Last Updated: 22-01-2020

10 Best Espresso Cups 2020

An espresso cup, or a demitasse if you like to use the technical terminology when it comes to your coffee, is a mug for smaller servings of coffee.

Demitasse is the French word for ‘half-cup’, which explains their size. Serving an espresso shot in a suitably sized cup helps improve taste, retain heat and also looks a little bit fancier. You can also buy cups for doppio espressos or double shots.

There is a fine science behind the perfect espresso cup, so we have searched the internet to find you the best around and reviewed them so you know why they’ve made the cut.

Our Top Picks

Image Product Details
Le Creuset Stoneware Rainbow Espresso Mugs
  • Capacity: 100ml
  • Material: Stoneware
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Royal Doulton Coffee Studio Espresso Cup & Saucer Set
  • Capacity: 110ml
  • Material: Porcelain
Check Price
Bodum PAVINA Double Walled Thermo Glasses
  • Capacity: 80ml
  • Material: Borosilicate glass
Check Price

The Best Espresso Cups

1.
Royal Doulton Coffee Studio Espresso Cup & Saucer Set

Specifications

  • Capacity: 110ml
  • Material: Porcelain

A very famous name when it comes to china and kitchenware. These Royal Doulton cups don’t come with the price tag you would expect, however.

They are made from porcelain and given a satin dipped glaze to finish off the look and smoothness. Each mug is a slightly different hue of a neutral tone, so you have a set which perfectly matches each other yet offers something different.

They’re all dishwasher and microwave safe for an easy life and also come with matching saucers for when you are feeling extra fancy. There is an entire coffee studio set by Royal Doulton too, in case you want other matching products.

Very sturdy and a design that won’t go out of date, these are demitasse which will be with you for years to come. A nice large-enough handle finishes them off.

Reasons to Buy

  • Feels strong
  • Matches without all being the same

Reasons to Avoid

  • Nothing – they deserve the top place

2.
Le Creuset Stoneware Espresso Mug

Specifications

  • Capacity: 100ml
  • Material: Stoneware

An incredibly popular brand when it comes to kitchenware which you can trust. These mugs are not only available to buy as single products which is great if you want a particular number, but they are also available in a huge range of colours in case you are picky, making them the best for colour choice.

It features the iconic Le Creuset branding, which is fabulous if you’ll be casually leaving them out on the kitchen counter for all your guests to see. The chip-resistant enamel will also ensure they remain intact and looking their best, even with hundreds of uses.

Strong stoneware is able to withstand temperatures up to 260°C, which they’ll likely never have to cope with but is good to know for when you’re preheating them. A ten-year guarantee will give you further peace of mind.

You get a ‘care and use’ booklet, and they are a good size for fitting under the majority of machines. They’re also easy to handwash and are microwave, oven and freezer safe (although they’re not much good in there but good to know anyway).

Reasons to Buy

  • Colour options
  • 10-year guarantee

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pricey if you will be buying a few

3.
Portmeirion Home & Gifts Sophie Conran Espresso Cup and Saucer

Specifications

  • Capacity: 80ml
  • Material: Porcelain

A 0.08L capacity, which many coffee aficionados say is just perfect. A saucer which is slightly curved to keep spills contained and biscuits safe. A nice large handle which anyone should be able to grip safely. These cups are rather wonderful.

They’re made from porcelain, so if you’re after something very fine and genteel then you have come to the right place. A neutral design, they will look timeless in any kitchen for years to come, and they’re surprisingly pretty solid.

Their fineness doesn’t make them hard to look after, though. They’re still dishwasher and microwave safe, and oven safe too (you never know, we suppose). They come presented in a nice little gift box, so can be kept for best or given to the coffee lover in your life.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lovely modern yet classic design
  • Good handle and saucers

Reasons to Avoid

  • Only good for single shots

4.
Le Creuset Stoneware Rainbow Espresso Mugs

Specifications

  • Capacity: 100ml
  • Material: Stoneware

The single Le Creuset cups are widely available and come with a colour choice, but they are pricey if you want to buy a few.

So this set of six, all colours of the rainbow, is not only great value but will offer a pop of colour to your kitchen. They are presented in a gift box, which could make them the perfect present or will just ensure that they’re kept safe in between uses.

Durable chip-resistant enamel should keep them looking at their best for years to come, and they come with a 10-year guarantee as well as a little booklet telling you how best to care for them and use them.

Le Creuset has a huge range of products on offer, from their famous casserole dishes to egg cups, carafes and tea plates so you can always have matching items.

Reasons to Buy

  • Bright colours
  • Good value for six

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not white on the inside – some coffee fans believe they should be

5.
Bodum PAVINA Double Walled Thermo Glasses

Specifications

  • Capacity: 80ml
  • Material: Borosilicate glass

Six espresso cups is a nice number to always have one spare, or ensure you can entertain properly. These are a bestseller in the Drinkware Set category, and it is easy to see why.

