A great cup of joe comes from two things: an informed and experienced brewer, and good equipment. But while we can purchase the best espresso machines, grinders, and coffee beans for that cappuccino we’re craving, often it’s the little details that get overlooked.
Such is the life and experience of the coffee cup.
Believe it or not, the cup is a crucial element to a perfect cuppa. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong cup – this roundup will help ensure you’re using the best cappuccino cups you can!
TOP PICK: notNeutral LINO Cappuccino Cup
A traditional look with an immaculate design. notNeutral collaborated with award-winning baristas to create the perfect cups for specialty coffee.
The interior curvature of each cup is optimized for thermal insulation, and the handle ensures comfort and control.
Available in a variety of sizes and colors (white, matte black, and light gray).
Function vs Form: Things to Consider When Buying Cappuccino Cups
When it comes to coffee cups, there are two major factors at play: function and form.
If you want to be authentic, the Certified Italian Espresso and Cappuccino guide defines the official cappuccino cup as “white” in color.
But really, you should feel free to pursue any color you want!
The truth is, the standards set by the Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano (INEI) are much more important when it comes to function than form. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but a well-made cup needs to meet a few qualifiers.
Cappuccino Cup Size, Shape, and Heat Retention
The functional elements you should consider in your cappuccino cup include: the size of the cup, its shape, and how well it can retain heat.
The correct size for a “proper” cappuccino is set in the guide at approximately 160 millilitres, or 5.4 oz. Now, this doesn’t mean that if your cappuccino is 5 or even 6 oz it’s going to be ruined (just make sure you keep that espresso/milk ratio on point!).
Here’s a video that breaks down the average size of several different espresso drinks:
Note: While the size of your cappuccino can vary, you typically want to stay under 8 oz in order to keep things from getting too milky. Otherwise, you might as well be making a latte.
Getting the right cup size also allows you to top off the drink in the most classic, aesthetically pleasing way – with the cup full to the brim and slightly domed on the top.
The shape of the cup is also important. It should have an elliptical bottom that has thicker walls, and a wider top that has thinner walls. The thick, narrower bottom allows for the milk and espresso to properly incorporate while the wider, thinner top allows the crema to be displayed.
Finally, we have the heat factor. A simple glass cup, for example, may look cute and all, but it’s just not going to keep that heat in. A double-walled glass cup, on the other hand, can be the perfect solution.
Some of the typical materials used for cappuccino cups include feldspathic china (the official material as stated in the INEI guide), porcelain, double-walled glass, ceramic, and even stoneware.
You can also purchase individual, paired, and larger cappuccino cup sets. Take stock of your typical cup usage and consider how many of these you’ll want to have on hand.
Do You Need a Saucer?
A saucer serves to hold things like a cookie, biscotti, or other treats. It is also helpful to hold a used spoon.
But really, the best use of a saucer is to catch those drops of coffee that spill over the side.
With a proper cappuccino being prepared to the brim and with a domed top, spillage is normal, making a well-placed saucer a game changer.
Note: As an aside, while mastering a perfect cappuccino at home is an admirable feat, if you’re looking for a good cappuccino in a coffee shop, here are a few of our lists for the best coffee shops in New York, London, San Francisco, Ubud, Bali and even Chiang Mai, Thailand!
The 7 Best Cappuccino Cups For Your Coffee
Now that we’re equipped with the basics, let’s dive in and see some of the best options for a good cappuccino cup.
The cup is made of fine porcelain that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. It is therefore perfect for the incorporation of espresso and milk, the presentation, and heat retention. It is also designed to hold 6 oz, which is right on the upper end of that cappuccino sweet spot.
The cup comes with a saucer and is available in matte black, light gray, and the traditional white. In addition to sets of 2, you can also get a set of 6 if you plan on having larger parties of guests and need to stock a small armory of cappuccino cups.
Best suited for: Any serious cappuccino fanatic who wants one of the best designs currently on the market.
This classic option equips you with both an excellently crafted cappuccino cup and the ability to brag about a popular coffee brand with every sip.
This sleek and affordable white Lavazza cappuccino cup holds precisely 5.5 oz of liquid gold, which is within the parameters of an authentic Italian-style cappuccino. And no wonder, since it comes from one of the most well-known Italian coffee makers out there!
But while the cup is designed to deliver an excellent tasting cup of coffee, it’s the Lavazza logo, printed in a streak of blue up the side of the white cup, that really makes the boldest statement here. It brings you back to those teenage years of wearing your favorite band shirt so everyone and their mother knew what kind of a rocker you were.
Best suited for: Anyone who loves a Lavazza brew, and is looking for an affordable, functional cappuccino cup.
If you’re looking for something unique and stylish, yet still functional, a set of Le Creuset Stoneware cups can be just what the doctor ordered.
