My wife asked me a couple of days ago to find her the best cappuccino cups set on the market. Kind of a tall order, but hey, I didn't want to disappoint her.
The cappuccino set was going to be a gift for a close friend of her. I knew what I needed to find, so it looked like it was going to be a quick job. Material, size, form, I knew all of that, it just had to match my wife's taste. You'll see how a seemingly easy task turned up to be a very difficult one. I'll tell you the story, and you'll find out how I picked my cappuccino set, and in the process, you'll learn what to look for when you are shopping for cappuccino cups.
- Functionality vs Aesthetics
- Le Creuset PG8000-0559 Cappuccino Cups
- Cappuccino Cups with Saucers
- Nuova Point Cappuccino Cups with Saucers
- What Cups Did We Buy?
Functionality vs Aesthetics
Sure the cups need to be pretty, and to have a modern design, or ultimately to appeal to the owner. How about the functional aspect? Yes, this is very important, and I almost got into an argument with my wife, because of this, you'll see why in a second. From a functional perspective we need to look at a few things:
- Size and volume
- Thermal insulation
A great starting point is to take a look at these aspects. Keep reading to see why are they important, and how they affected my wife's choice.
What Size Is a Cappuccino Cup?
OK, you have to know, it got pretty heated up when I discussed this with my wife. I have to blame this on Starbucks, I guess. The “short cappuccino” sold by the renown coffee shop, is 8oz. Which is about 75% larger than what the Italian drink. Italians have an Institute for espresso and cappuccino, and according to this institute, a cappuccino cup should be around 150-160 ml capacity. This is 5 to 5.5oz in US volume measurements. The drink itself, is 125 ml, according to the Institute, which is under 4.5oz. When you add the fluffy milk foam it gets to 5.5 fluid ounces. Compare this to 8oz…
The idea of using exact size of cups is that with a correct preparation, the drink will have a nice dome shape, that is slightly sticking out of the cup. It's part of the tradition and the aesthetic charm.
To make things simpler, Starbucks quietly took the cappuccino off the menu, according to this story. No comments on that. Is it really Starbucks' fault for bucket size coffee orders? Hard to appreciate. Back to our story, I convinced my wife to go with my size choice, instead of the tall glasses she initially envisioned for the gift. At the end of the day she chose me as the consultant, so she had to trust my knowledge.
Just in case my story confused you about this, the standard cappuccino is 5 to 5.5oz in volume. Don't let Starbuck's tell you differently.
I know I am going to create a little confusion now, but things are not that strict, as long as you know what you want from your drink. There are many glass cappuccino cups on the market, many of them are larger than the standard cappuccino cup. This is still OK.
I personally love cappuccinos made with a perfectly pulled double shot of espresso, though technically that is not a cappuccino anymore. Some people need a little extra milk in their cup, but not as much to qualify for a latte. The size is not as important, as long as it stays under 8 oz, and it suits your needs.
Le Creuset PG8000-0559 Cappuccino Cups
The Le Creuset Stoneware Cappuccino Cups and Saucers are one of the top choices.
These are perfect—shaped beautifully—the Le Creuset Signature line. They're made of high-fired stoneware and finished with non-porous enamel, and this makes them durable.
Le Creuset set is dishwasher-safe, and it has a lifetime warranty. The cost of the set is slightly more expensive than other products on the market, but the reason is the quality. I think that this is one of the best cappuccino cups, and it's an investment in your daily cappuccino routine.
Lavazza Small Cappuccino Cups
Lavazza cups hold the right volume for a classic cappuccino size – 5.5 ounces.
The cups are for the cappuccino lover, made in Italy of beautiful white porcelain, they feature the Lavazza logo. The set includes 6 cups and saucers, and the design has straight lines and not the elliptical curves that the Italian Espresso Institute recommends.
The Lavazza cappuccino cups set is a perfect choice for the home barista and great for events. The modern and minimalistic design makes them easy to integrate with other kitchen utensils.
You probably know Lavazza's coffee beans, which are some of the best in the world. The company is quintessentially Italian, and there is something special about their products, even if they are minimalistic and frugal. I love their minimalistic design, which you can also recognize in their espresso cups. The only issue I have with this set is that their logo takes quite a bit of the cups surface and maybe not everybody is into big logos.
What about the Shape?
