I tested and researched 30+ products and found the ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer to be the top choice for the best espresso cups.
Remember when you were a kid and your parents took you to a nice restaurant with white tablecloths for a special occasion, and after the meal, the waiters served the adults tiny little cups on teeny little saucers?
Every special dinner, my curiosity would grow just a tad more. I couldn’t wait to learn what espresso tasted like in a legit cup, and when I finally did, my obsession only grew.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve paid close attention to the best espresso cups I came across and had served to me. As a former barista of 5 years, I’ve also handled (and broken) my fair share of them.
‘Who makes the best espresso cups and what makes them the finest?’ is a question I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long time. Writing this article gave me the excuse to take a whole day and devote it to formal research on the subject. Fun fact: Espresso cups are also known as demitasse cups, meaning “half-cup” in French.
So, why did the ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer make first place? Based on our expert analysis, it’s because it offers the best balance of everything a great demitasse cup should be:
Thick high-quality porcelain (the stuff we associate with espresso) at a reasonable price—and in all kinds of fun colors to boot.
FYI: For sanity’s sake, I’m going to focus on reviewing espresso-sized cups here, not mugs—with one exception at the end 😉. That said, several of these best espresso cups come in cappuccino, cortado, and latte sizes too.
And as for the other best espresso cups here, well, you’ll just have to keep reading!
The 5 Best Espresso Cups At A Glance
- Top-quality porcelain
- Gorgeous colors
- Chip resistant and lead-free
- Double-walled glass keeps espresso hot for longer
- Easy to see crema and body development
- Dishwasher safe
- High-end, sophisticated graphite + matte black ceramic
- Double-walled ceramic is extra thick, preserving heat
- Designed to aid latte art pouring
- Elegant, classic espresso cup design
- Amazing value for the money
- Professional-grade porcelain
- 3 sizes in one set, including 2 demitasse cups
- Double-walled glass with thermal insulation
- Condensation-free and dishwasher safe
ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer earns our #1 spot for best espresso cups overall. Porcelain espresso cups offer a delicate balance of form and function, allowing you to recreate the café experience at home.
ionEgg might not be a brand name you recognize (at least at the time I’m writing this article), but their espresso cups are unforgettable.
Made with top-quality porcelain, the cups are chip resistant, lead-free, and come with matching trays. Plus, their gorgeous color options will brighten your day along with whatever espresso you’re sipping from them.
As far as cons go, these cups are sold individually, which could be a no-go if you’re looking to scoop up a whole set. Some also think they’re a bit on the pricy side per cup, but that’s up to you and your budget.
De’Longhi DeLonghi Double Walled Thermo Espresso Glasses is our pick for the best espresso cups made of glass. More specifically, double-walled glass espresso cups.
If you’re not familiar, double-walled glass is essentially a glass inside of a glass, with a vacuum in between the two pieces. This prevents heat or cold from escaping as quickly. And for espresso, it’s epic.
Espresso tends to come out super hot and cool down nearly just as fast. That makes it hand-in-glove perfect for a double-walled option. The double-wall construction not only enhances heat retention but also keeps the exterior cool to the touch.
And De’Longhi does all of it well.
Made from durable borosilicate glass, these glasses showcase the rich colors of your espresso. Glass is a particularly gorgeous material for espresso because you can watch the crema brew and the espresso’s body develop.
It’s not only beautiful but also helpful to gauge your espresso-making skills if you’re using a manual machine. These don’t have handles, so you’ll enjoy the demitasse tradition (which is handleless).
Despite being double-walled, these thermo espresso glasses are, indeed, glass and therefore fragile. Some folks complain they break easily, occasionally leaking into the vacuum between the glass pieces.
Fellow Monty Milk Art Espresso Cups are a no-brainer for the best ceramic espresso cups. And I’d give them the added title of best modern espresso cup duo, as well.
These cups offer exceptional heat retention, keeping your espresso at the perfect temperature. Crafted with high-end, sophisticated graphite bottoms and matte-black ceramic bodies, Fellow designed them to support precise latte art pouring.
Honestly, I’m a sucker for most everything Fellow makes. Their design and emphasis on bespoke, collectible gear is the stuff of my coffee dreams.
Let’s talk about the Fellow Monty Milk Art Espresso Cups’ double-walled ceramic, though. Usually, you see double-walled glass, but ceramic is much thicker. Double-walling ceramic can preserve heat even more effectively, making these even more valuable for espresso.
Also, each Monty is a stackable espresso cup! So you can pop them into a black matte tower of awesomeness as you continue adding to your collection.
Okay, so drawbacks. As gorgeous as I think this demitasse set is, the design isn’t for those looking for classic espresso cups. And they’re also on the expensive end of the best espresso cups spectrum.
That said, Fellow is a renowned coffee gear brand, and these unique espresso cups bring the wow factor. They’re definitely worth the cost in my opinion.
Sweese Porcelain Espresso Cups with Saucers take me back to those white tablecloths and are what I think of first when I hear best espresso cups. There’s something warm and familiar in that nostalgia, in bringing it into your home.
Made of professional-grade porcelain, the tulip-shaped design is classic, elegant, and practical as it retains heat at the bottom. This makes it easier to sip.
The Sweese espresso cups set is also a great deal, to be honest. Each set comes with 6 fancy espresso cups and saucers, so you’re golden for hosting small dinners or brunches. Another thing I love about Sweese is that the brand offers a wide selection of sizes, for many different drinks (including tea), so definitely check them out if you’re new to them.
The price combined with sturdy porcelain also makes the set dead-on for daily use, so if you drink espresso every day or close to it, this one’s hard to beat.