Made from mouth-blown glass, they are surprisingly perfect in every way. This can be hard to get just right and there can sometimes be little discrepancies such as marks or uneven inner glass, but there is no such thing here.

They are 80ml, which is said to be the perfect maximum size of an espresso a will suit machines which are generous in their portions well. Double-walled for insulation, they’ll keep the caffeine warm while protecting your fingers when picking it up.

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect look
  • Plastic valve at base allows for changes in pressure

Reasons to Avoid

  • Plastic valve needs some monitoring so it doesn’t let in water when washing

6.
De’Longhi Espresso Thermo Glasses

Specifications

  • Capacity: 60ml
  • Material: Borosilicate glass

A selection of two glass demitasses, transparent so you can see the lovely colours and finish of your espresso and made from borosilicate glass so you won’t burn your hands when you lift them.

They are double-wall thermal glasses, so will retain the heat as they won’t let any escape out of the walls of the glass. Dishwasher safe, they make for an easy clean up after entertaining so you can put your feet up.

The shape tapers towards the base, which encourages the production of crema at the top. This can make them hard to pair with a saucer, but they are good for more informal use.

They’re able to hold 60ml, which is good for a single shot but you may need something larger for a doppio or if you’re a firm believer that espresso should be closer to the 80ml mark. Some users have said that their machine often causes the glass to overflow when left automatically, so check how much yours disperses first.

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect for a single shot

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be a bit too small for some coffee machine programmes

7.
Copenhagen Design PANTONE Espresso Cup

Specifications

  • Capacity: 60ml
  • Material: Borosilicate glass

Another choice perfect for pops of colour. These feature the official Pantone logo and the colour code of the featured hue, so you can match your decor or simply pick your favourite.

Hand made from ceramic, it is strong and dishwasher safe, as well as being easy to wash by hand. At 120ml, they would hold enough for two espresso shots if you really need a morning pick-me-up.

The demitasse is part of the larger Pantone Living Collection, offering a host of products from other cup sizes and coffee accessories to pen holders and keyrings. Want everyone in the office to know your favourite colour is the light green shade better known as Pantone 578? They will soon enough.

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect for a single shot

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be a bit too small for some coffee machine programmes

8.
Nespresso 2 Touch Espresso Cups

Specifications

  • Capacity: 80ml
  • Material: Porcelain

A black espresso cup will no doubt match your coffee machine better than any other colour. If you have a Nespresso pod or espresso machine (the most popular range in the UK), then this set of demitasse are double winners.

Made from porcelain, they are great for keeping in the heat and also for prewarming so your shot is served perfectly. But if you have a history of hot fingers from your cups and mugs, you will be pleased to hear that there is a silicone band around them for protection too.

This band displays the Nespresso logo so don’t panic – everyone will know you go for the top brands. They were created by Berlin design studio Geckeler Michels, and they indeed wouldn’t look out of place in a trendy, hip coffee shop in Europe or the capital.

They hold 80ml, so are good for comfortably holding a shot, although won’t stretch to the lungos which many Nespresso machines offer as standard. They’re described as dishwasher safe, but with the black finish and silicone, we don’t know how long they’d last with this so would recommend hand washing.

Reasons to Buy

  • Silicone wrap for safe holding, Smaller base to encourage crema

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be too large in dimension for some machines

9.
Sweese Porcelain Stackable Espresso Cups

Specifications

  • Capacity: 80ml
  • Material: Porcelain

Need a set of espresso cups but are running low on cupboard and bench space? Maybe you have splashed out on a large, imposing espresso or coffee machine and now need something which is a bit more subdued to drink out of.

These stackable cups are a great space saver. You still get a set of six saucers with them though, so just because you are scrimping on space doesn’t mean your scrimping on the experience.

The bright white colour will suit those who believe it is the only way to serve espresso to view the crema, but you can also buy ‘cold’ or ‘hot’ variations which add a bit more colour.

Professional grade porcelain is microwave safe, dishwasher safe and chip-resistant. To finish it off, they’re a great price for what you get and stamped with the Sweese logo on the base to you know they’re legitimate.

Reasons to Buy

  • Space savers
  • Saucers included

Reasons to Avoid

  • Stack could be a bit wobbly

10.
Ravenhead Entertain Espresso Cup and Saucer

Ravenhead Entertain Espresso Cup and Saucer

Specifications

  • Capacity: 80ml
  • Material: Glass

Glass espresso demitasses don’t often come with saucers, so if you want glass and a saucer, this set of two will please you.

Made from durable glass, and with a chunky handle which is easy to hold (again, unlike a lot of other glass cups), they fit an espresso shot just perfectly. They look nice and modern, and they’re surprisingly strong.

