Everybody loves a good coffee mug. You can give them as gifts, receive them as gifts, and use them to fill an entire kitchen cabinet. Oh, yeah. You can also drink coffee out of them.

Nobody can tell you which mug makes the best gift or will make you smile the most when you’re using it. If you’re looking for a mug with the best cat meme or most ingenious Star Trek reference, get what makes you happy. But if you’re a coffee lover, you may also want the best mug for flavor and temperature. In that case, consider these pointers.


Mugs come in a variety of sizes, from 12 ounces up to 24-ounce jumbo mugs, or even larger novelty gifts. For reference, a small coffee at most coffee chains is about 12 ounces, while medium cups typically weigh in at 16 ounces and larges tend to be 20 ounces.

At first, the choice would seem to come down to a simple question: How much coffee do you want to drink? That’s important, but it’s also important to consider how fast you’re going to drink your coffee. If your 24-ounce mug sits on your desk for four hours, it’s going to get cold, which means going to the microwave for a warmup. In this case, it might just make sense to use a smaller mug and get refills as needed.


Taller, narrower mugs will have less liquid exposed, which means they’ll tend to stay warmer for longer. On the other hand, shorter, wider cups have a lower center of gravity and are harder to knock over.

If you’re looking at travel mugs, you’ll also want to consider the shape and size of your car’s cup holders. Nothing is more frustrating than buying a shiny new travel mug only to find that it’s too wide to fit in your cup holder.


In terms of material, you’ll want to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is it washable? Porcelain, plastic and ceramic mugs can retain flavors from previous beverages. This may or may not be an issue for you. If it is, consider getting a glass or metal mug. These won’t hold onto old flavors.
  2. Is it microwavable? Some porcelains and ceramics aren’t microwavable. You’ll want to check the packaging to be sure. Most glass and plastic mugs are just fine in the microwave. If you’re looking at travel mugs, keep in mind that metal mugs will turn into fireworks in the microwave, so consider a plastic mug if you frequently need warmups.

Travel Options

If you frequently drink coffee in the car or on the job, you may prefer a travel mug. In this case, make sure you test the lid out before you buy it to make sure it closes securely. Also make sure it’s made of metal or tough, rubberized plastic. Hard plastic looks fine but can tend to crack if you drop it.