Why The Type Of Coffee Cup You Drink From Matters

What is it about room temperature coffee that makes it so unappealing? According to Homegrounds, it has to do with the fact that as your coffee cools down, it loses its freshness as it oxidizes, becoming more bitter with each passing second. The flavor changes because the pH balance is thrown completely out of whack. But alas, what is to be done? All coffee is going to cool down eventually. 

Turns out there is something you can do to ensure that your coffee remains at the proper temperature and retains its fresh brewed characteristics: choose the correct cup. Taste of Home lists using the wrong cup as one of 12 common coffee brewing mistakes because even though your grandmother's tiny cup and saucer set is super cute, it's too thin to keep the heat in. You need a sturdy, thick-walled mug to keep your coffee hot. Beyond this somewhat obvious fact, scientific research has been conducted on the correlation between how your coffee tastes and the vessel you choose to drink it from.

The science of coffee cup choice

Much of the allure of coffee has to do with its aroma, and believe it or not, the size of your coffee cup affects the aroma. "Headspace, the volume between the liquid and the top of the glass, is a huge factor in creating room for the aroma to aerate," Mark Vecchiarelli of coffee accessory company KURVE, told Perfect Daily Grind. A wider cup not only provides more headspace but allows you to tilt the coffee cup more, which helps further intensify the aroma. However, narrow cups don't always lead to a less flavorful coffee experience, just make sure to not overfill them to get the best experience.

A 2018 study in the Journal of Food Quality and Preference confirmed that the type of coffee cup you use affects the flavor. In the study, a group of coffee experts and amateurs found that coffee served in a "tulip mug" (sloped sides) had a more intense aroma than the coffee served in a "split cup" (classic diner mug). On the other hand, the coffee served in the split cup was rated as sweeter and more acidic and was preferred by coffee experts, but not amateurs.  

While you don't necessarily need to be thinking about all of this while you enjoy your morning brew, you can at least be comforted in the knowledge that there are scientists and coffee lovers out there working to make sure you have access to the best coffee-drinking vessel available.