The shape is probably not as important as size and thermal insulation, but it does have its place. According to the same Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, the ideal cappuccino cup has an elliptical bottom, with thick walls and is made of china. The bottom of the cup is made of thicker material to improve heat retention. The cup is a narrow bottom – large top, with a thinner rim. The traditional color of the cup is bright white for aesthetic reasons.
The home barista doesn't necessarily have to follow strictly the guidelines here. I have to admit that only the thick bottom makes sense from a functional perspective. This helps with heat retention. That means you can peacefully sip your cap without worrying it's going to get cold. From the aesthetic perspective, home baristas don't have to follow competition standards or the Italian's Institute for Espresso guidelines. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We don't need to buy white porcelain cups. We can use double wall glass cups, which are beautiful, and functional.
Thermic insulation is very important because a tepid beverage is just not good. Now, how important is it? We need thermal insulation but is not critical as with espresso cups. The extra liquid volume helps to keep the drink hot longer. Bone china porcelain is still the best material for cappuccino cups, but it's not as important. As long as the material provides some extra insulation it should be good. Don't use simple glass cups though, as they are the worst at maintaining the drink warm. They might look cute, but they aren't that great.
DeLonghi Double Walled Cappuccino Glasses 6 fl oz
For any coffee cup or mug, my first choice is porcelain. However, there is a special elegance in a glass cup. If you have mad barista skills, and you want to show your layering techniques, a glass cup is perfect.
The cappuccino glasses made by DeLonghi hold 6fl oz and are made from glass with double walls. This design is perfect for a cappuccino drink that cools down very fast. The cups keep your drinks hot because of the insulation and prevent burning while holding your cup. They are condensation free, because of the double wall, they are made from borosilicate glass, which is resistant to thermal shock, and they are dishwasher safe.
Cappuccino Cups with Saucers
The saucers are just an aesthetic feature, at the end of the day. Sure, you can find a functionality to it, like to place the spoon, the sugar cube, or the biscotti on it. But you can also use a different saucer, or a small plate for that purpose. Another practical use is to prevent accidental spillings go on the table.
I personally love coffee sets that include saucers. They are elegant, and they just “look right”.
Nuova Point Cappuccino Cups with Saucers
Nuova Point cups are an Italian company that specializes in coffee cups. Their main market is the coffee shops, but many people buy their cups for domestic use. Nuova Point coffee cups are known for their quality, and they follow the industry standards.
These cappuccino cups are made in Italy, from high-quality porcelain and they come in different colors. My favorite is the orange, but they also have them in red, brown, blue and green. This set comes with saucers and they are tulip shaped. These are small cappuccino cups, as per the Italian tradition. They hold 5.5 oz, which is the standard for a cappuccino cup.
LE TAUCI 6 oz Cappuccino Cups with Saucers
Le Tauci is new player on the market and their cappuccino cups are decently priced, and of a good quality. The cups are made with thick walls, surprising for this price range, which will help with heat retention, so you don't have to drink your cappuccino cold.
The cups can hold 6 fluid ounces, just as a classic cappuccino cup should, and the saucers have enough space to hold a biscotti and a teaspoon. It's probably one of the best value sets on Amazon.
GoodGlassware Double Wall Cappuccino Cups
I love the De'Longhi cups, but in my wife's eyes, they had two flaws. They don't have handles, and they come without saucers. I had to agree on this, and subsequently I had to search for some variants. I looked at the Luigi Bormioli cups, another famous glass manufacturer. However, I couldn't find cappuccino cups from Bormioli online. Such a shame.
I found instead these GoodGlassware cups with a 5.4oz capacity, with double walls for insulation. They are dishwasher safe, and they look really great. We bought a set for us because they are pretty cheap and we can use them for serving other espresso drinks in them.
What Cups Did We Buy?
You obviously want to know what cappuccino cups my wife friend got. My wife debated between the Bormioli cups and saucers and the Konitz set. She also looked at these coffee cups, which are gorgeous, but those would have been too expensive for her budget.
She ended up buying a set of 6 cappuccino cups with saucers from Miscela D'Oro. These cups are slightly larger than the traditional cappuccino cup, but this what she wanted. The cups are made in Italy, from high-quality feldspathic porcelain, fired at high temperature. The set is resistant to scratches and is dishwasher safe. The design is somewhat restraint, yet modern. What I liked most about this set was the thickness of the cup. This ensures a great thermal stability for your drink. Make sure you warm up the cups before pouring your espresso, and the drink will stay hot for a long time.