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Updated for 2022
Have you ever wondered how different types of drinkware retain heat?
If you find yourself wondering this from time to time, you’re in luck. We did a heat retention test for some of the most commonly-used cups and mugs to see which is the best at keeping drinks warmer, for longer. If you’re an avid coffee drinker and want your cups and mugs to stay at an optimal temperature, a simple change of container can make a world of difference. Continue reading for more information.
First we tested a standard ceramic mug, which is probably one of the most common picks for at-home baristas. Next we looked at a single-walled glass mug, followed by a Bodum Bistro double-walled glass mug, adouble-walled vacuum-insulated stainless steel Camelbak Camp Mug with and without a lid, and a standard paper to-go cup with a lid. All of the cups were left out on the counter overnight and were not preheated. We poured 6 ounces of freshly brewed coffee into each one and recorded how the temperature changed over 2 hours.
For our test, we brewed Maromas Orphea Whole Bean Espresso from the Capresso CoffeeTEAM TS. This coffee maker takes whole beans from its attached hopper and grinds them fresh for each pot by using a built-in solid steel conical burr grinder and a stainless steel thermal carafe. This process can be done manually by selecting between 2 and 10 cups, or automatically by scheduling a brew time. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re used to using store-bought pre-ground coffee or K-Cup Pods, you’ll notice a huge quality difference by switching to whole beans.
At the start of the test, all of the samples started out at 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
At the 30-minute mark, the ceramic mug and single walled glasses essentially mirrored each other with a very quick and steep dropoff. The double-walled glass and to-go cup were also nearly identical to each other, but cooled off at a slightly slower rate. Second-best was the Camelbak without the lid, behind only the Camelbak with the lid, which after 30 minutes was 44 degrees hotter than the ceramic mug and glass. These trends remained the same at the 1-hour mark.
By the 2-hour point, the bottom four samples — the ceramic mug, single-walled glass, double-walled glass, and to-go cup — had stabilized at roughly 80 degrees, while the Camelbak without a lid was at 92 degrees and the lidded Camelbak remained the front-runner at 124 degrees. For reference, the ceramic mug and single-walled glass had dropped to 124 degrees after just 12 minutes. It’s also the same temperature of the open Camelbak after 36 minutes, which shows how much of an effect having a lid has when retaining heat.
Regardless of the material, we recommend preheating your cup or mug to keep your coffee hotter for longer. Some espresso machines have a built-in cup warming tray, which makes pre-heating a no-brainer. If your machine doesn’t have a cup warming tray, just rinse your desired cup or mug with hot water before brewing.
If you drink coffee every day of your life and tend to enjoy multiple cups throughout the day, something as simple as changing to a different cup or mug made of a different material can keep your coffee at a drinkable temperature for hours longer. Plus, if you’re already spending time and money on a top-of-the-line coffee or espresso machine and gourmet beans, why not invest in drinkware of the same quality to maximize your coffee drinking experience?