by-side testing. We drank tea, coffee, cappuccinos, and cocktails out of these mugs to make sure we narrowed in on the best of the best for our award-winning products. Our review will guide you toward the ideal vessel to suit your beverage-drinking needs. Curious about what makes a decent drinking vessel? Look no further!

1

Best Overall Cup


Epare Coffee Mug Set


Epare Coffee Mug Set
Editors' Choice Award
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$25.00
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

Materials: Double-Wall Glass | Weight: 8.11 ounces
Well-insulated
Lightweight feel
Timeless, classy design
Aesthetic and ergonomic handle shape
Delicate

We tested a few double-wall glass options for this review, but the Epare Mug Set was by far our favorite. The Epare is an incredible option, boasting simplicity and class. This set is lightweight and versatile and provide some of the best insulation out of any mug we tested. When filled with hot liquid, the outside barely gets hot, while the contents remain warm for long periods. Though the handle shape and overall design were similar to the other double-wall glass mugs we reviewed, we preferred the Epare's ergonomics. The handle shape is more rectangular, which fits a variety of hand sizes.

Because it's made from glass, it is one of the more delicate-feeling options in this review. If durability is a concern, then this may be one to shy away from. This was the only major downside to this mug set.

Whether it's morning coffee, tea, or a glass of hot water, this mug...
Whether it's morning coffee, tea, or a glass of hot water, this mug is our go-to.
Credit: Jane Jackson

2

Best Bang for the Buck


LIFVER 18-Ounce Coffee Mug


LIFVER 18-Ounce Coffee Mug
Best Buy Award
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$27.99
(7% off)
at Amazon
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Materials: Porcelain | Weight: 15.06 ounces
Large size makes them versatile
Reasonably priced
Durable
Heavy
Set only comes in assorted colors

The LIFVER 18-Ounce Coffee Mug is a solid, versatile, well-insulated set of mugs — with a reasonable price tag. If you're moving into a new home and need to outfit your new kitchen, or need to reinvigorate your overall kitchen aesthetic, this is a great option. For a reasonable price, you get six colorful porcelain mugs. We liked the handle shape and the overall size, which works for a big cup of tea or coffee. The sides warm up nicely when filled with hot liquid but don't become so scalding that it's impossible to pick up. The set of six comes in a variety of colors, which we also liked. The wide mouth works well for a pour-over or Aeropress coffee maker too, which is a plus.

If you don't like bright colors or are looking for something muted, the LIFVER mugs may not be your best bet. They are big, loud, and bright, which is not everyone's "cup of tea". They are also some of the heaviest in this review, which may not be ideal for all users.

A cozy cup of tea at our desk nook. These mugs are great for big...
A cozy cup of tea at our desk nook. These mugs are great for big afternoon cups of tea.
Credit: Jane Jackson

3

Best for Cappuccinos


JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Espresso


JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Espresso
Top Pick Award
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$16.95
(29% off)
at Amazon
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Materials: Double-Wall Glass | Weight: 4.66 ounces
Double-wall glass is well insulated
Lightweight feel
Great for drinks with foamed milk
Expensive

These lightweight, cappuccino-sized glass mugs stole our hearts throughout our review period. We loved their small capacity and tall walls. Unlike other cappuccino cups, which tend to be shallow and low to the table, the JoyJolt Savor is tall and slender. We liked their handle size, which fit the mug proportionally, but was big enough to still be useful. The double-wall glass design makes these mugs very well insulated, and they kept our coffee warm much longer than a traditional cappuccino mug. They are also extremely lightweight, which we appreciated. In terms of cleaning, we often put these mugs in the dishwasher, though we cleaned them by hand very easily when needed. Finally, if you are into latté art, these mugs are for you. Their wide mouth makes it easy to pour milk foam into them and also facilitates a good layer of microfoam.

The JoyJolt Savor comes in a set of two. Unfortunately, they come at a fairly high cost. For us, this felt worth it since they are made well and are exceptionally well insulated and satisfying to use.

