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Cups

If you’re looking to savour the unique features of a certain coffee drink to the fullest, you’ll find that simply grinding some high-quality coffee beans doesn’t cut it. What you also need is the right kind of cup to sip the beverage from. The shape of your chosen cup, its size, how thick its walls are—all of these affect the flavour of your drink. While the differences in taste may not be drastic, cups designed for a certain beverage are crafted in a way that lets each feature of that particular drink be unveiled. Tradition does enter into equation here too, of course: coffee culture all around the world is very finicky, and cup design is definitely part of it. Not to mention the simple fact that a beautiful cup is guaranteed to make your coffee break that much more pleasant! Coffee Friend’s assortment includes a variety of cups from some of the world’s best-known manufacturers, suited for numerous different types of beverages. 

Espresso Cups

To reveal the finest features of your coffee, espresso cups must meet certain requirements. This is due to how idiosyncratic, demanding the espresso recipe is: to produce an intense beverage of a small volume (25–30 ml), beans must be ground finely enough, pressure of  8–9 bars must be used when brewing, and this pressure must push water through ground coffee that’s been tamped in the exact right way. To serve this exquisite drink, cups of a small diameter and capacity are used (regular espresso cups tend to hold around 60–90 ml of liquid). They’re shaped like eggs or tulips and feature a sloping edge. To make these cups more convenient to drink from, they feature a thicker, rounded edge. 

Because of how small the traditional serving of espresso is, it’s generally presented in tiny porcelain cups with particularly thick walls: this slows down the process of heat loss and makes the aroma of the drink more concentrated. One of the unique characteristics of espresso is its crema: an extremely fragrant foam of a yellowish brown colour formed by the air bubbles mixing with the various soluble substances found in coffee. As pressure changes, carbon dioxide turns less soluble and gets trapped in coffee in the shape of gas, creating the layer of crema in the process. To prevent this crema from thinning out or disappearing altogether, the right cup size is needed. To keep coffee from splashing about in the cup and dispersing the foamy layer, the walls of an espresso cup must have a slight sloping edge. 

Classic espresso cups feature a white interior to accentuate the luxurious, caramelly shade of crema. It’s interesting to note that cups of this kind are designed to hold a single serving. When pouring coffee into the cup, avoid filling it up completely: if you do so and then stir the drink, you might lose some of its precious aromatic compounds. If you prefer a double serving, choose a special double espresso cup—these are larger and hold around 100–120 ml.

If you’re about to brew a serving (or two) of espresso, pay special attention to the coffee beans you’re using. Sure, they’re always important, that’s a fact—but it’s particularly true when it comes to espresso. This is because espresso is sipped on its own, with no milk or any other additives. Keep in mind then: the finer the coffee beans you end up choosing, the more authentic, profound the resulting espresso. 

Coffee Cups

Unlike cups for espresso, which are subject to strict requirements, coffee cups give you the freedom of choice. Classic black coffee, long black, americano, filter coffee and other black coffee drinks can be served in cups of various shapes and sizes, crafted from numerous different materials. You’re most likely to encounter ceramic, porcelain, glass, clay or stainless-steel cups though. These materials aren’t particularly porous, so they won’t affect the flavour of your coffee.

Classic black coffee is traditionally served in a large (around 200–300 ml), straight cup with a handle. Americano and long black, on the other hand, are suited well for larger espresso cups. As specialty coffee and filter brewing methods keep growing more and more popular, new ways of serving truly exceptional coffee drinks continue to pop up. Filter coffee is nowadays often served in cups or glasses with no handles. Small ceramic or clay bowls are also a popular choice, as are heat-resistant coffee glasses.

Cupping bowls deserve a separate mention. They’re designed specifically for the so-called cupping ritual—a special coffee tasting technique. To do it properly, water temperature must be closely observed: cuppers can only start tasting and evaluating the coffee once the drink has cooled down enough. To eliminate the need for a thermometer, use a colour-changing cupping bowl. 

Cappuccino Cups

Cappuccino is an espresso-based beverage consisting of a single serving of espresso, milk and a thick layer of milk foam. Cappuccino cups generally hold around 170–250 ml of coffee and are wider at the top. The bottom part is narrower and thicker to prevent unwanted bubbles from forming, while the thinner upper section helps accentuate the delicate layer of crema. Cups of this kind are usually made of porcelain, glass, ceramic or even stone.

Latte Cups

Café latte is yet another trendy espresso-based drink. It’s made up of a single or double serving of espresso, some heated milk and a thin layer of milk foam. Latte cups usually hold around 250–300 ml of liquid. There are a couple of different variations available: the shape of classic latte cups may very well remind you of cups for cappuccino, while the tall, narrow glasses are better suited for latte’s layered cousin, the milky latte macchiato. The classic kind is usually crafted from porcelain or ceramic, while latte macchiato is generally served in thick double-walled glasses. The see-through glass lets you admire the exquisite layers, while the double wall keeps the glass from heating up and makes the cup comfortable to grip.