We say that glass should always be double layered for thermos properties and to protect your fingers, but these ones aren’t. This is because of the handle, but you still have to be careful not to touch your knuckles on the glass.

For some, this could make them hard to hold comfortably. You also have to be careful not to chip anything. Having said this, they look lovely so will be good if this is your main priority.

Reasons to Buy

  • With saucer
  • Chunky handle

Reasons to Avoid

  • May be hard to hold comfortably

Espresso Cup Buying Guide

Number Of Cups

Espresso cups are available in a number of set sizes, from one lone demitasse to a set of six or more. The most common variations are two and six, which is a good balance between not having too many or just having enough.

Saucers

Some espresso cups come with saucers. These can be good if you will be serving espresso to guests, or will want somewhere to rest the cup as you sip it slowly.

In cafes and coffee shops, the saucer will usually hold a spoon for stirring and a biscuit or sugar cube.

Material

The two most common materials for espresso cups are glass and ceramic/porcelain.

The latter is often the best, as it retains heat better, spreads the heat throughout the cup and is also easier to pre-warm so your coffee is being poured into the right temperature for better taste and longevity. Anything else can also cause the espresso to go flat quicker.

But there is no doubt that glass is eye-catching, allowing you to show off your espresso skills, hence what makes it so popular. It is also easier to match existing decor and coffee machines. Glass is good as long as it is double-walled, which will hold the heat a lot better and also protect your fingers when you lift to drink it. It will also save the glass from being cracked.

Steel mugs are also available, but they are the worst for insulation and can impart a metallic taste upon the coffee. On a positive note, they can be hardy and unbreakable but are generally not a popular choice.

Avoid paper, plastic and styrofoam cups, because not only are they disposable or not great for the environment, but their heat retention is poor and they can get too warm to hold. Cheap metal cups should also be avoided because they may be hard to clean and could rust or tarnish with the liquid and heat.

Shape

You want something which hugs the espresso, which doesn’t just encourage the production of crema but also keeps the drink warmer for longer.

Cups which taper at the bottom allow the crema to float to the top where there is more space. But rounded base cups give you an easy time when trying to get every last valuable swig out of the cup.

There are shapes out there which are a bit different, such as square, but these are not recommended because they add nothing to the espresso experience and if anything can damage the taste.

Rim

We will forgive you for not thinking about how thick your espresso cup is, but it can be important.

Thicker cups not only retain heat better but espresso experts say that a thicker, rounded rim allows their lips to sit more comfortably on the cup, which makes it easier to drink.

Colour

Down to personal preference mostly. You may want something which matches a current cutlery or dinner set, something which matches your decor or indeed simply looks good sat under your coffee machine.

But many coffee experts will say that the inside of your demitasse must be white. This boosts the look of the espresso, as you can really view the caramel crema when looking into the cup. White cups and mugs can also show the strength of the coffee better. 

Handle

Some espresso cups have one, and others don’t. Given the size of the demitasse, the design of the handle can be hard.

Those which do have one can encourage the user to pick them up this way, but the shape and ease can be important. Anything too small to fit a finger through and it is fiddly. Anything too round and it can be hard to hold. If it is too thin, it can break easily or just feel flimsy, or easily be dropped.

This is why some just leave it off, but this means you have to ensure the material doesn’t get too hot to hold. Again, it can be down to personal choice. We will say that the larger the demitasse is, the more likely that a handle is needed.

Dimensions

Using an electric espresso coffee machine? Check that your chosen cup will fit into the space and on the platform to safely pour the drink into.

Just because two espresso cups are the same capacity doesn’t mean they’re the same height or width. As you will read below, a cup shouldn’t be too large in circumference…

FAQs

How Large Is An Espresso Cup?

An espresso should technically be around 1oz, which is just over 30ml. A double will be around 60ml or 2oz. You should ideally leave a bit of space at the top of the cup for easier drinking, so the cup should be able to hold more than you’re drinking.

An espresso cup can vary in capacity, but the ideal size is somewhere between 2oz and 3oz (90ml). The most popular sizes are 80ml and 100ml. Of course, if you drink a doppio espresso (double shot), opt for a cup which is 3.5-4oz large (103ml to 120ml).

Some machines can vary with the volume of coffee they put out. If you have a dedicated espresso machine it will probably be pretty bang-on, but multi-coffee machines can give you more. Check before you buy.

Why Are Espresso Cups So Small?

Simply because espresso is a small serve. Technically, there is nothing to stop you having an espresso in an ordinary mug. However, a smaller cup helps with the overall taste and serving.

An espresso should have a layer of crema on the top, too. If an espresso mug is too large, this crema will spread out more which in turn means it will disappear faster.

Larger cups also have more surface area which means the espresso will get colder quicker.

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