The shape of this mug is conducive to perfecting our latte art skills.
The shape of this mug is conducive to perfecting our latte art skills.
Credit: Jane Jackson

4

Best To-Go Mug


W&P Porter Ceramic


W&P Porter Ceramic
Top Pick Award
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$25.00
at Amazon
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Materials: Ceramic and Silicone | Weight: 11.5 ounces
Sleek design
Durable
Silicone and ceramic makes it well insulated
Small capacity
Lid doesn't lock shut

The sleek and stylish W&P Porter was our favorite to-go mug we tested. We were pleased to find a portable option that is ceramic yet still durable. Plus, it fits into a car cup holder — which is a major plus. It's small — it only has a 12-ounce capacity, but it is so stylish and has such a nice feel that we didn't mind. The lid fits snugly and has an excellent slide closure mechanism. We also found the silicone sleeve was easy to remove if needed for cleaning purposes. Because it is ceramic inside, it doesn't trap flavors or hold smells, which is ideal for a travel mug. The other major plus is that this mug is super well insulated. It doesn't conduct heat when full of boiling water, and the lid and silicone sleeve help keep contents warm for long periods.

The W&P Porter has a pretty small capacity. When the lid is on, it holds even less liquid than its claimed 12 ounces since the silicone gasket is inset in the lid and seals on the inside of the mug. The other downside is that this mug is not entirely leakproof. It can't be thrown in a bag with tea in it but is rather like a portable mug for the second cup of coffee that you didn't quite finish.

The dainty Porter is compact and easy to take anywhere.
The dainty Porter is compact and easy to take anywhere.
Credit: Jane Jackson

5

Best Tea Infuser


Tomotime Glass Tea Cup


Tomotime Glass Tea Cup
Top Pick Award
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$11
List Price
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Materials: Borosilicate Glass, Stainless Steel | Weight: 9.45 ounces
Large capacity for tea infuser
Beaker-like design is sleek and classic
Oversized handle
Outside of cup gets hot
Delicate

The classy, beaker-like design of the Tomotime Glass tea infuser had us drinking way more tea than we usually do. This mug has a single-wall glass design with an oversized handle, stainless steel infuser, and a glass lid. We loved the overall construction and especially liked how the infuser is held in place by a silicone gasket. The lid keeps your tea hot when steeping and also provides a platform for the infuser when it's time to remove the leaves. We enjoyed drinking from it too since the large handle kept our hands away from the hot sides of the cup itself.

Because it is glass, the Tomotime is delicate. It also comes with three separate parts — the lid, the infuser, and the mug itself. This design requires some attention to detail when cleaning. Some folks may not like drinking directly from the glass mug, as it gets hot over time. Our testers often transferred the tea to a separate mug after steeping it in the Tomotime.

We liked the silicone rim on this infuser set up because it set the...
We liked the silicone rim on this infuser set up because it set the filter securely inside the mug.
Credit: Jane Jackson

6

Great Versatile Option


DOWAN Coffee Mug


DOWAN Coffee Mug
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$19.99
at Amazon
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Materials: Ceramic and Cork | Weight: 15.4 ounces
Dual material design is aesthetically appealing
Comes with lid
Large handle
Cork bottom lacks durability
Hard to clean

The DOWAN Coffee Mug is for folks who drink their coffee slowly and often find themselves half-way finished with their first cup before they have to head out the door. The DOWAN is ideal for this type of morning person because the mug looks classy in a kitchen, but also has a lid and a reinforced bottom, which make it a reasonable to-go option, as well. It looks good sitting on a desk at work, but also fits in just fine in a cupboard among other classy drinking vessels. The reinforced bottom is made from cork, which gives it a unique aesthetic. The combination of materials doesn't affect the insulation, but the cork bottom does mean it's quiet when it's set down on a table. We also liked the feel of the oversized handle.

This mug falls short when it comes to insulation. The DOWAN mug gets extremely hot on the outside when filled with hot liquid, making it hard to pick up initially. This was a major bummer because it also means that it loses heat more quickly than other mugs. We also had a little bit of an issue with the ridge on the inside, which is where the lid rests. This is mostly an aesthetic issue, but it also seemed to collect grime and also makes it hard to clean. The final issue we had came toward the end of our test period when the cork bottom detached from the main ceramic portion of the mug.

For the early riser who is nervous about waking the rest of the...
For the early riser who is nervous about waking the rest of the house, this mug is extremely quiet due to its cork base.
Credit: Jane Jackson

7

Runner Up for Double-Wall Glass


Sweese Glass Coffee Mug


Sweese Glass Coffee Mug
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$28.99
at Amazon
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Materials: Double-Wall Glass | Weight: 8.11 ounces
Very well insulated
Lightweight
Large capacity makes it versatile
Glass is difficult to clean
Thinner walls than other double-wall options

Very similar to our top choice, the Sweese double-wall glass mug has many of the same award-winning qualities. It's lightweight and stylish, with a large capacity. The Sweese mugs are also extremely well-insulated, keeping hot beverages warm for long periods without transferring too much heat to the outside walls. The handle shape is big enough for the average person to fit three fingers through, and the wide mouth makes it easy to clean by hand, though these mugs are also dishwasher safe.

