What is the difference between a coffee cup and a mug?

What is the difference between a coffee cup and a mug featured

Coffee Cup vs Mug: What’s the Difference?

Are you someone who is particular about drinking coffee or tea in a certain kind of container? Do you tend to reach out for a coffee cup or a mug when you’re having your morning brew? While to some people, a coffee cup and a mug may seem like interchangeable terms, there are actually notable differences between the two. Here’s what sets them apart:

Size and Shape

The most prominent difference between a coffee cup and a mug is their size and shape. Coffee cups are usually tall and slender, with a capacity of 6 to 8 ounces. On the other hand, mugs are generally shorter and wider with a capacity of 8 to 12 ounces. The shape of a mug allows for more liquid to be held, making it better suited for tea, hot cocoa or drinks that you want to sip slowly over a longer period of time.

Handle Design

The handle of a coffee cup is usually small and delicate, making it easier to hold the cup with your fingers. On the other hand, a mug generally has a large handle that’s easy to grip with your whole hand, making it more comfortable to hold, and a great option for those who like to sip and hold their hot beverages for prolonged periods of time.


Coffee cups are traditionally used for serving hot beverages like espresso or cappuccino, that are consumed quickly in small quantities. Because of the smaller size, they are also commonly used for coffee tastings. Mugs, on the other hand, are used for hot and cold beverages alike. They are great for tea, lattes, hot chocolate, and can even hold soup, chili or other small meals.

Material and Insulation

Another difference between a coffee cup and a mug is the material and level of insulation. Coffee cups typically have a thinner layer of insulation, as they are intended for quick sipping. They are often made of porcelain or glass, which doesn’t retain heat for too long. Mugs, on the other hand, are made out of thicker materials like earthenware or stoneware that can keep your drink hot for longer periods of time.

Cleaning and Maintenance

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, coffee cups are generally easier to wash than mugs, due to their smaller size and slimmer shape. Mugs often have intricate designs and textures which need to be cleaned carefully. Additionally, mugs with handles can be cumbersome to clean around the handle on the inside of the mug. However, coffee cups are more fragile and prone to breakage than the durable mugs.

While coffee cups and mugs may seem quite similar at first glance, the differences between the two are quite noticeable. Whether you prefer a coffee cup or a mug is ultimately a matter of personal taste and utility. While coffee cups are perfect for quick sips of coffee, mugs are a better option for those who want to enjoy their hot beverages at a relaxed pace, without the need for constant refills.

Jump to section