These colorful cappuccino cups bring a splash of life to a design that is traditionally plain white. We’re recommending the beautifully deep blue version, but the company has other colors available as well, such as oyster and flame red.
These cups come two in a set with saucers and hold a respectable 7 oz apiece. This allows for larger cappuccinos if desired, although it does not permit a proper domed top if you make them at the traditional 5-6 oz size.
They are not made of porcelain, but rather of high-fired stoneware that has been glazed with a glossy enamel finish. This means they’re not technically in line with the standards, but apart from being inauthentic to the Italian tradition, they should still manage to retain heat well.
These cups are also built to last. Literally, these things aren’t only durable enough to go through the dishwasher – they also come with a lifetime warranty!
The stoneware option is an enduring and fun shift from the gentler porcelain that dominates the cappuccino cup world, while the blues and reds stand out in a bold yet attractive contrast to the more temperate colors available with better cup models.
Best suited for: These cups deliver a splash of color that is perfect for the coffee drinker with a bubblier personality.
If you’re a more skilled home barista who can make a delectable cup of coffee look as good as it tastes, you may want to consider moving away from the opaque options like stoneware or porcelain, and aim for a glassy look.
However, remember that you don’t want to go for just any glass cup, as many cannot properly retain the heat. You want to make sure you get a double-walled glass cup, and there are few options out there that are as popular or renowned as the DeLonghi Double Walled Thermo Cappuccino Glasses.
These bad boys are made of solid borosilicate glass, and are designed to keep that coffee piping hot for as long as possible. They also put that beautiful mixture of espresso and milk on display through their condensation-free, double-walled glass. They are extremely affordable and hold a respectable 6 oz apiece, making them a great size for a traditional cappuccino.
Best suited for: The home barista that has mastered not just the taste, but the presentation of a good cappuccino.
While the advantages of double-walled glass is clear at this point, one thing that the excellent DeLonghi glass cups lack is a good handle.
Now, the heat is not a real factor here, since double-walled glass doesn’t tend to get too hot to the touch.
But if you want to see that coffee mixing without covering it with your hand every time you take a sip, you may want to consider an option that comes equipped with a handle.
Enter the Stone & Mill Glass Espresso Coffee Cups.
Don’t let the “espresso” part in the name fool you, though. While espresso cups are famously tiny, these are anything but. Coming in at a whopping (for cappuccino cups, at least) 8.5 oz, if anything these espresso cups are more like super-sized cappuccino mugs!
This makes them great for anyone who is more interested in quantity than official metrics (they are a bit big for anyone craving authenticity and that iconic dome).
Oh, and did we mention that they come four in a set? So score for quantity and affordability, too!
Best suited for: A glass cup enthusiast who wants to make a large cappuccino (and hold it with a handle)!
The Sweese 4306 Porcelain Cappuccino cup set was made with the avid cappuccino-drinker-on-a-budget in mind, especially if they like to host!
This extremely affordable set comes with six cups and six accompanying saucers. Each cup holds a comfortable 6 oz, allowing the home-brewer to make a slightly larger domed cappuccino.
Don’t let their price fool you regarding their qualifications, though.
These are still designed in the correct, elliptical shape, with a narrowing bottom and wide rim. They’re made of porcelain and are dishwasher, microwave, and even oven and freezer safe!
They also come in the traditional white, or in a more explosively exciting combination of various colors. If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, these are a great choice to consider.
Best suited for: The cappuccino lover who is looking for a larger set of durable, properly designed cappuccino cups at an affordable price.
Our last suggestion is for those for whom money is no object, and experience and decor are everything.
The Arte Italica Tuscan Cappuccino Cup is an exquisitely refined option that is ideal for the most avid and committed home-brewing coffee enthusiast.
This gorgeous coffee cup is handmade out of ceramic and pewter in the homeland of cappuccinos – Italy. It comes with a beautiful accompanying saucer and spoon, helping you keep that domed mess to a minimum, too.
This cup will literally make you feel like royalty. If you’re a fan of living life to the fullest (and at whatever the price), this most expensive and elaborate of all the cappuccino cups on our list is an amazing way to enjoy a cappuccino every morning.
Just promise us that if you get one, you’ll post pictures of it in the comments!
Best suited for: The elite, solo cappuccino drinker who wants a single “cup of champions” to pour a perfect domed top in… and then take a hundred pictures of for their social media accounts.
The Intricacies of Choosing a Coffee Cup
Size, capacity, shape, and heat: these are the factors that make or break a perfect cappuccino cup.
While there are many good cappuccino cups on the market these days, in our humble opinion, the best cappuccino cup is none other than the LINO from notNeutral.
This cup was born out of a passionate desire to respect the contents it holds. The design meets all of our qualifiers, making it one of the best cappuccino cups on the market!
You can find it here!