We preferred the Epare glass mugs to the Sweese for a few reasons. The Sweese mugs are slightly bulkier and have thicker walls that make the mug feel clunky in comparison to the classy Epare. The Sweese also seemed to get dirtier, and the glass became gummed up and opaque after a few weeks of use.

This one scores high for drinkability, especially during a Sunday...
This one scores high for drinkability, especially during a Sunday morning backgammon game.
Credit: Jane Jackson

8

Classy Espresso Option


Fellow Monty Milk Art


Fellow Monty Milk Art
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$30.00
at Amazon
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Materials: Double-Wall Ceramic and Metal | Weight: 5.15 ounces
Well made
Stackable
Well-insulated
Small
Designed for specific use

They are small, sleek, classy and well-made, which won them major points in our book. Though we tested the espresso-sized version for this review (which means they only held three ounces of liquid), the Fellow Monty comes in a variety of sizes. Their double-wall ceramic construction makes them extremely durable and well insulated. Most notably, in terms of design, is the Fellow's metal foot, which allows the mug to rest above the table and stack well together. For those who are addicted to their espresso machine, like us, these are for you. If drip coffee or tea is more your thing, then the Fellow mugs may not be the ideal choice.

The biggest downside is their small size and specific use. Many of us do not have infinite space in our kitchens for items that are only used occasionally. The other downside is their small size; this means that heat escapes quickly and that they are only useful for espresso shots. They are also relatively expensive compared to other products in this review.

There's pretty much only room for a single espresso shot in the Monty.
There's pretty much only room for a single espresso shot in the Monty.
Credit: Jane Jackson

9

Best for Entertaining


Sweese Porcelain Stackable Cappuccino


Sweese Porcelain Stackable Cappuccino
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$34
List Price
See It

Materials: Porcelain | Weight: 15.2 ounces
The only set that comes with saucers
Classic cappuccino cup design
Versatile
Hard to store
Lacks insulation

Morning coffee, afternoon tea, even an after-dinner bowl of ice cream. Any of these activities are suitable for the Sweese Porcelain Stackable Cappuccino set; this is the only set that comes with its own storage rack, which adds a fun vibe to any kitchen set up and makes it feel like you and your guests are at an Italian café rather than just your dining room. We used these mugs most often when we had friends over since the set comes with four cups and four saucers. We even used these mugs as mini ice cream bowls.

The main downside to the Sweese set is their lack of insulation. Because they are so shallow, they tend to let off heat quickly, making the contents become cold more quickly than a deeper mug. We also found their storage rack to be bulky. This set really only makes sense if you have plenty of counter space to proudly display the rack.

We felt like we were on a trip to Italy when using these classic...
We felt like we were on a trip to Italy when using these classic cappuccino cups.
Credit: Jane Jackson

10

Basic Mug Set


Lifecapido Coffee Mug


Lifecapido Coffee Mug
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$26.91
at Amazon
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Materials: Ceramic | Weight: 13.02 ounces
Well-insulated
Durable
Comes in set of six
Basic design
Small handle relative to mug size

Simple in shape, size, and color, the Lifcapido Coffee Mug set is a no-nonsense option for those who do not want to over-think their next kitchen purchase. These mugs are fairly thick-walled, making them durable and well insulated. They keep their contents warm for a long time and don't become too hot to touch during the process. We liked how they appear to be plain, with their matte black finish, but have a splash of color on the inside to keep things interesting. The handle shape is ergonomic and simple but doesn't really allow room for more than three fingers. These mugs can be washed in the dishwasher and come in a set of six, making them great for families or groups.

What makes these mugs great for their simplicity also makes them a bit basic in terms of design and overall feel. The Lifecapido set is straightforward and, compared to some of the more novel options in this review, a little bit boring. In all realms of our testing metric, they performed well, but they lacked a "wow factor" for us.

This versatile option is great for entertaining.
This versatile option is great for entertaining.
Credit: Jane Jackson

11

Unique Tea Infuser


Tomotime Ceramic


Tomotime Ceramic
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$20.99
(30% off)
at Amazon
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Materials: Ceramic | Weight: 16.76 ounces
Well-insulated
Unique handle shape
All-ceramic design
Small capacity
The handle is not for everyone

The Tomotime Ceramic gets props for its uniqueness and flair. If you are an avid tea drinker, this mug is a great way to jazz up your tea routine. Our favorite aspects are its ceramic tea infuser and fitted ceramic lid. This feature set is unique and gives it a solid, timeless feel. It is also well-insulated and doesn't get too hot when filled with boiling water. The handle is positioned such that it keeps your hand away from the sides of the mug anyway, so accidentally touching scalding ceramic is not a concern with this mug.

