Do You Really Need Fancy Espresso Cups?

jeff-koons-illy-cappuccino-cups-2001

jeff-koons-illy-cappuccino-cups-2001

The short answer is “Absolutely” without necessarily the word “fancy”! After investing so much money on an espresso maker, a coffee grinder, time and effort, you’d probably want to maximize the pleasure from enjoying a perfectly brewed espresso.

Espresso cups not only serve an aesthetic purpose for the eyes but also a functional one for the taste. The number one mission of a good espresso cup is to retain the temperature of the brew as well as not to impart any undesirable smell or taste.

Espresso cups come in all sizes, shapes, colors, different materials as such porcelain and borosilicate glass, construction such as single or double-walled at varying price points.

What Size?

The first question is what size is the best for you. A single shot of espresso is 1 US fluid ounce, 2 for double and 3 for triple. If you are a double-shot drinker, look for those with corresponding sizes. Add some “head space” to your regular drink size.

If cappuccino or latte is your preferred drink, then a larger size from 6 fluid ounces up might be more suitable.

Rainbow of Colors

Do you like to match the color of the espresso cups to the color of your kitchen or other serveware? Is there any particular color that would awake your senses more? Or do you prefer to see the layers of your drinks in a colorless cup?

Shape Matters

Shape does matter a great deal. Although there are no hard and fast rules, good-designed espresso cups seem to have a gently tapered shape with a wider opening for showing off crema and narrower bottom with concentrated espresso flavor.

Material and Construction

The material and construction play a very important part in heat retention as well as for durability and care. While preheating the cup is a pre-requisite for any espresso aficionado, the design of the cup carries on the job in keeping the optimal heat until the espresso is consumed. A lot of high-end espresso cups are made of porcelain but pay attention to different grades of porcelain and how the cup is manufactured. For example, is the porcelain fired under extreme high temperature such as 1200F +? How thick is the porcelain? The thicker, the better for the hand feel, heat retention and more durable.

Another material used in espresso cups is borosilicate glass. This is a type of glass that’s resistant to thermal expansion and shock which helps retain the brew temperature and less likely to crack or shatter. It’s also colorless.

bodum-pavina-double-wall-thermal-glasses

bodum-pavina-double-wall-thermal-glasses

The Bodum Pavina espresso cups are made of borosilicate glass and also sport double-wall construction that keep drinks insulated from hot or cold temperature. A variety of sizes are available in 2.5, 8.5, 12 or 15 ounce to serve your needs for straight espresso, latte or cappuccino.

Dishwasher Safe or Not?

Don’t forget to think about the care and cleaning. Are they dishwasher and microwave safe or do you need to hand wash them?

How Much?

Price ranges from under $25 to $100’s. The higher end is typically for limited edition or collection that most people don’t use them everyday. You should be able to get a quality espresso cup between $5 to $10 per piece.

Espresso cups are typically sold in a set of 2, 4, 6 and more. Some also come with matching saucers.

OK. There you have it – a crash course in buying espresso cups.

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