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
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
Let’s take these aspects and 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. 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 aesthetics 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, 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.
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 double shot of espresso. 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.
Lavazza Small Cappuccino Cups
Lavazza cups holds 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.
What about the Shape?
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 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 keeping 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 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 make just look right.
Nuova Point Cappuccino Cups with Saucers
Nuova Point cups are an Italian company that specializes in coffee cups. Their main market are 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 colours. 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.
Koenitz Bar Cappuccino Cups and Saucers
Könitz is one of the most reputable porcelain manufacturers in the world. Founded in 1909, the Germany based company produces a wide range of cups, mugs, and plates.
The cappuccino cups from Koenitz are contemporary, and well made. They are made with thick material, which helps with the thermic stability. The bright white is the classical choice in many coffee shops.
Luigi Bormioli Thermic Cappuccino Cup with Saucer
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 found the perfect alternative from Luigi Bormioli, another famous glass manufacturer. I wanted to see if I can buy this on Luigi Bormioli’s website, but I only found some large thermo cups. They are nice, and I love them, but not for cappuccino. Fortunately, I found the perfect Luigi Bormioli cups on Amazon.
The cups are 5.25oz capacity, with double walls for insulation and to prevent condensation. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, though I don’t recommend warming up cappuccino. They are Italian designed, and are perfect for parties or just everyday use
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 at 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.