It's aesthetically unique, which also means it's not for everyone. The Tomotime Ceramic has a wooden handle and an all-ceramic construction. We liked the ceramic aspect of its design but were not totally sold on the wooden handle. We also found that when filled with water, the ceramic infuser actually takes up quite a lot of space inside the mug, which reduces its liquid capacity by a lot.

The Tomotime definitely has the coolest feel of any mug in this...
The Tomotime definitely has the coolest feel of any mug in this review.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Why You Should Trust Us


Our lead tester, Jane Jackson, has tested and reviewed all matter of kitchenware, from mixing bowls to roasting pans to soup bowls. This review, especially, is close to Jane's heart, as she is rarely found without an array of mugs strewn across her desk. A lover of beverages hot and cold, Jane is the ideal person to test the best mugs on the market. She was not on her own in assessing the performance of these items, though. She included feedback from friends, roommates, and her fiancé to finalize the results of this review.

Weighing each mug in the test kitchen.
Weighing each mug in the test kitchen.
Credit: Jane Jackson

To test the performance of these vessels, we drank a lot of tea and coffee (poor us!). We made sure to use each contender in a variety of settings, from a morning espresso drink to an after-dinner cup of tea to see how each one performed in an array of diverse applications. Testers with varying sized hands and personal preferences assessed the functionality of each mug's handle and overall shape. We then weighed each model and compared their heat-conduction properties, using boiling water and a timer. Finally, we assessed the ease of cleaning for each set — both by hand and using the dishwasher, depending on the design of the vessel. Hours of research, plus hands-on testing allowed us to confidently deliver our assessment of the best, and worst, mugs on the market.


Analysis and Test Results


To assess the performance of these drinking vessels, we used the following five metrics: thermal conductivity, handle size and shape, weight, ergonomics and feel, and ease of cleaning. These categories allowed us to narrow in on the features that make or break a cup.

Thermal Conductivity


We use the same method for testing cups as we did for our bowl review in this metric. Both mugs and bowls are meant to do the same thing in terms of thermal conductivity — keep heat in while keeping the outside surface from getting too hot to touch. To standardize this test, we poured boiling water into each one and let it sit for two minutes. After two minutes passed, we checked the outside walls and the temperature of the water. This simulates hot tea or coffee in a standardized way. Surprisingly, the double-wall glass mugs, like the Epare, Sweese, and JoyJolt performed the best in this metric. Their double-wall design proved to be the best in keeping heat in without transferring to the outside of the vessel.

The double-wall glass mugs are by far the most well-insulated.
The double-wall glass mugs are by far the most well-insulated.
Credit: Jane Jackson

In terms of ceramic mugs, the top performers were the W&P Porter, which has a ceramic body with a silicone sleeve, and the LIFVER set. The Fellow Monty is fairly substantial and also claims a double-wall design, but because it is so small, heat escaped fairly quickly. The Sweese Porcelain Stackable set also lacked in terms of insulation and our hot beverages were often feeling luke-warm after a few minutes.

This tiny cup is insulated, but it's so small that heat escapes...
This tiny cup is insulated, but it's so small that heat escapes quickly anyway.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Handle Size and Shape


The design and shape of the handle dictate a lot about how a mug performs. The handle protects one's hand from touching the scalding side of the mug, and provides a convenient way to pick it up. We tested each one's performance in this metric by getting opinions from folks with lots of different sized hands. A handle that works for a small-handed person may look like a toy in the hands of giant! We assessed how many fingers each tester could fit through the handle and whether or not it protected the user's hands from the sidewalls of the mug. In general, we preferred mugs that had larger handles, since they are more versatile for a wide variety of hand sizes.

The Epare mug has a roomy handle that's comfortable for three fingers.
The Epare mug has a roomy handle that's comfortable for three fingers.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Our favorite handles are found on the Epare glass mugs. These handles are rectangular in shape and provide plenty of room for three or four fingers. The handle on the Tomotime Glass is large, but made from thin glass; its elegant feel was one of our favorites. The LIFVER mug has a rounded, more traditional handle which we also liked. On the other end of the spectrum are the smaller cappuccino mugs that have equally small handles. The JoyJolt Savor has a small handle, but it is spaced far enough from the mug that two fingers still fit through it easily. The Tomotime Ceramic has a massive wooden handle that is fairly unique and ended up being a bit of an acquired taste among our testers.