Flat White Cups

Flat white is an espresso-based drink topped with some fine microfoam. It’s pretty similar to café latte, yet smaller in volume, less milky and characterised by a larger proportion of coffee. This beverage generally contains a double serving of espresso or, if you’re a fan of intense flavours, a double serving of ristretto. Flat white cups are usually crafted from ceramic and hold around 150–200 ml of coffee. 

Tea Cups

In addition to numerous cups suited for a variety of coffee drinks, Coffee Friend’s assortment also boasts a wide selection of tea cups. It’s important to note though that tea cups are rarely referred to as such: more often than not, they’re quite universal and are suited well for various kinds of drinks. Looking through the cups on offer, you’re bound to find ones that are perfect for tea too: when choosing the one for you, base your decision on your preferred portion size, convenience and design.

There are a few guidelines for you to follow when searching for the perfect tea cup though. Whatever you do, avoid porous materials: this is because aromas tend to get trapped inside the pores. Ceramic cups are always a great choice. Not only are these cups relatively non-porous, but they’re also great at retaining heat! Porcelain cups work great too: tannins—molecules found in tea—can’t stick to the sides of this kind of cup, so your tea retains its body. Glass cups, on the other hand, are excellent at keeping your tea hot for longer, while stainless-steel cups are particularly durable.

Coffee isn’t the only drink with centuries-old traditions. There’s an entire tea culture out there too! Although it may seem like everything rests on convenience nowadays, some ingrained habits have actually originated from long-established customs. Let’s take the handle of a tea cup, for example: its presence or absence traditionally depends on the type of tea you’re drinking. Cups with handles are generally suited for black tea: this tea variety requires higher temperature, so a convenient handle to hold on to becomes particularly important. In contrast, traditional Chinese green tea is sipped from ceramic or stone cups with no handles.

Cups with Saucers

Cups with saucers are the ideal choice for sworn aesthetes. In fact, all classic coffee cups are supposed to come with saucers, regardless of whether the cup is used to serve espresso, black coffee, cappuccino, latte or flat white. A saucer instantly makes the beverage look more attractive and adds convenience. If you like to sweeten your drinks up a bit, you can use a saucer to serve a cube of sugar or a spoon for stirring. 

Cups with Lids

If you tend to enjoy your drinks on the go, a cup with a lid will serve you well. Cups like these are usually designed to fit inside special car cup holders. Who doesn’t like brewing a cup of coffee or tea for themselves in the morning and then sipping their favourite drink safely while on their way to work? If you find that your coffee is often cold by the time you get around to actually drinking it, you might benefit from a thermo mug. It’ll keep your drink hot for as long as several hours.

World’s Finest, Best-Known Cup Manufacturers

Fellow

Based in San Francisco, Fellow creates beautiful brewing dishes and serving tools. Products like the Stagg EKG electric kettle, the Ode coffee grinder and the Atmos vacuum container have already made their name in the coffee world. Fellow cups feature double ceramic walls, so there’s no need for a handle: the cup doesn’t heat up on the outside, and the drink inside it remains hot for much longer. There are numerous Fellow travel thermo mugs available too. All Fellow thermo mugs boast a wide opening, a narrow wall and a ceramic coating for the optimal flavour. 

Kahla

Kahla is a world-famous German porcelain manufacturer and a recipient of numerous international design awards. The company crafts various kitchen utensils from porcelain of the highest quality and is known for its bright colours and emphasis on functionality.  Travel mugs produced by Kahla are particularly well-known. Thanks to the Magic Grip technology, these mugs are especially convenient to hold: this is due to the grooves covering their surface. 

KeepCup

KeepCup was born from a desire to decrease the amount of single-use plastic cups thrown out every day. The company now offers the first reusable cups in the world to meet the highest barista standards. Stylish and convenient, these cups are made from plastic, glass and stainless steel, so they’re bound to satisfy your requirements. 

Stelton

Stelton is a Danish design company involved in the manufacture of kitchen utensils and various other household articles. With their characteristic Scandinavian minimalism, these creations are as beautiful as they are functional. Frequent cooperation with some of the world’s best-known designers and architects brought the company to everybody’s attention and earned it a number of prestigious design awards. What Stelton cups offer is the ideal combination of style and quality. 

Loveramics

Coffee Friend’s assortment also boasts cups produced by Loveramics, a coffee cup company known and loved by millions of people all over the world. Loveramics specialises in the manufacture of exquisite handmade ceramic goods, coffee cups and tableware. The company opened its first shop in 2011, in Hong Kong. Ever since then, this brand has been viewed as the gold standard of the coffee world, combining ancient traditions with contemporary design solutions. Loveramics cups are moulded from porcelain of the highest quality: it’s heated until it reaches a temperature 1300 °C, making the material remarkably sturdy and shatterproof. Thick walls guarantee thermal stability, while their sloping surface prevents unwanted bubbles from forming. It’s no surprise then that the World Latte Art Championship has chosen Loveramics to manufacture the event’s official cups.

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