This wooden handle is unique to the Tomotime ceramic. It is...
This wooden handle is unique to the Tomotime ceramic. It is surprisingly more ergonomic than it looks.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Weight


The feel of a drinking vessel has a lot to do with the weight of it. Many people are drawn to their favorite mug simply because of how satisfying the weight of it feels when held. This metric was simple to test. We placed each individual mug on a scale and recorded its weight in ounces. The range is great, since there is a wide variety of liquid capacities among these mugs. The lightest options out there typically have a double-wall glass design. The very lightest mug we reviewed is the JoyJolt Savor, weighing in at 4.66 ounces. Close behind is the Fellow Monty, at 5.15 ounces but this little espresso cup has a much smaller capacity than the JoyJolt. The full-sized double-wall glass mugs, from Epare and Sweese both weigh in just above eight ounces.

There was a huge range in terms of weight among our selections.
There was a huge range in terms of weight among our selections.
Credit: Jane Jackson

In terms of full-sized mugs, the Tomotime Glass tea infuser set weighs in at 9.45 ounces. This is extremely light in comparison to its ceramic counterpart — the Tomotime Ceramic, with a measured weight of 16.76 ounces. Similarly, each one in the LIFVER set weighs 15.06 ounces.

The LIFVER mug weighs almost a full pound! Great for afternoon tea.
The LIFVER mug weighs almost a full pound! Great for afternoon tea.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Ergonomics and Materials


The final set of features that separate one's favorite everyday drinking vessel from the forgotten mug in the back of the cupboard are its shape and materials used in its construction. For this metric, we assessed how each one felt in our hand — its shape, size, and the materials used in its construction. After grilling our fellow testers on what they like and don't like about each option, we were able to come up with a few criteria that separate the top tier products from the bottom shelf options. First is the texture of the mug, how it feels in the hands. Our testers liked the smooth, delicate feel of the double-wall glass mugs a lot, especially the Epare, which has a slightly thicker lip than the Sweese which people preferred to drink from. The W&P Porter feels very satisfying when held with its textured silicone sleeve and smooth ceramic lip.

We love the small size and silicone sleeve of this to-go mug. It...
We love the small size and silicone sleeve of this to-go mug. It feels sleek and solid in hand.
Credit: Jane Jackson

For a classic, cozy tea mug, our testers preferred the LIFVER to the Lifecapido, because of its shape and the subtle lip that protrudes from the rim. The DOWAN was a polarizing option among our testers — some people loved the mixed materials and cork bottom and others did not.

Not everyone loved the mixed materials used in the DOWAN, but many...
Not everyone loved the mixed materials used in the DOWAN, but many found it comfortable to hold.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Ease of Cleaning


For this metric, we cleaned the mugs by hand using the dishwasher. Some are easy to give a quick rinse, while others take a bit more attention to detail to get fully clean. Again, the double-wall glass options excelled in this metric, since they were easy to clean by hand and always came out of the dishwasher gleaming. The wide mouth of the Sweese Glass and the Epare made them easy to clean with a dish brush. The ceramic mugs, like the LIFVER and the Lifecapido were also easy to clean due to their simple design.

A quick rinse returns these double-wall glass mugs to their original...
A quick rinse returns these double-wall glass mugs to their original glory.
Credit: Jane Jackson

As the design gets more complex, the ease of cleaning score goes down. This became evident when we washed the W&P Porter and the DOWAN mugs, which both come with lids. We found it challenging to get into all the nooks and crannies found on the lids of these to-go mugs. We also ran into a major issue with the DOWAN after a trip through the dishwasher. The cork bottom of this mug completely detached after we put it in the dishwasher.

The glass mugs shown here are easy to clean and aesthetically...
The glass mugs shown here are easy to clean and aesthetically pleasing. They add class to any kitchen.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


Though much of this review comes down to the personal preferences of our testers, we feel that we were able to gain a good understanding of the pros and cons of each mug based on a compilation of each person's impressions. The objective tests we performed, that of thermal conductivity and weight, were able to give us hard numbers to compare, while the more subjective tests allowed us to assess the feel and ergonomics that are more challenging to put numbers to. In the end, we hope this review gives you some clarity on what to look for on your search for an updated drinking vessel.

Jane Jackson