Regarding cons, the glaze finishing on the edges is occasionally not perfect. And since you’re buying them as an espresso cups set, there’s a slightly higher chance the porcelain could crack, chip, or break in transit. Not frequently reported, but it does happen once in a while.
Told you there’d be an exception on this list! De’Longhi Fancy Collection Double Walled Thermo Espresso, Cappuccino, and Latte Macchiato Glasses come in a set of 6 differently-sized double-walled espresso cups: 2 espresso, 2 cappuccino, and 2 latte macchiato glasses.
So if you love your espresso, but enjoy making or experimenting with milk-based coffee drinks just as often, this set is freakin’ rad. You’ve got the double-walled design, which we love for anything coffee, but especially espresso.
De’Longhi’s tulip design stands out. I like it because you have a lip to the cup, which helps gauge temperature and sip slowly since you can’t feel the heat with the double walls.
Condensation-free and dishwasher safe, these are the best Italian espresso cups in a varied-size set. From double espresso cups to 7.5-oz lattes, De’Longhi’s offering here is a solid buy—especially if you have a family of coffee lovers.
As far as negatives go, you won’t use these much if you’re a diehard espresso-only drinker. Even then, there are times you may want a lungo and will appreciate the extra room in the additional sizes.
The Ultimate Buying Guide for the Best Espresso Cups
When it comes to enjoying a delicious espresso, the right cup can make all the difference. The best espresso cups not only enhance the overall coffee experience but also contributes to the visual appeal of your brew.
In this comprehensive buying guide, we will explore the various features, problems, and use cases to consider when selecting the best espresso cups.
Features to Consider
Keep these elements in mind when searching for the best espresso cups:
Espresso cups come in various materials, each offering unique advantages. The most common materials include:
Ceramic cups are known for their excellent heat retention properties, keeping your espresso hot for longer. They also come in a wide range of colors and designs, allowing you to express your personal style.
Glass cups provide a visually appealing way to enjoy your espresso, as they allow you to admire the rich, dark hue of the coffee. They are also dishwasher safe and won’t retain flavors, making them ideal for tasting different coffee varieties.
Porcelain cups strike a balance between heat retention and delicacy. They are often favored by baristas due to their thick walls, which help maintain the ideal temperature for espresso.
These cups are known for their exceptional durability and heat retention properties. Stainless steel cups are commonly used in professional settings and are ideal for keeping your espresso hot for longer.
2. Design and Ergonomics
The design and ergonomics of an espresso cup can significantly impact whether or not an espresso cup is the right fit for you. Consider the following aspects:
The shape of the cup affects the way you perceive the aroma and flavors. Look for cups with a narrow opening and a wider base to concentrate the aroma and allow for a good crema formation. Traditional tulip-shaped cups and those with a slight inward curve at the top are popular choices that allow for easy sipping.
Espresso cups can have or lack handles and the choice depends on your personal preference. Handle-less cups, known as “demitasse” cups, are common in European espresso culture. They promote a tactile experience, allowing you to hold the cup with your fingertips to feel the espresso’s warmth.
Alternatively, cups with handles provide a more secure grip and are easier to handle, especially if the coffee is hot. A well-designed handle provides a comfortable grip and prevents heat transfer from the espresso to your hand. If you’re going for the best espresso cups with handles, make sure that the handle is large enough to accommodate a finger or two comfortably.
Saucers can add elegance to your espresso experience and provide a place to rest your spoon. They’re a part of the classical demitasse tradition, so if that’s something you care to ritualize with your espresso drinking, then go for the best espresso cups with saucers.
If you have limited storage space, consider a stackable espresso cup set, which allows you to save valuable kitchen real estate.
3. Heat Retention
Espresso is best enjoyed when it’s piping hot. Opt for cups that excel in heat retention. Cups made from dense materials like ceramic or porcelain tend to retain heat better than thinner options like glass.
4. Durability and Maintenance
Espresso cups should be able to withstand thermal shock, daily use, and occasional bumps. Check if the cups are dishwasher safe, as this makes cleaning a breeze. Also, cups that are resistant to chipping and breakage will ensure longevity.
Espresso cups typically come in two sizes: Demitasse (2-3 ounces) and lungo (3-4 ounces). Consider how much espresso you prefer to drink at a time.
Demitasse cups are ideal for traditional espresso shots, while lungo cups accommodate larger servings or can be used for double espresso shots.
Espresso cups are available as singles or in sets. Determine how many cups you need based on your coffee habits and whether you’ll be serving espresso to guests. Double espresso cups, also called “lungo”, are a safe bet for the best espresso cups you can buy if you are on the fence size-wise.
Investing in the best espresso cups elevates your coffee-drinking experience to new heights. Whether you prefer the classic elegance of ceramic cups, the contemporary charm of glass cups, or the delicate touch of porcelain cups, there’s a perfect option for you.
Consider the material, design, heat retention, and durability when making your choice. With our handpicked recommendations, you can now enjoy your espresso in style. Happy brewing!
Final Verdict on the Best Espresso Cups
The ionEgg Porcelain Espresso Cup with Saucer is one of the best espresso cups I’ve seen. It’s our pick here at Coffee Hex for overall finest because its heavy porcelain workmanship, on-point sizing, and adorable included saucers simply represent everything good espresso cups should be.
They harken back to those family memories at fancy restaurants, but they’re also colorful, adding a modern vibe that feels fun and homey. Snag a few for yourself on Amazon:
Best Espresso Cups FAQs
What is an espresso cup?
Can I use any regular cups or mugs for serving espresso?
What are the key features to look for in the best espresso cups?
– Material: Cups made of ceramic, porcelain, or glass are popular choices.
– Size: Espresso cups typically hold 2-3 ounces of liquid.
– Design: Look for cups with a thick wall and a handle for comfortable gripping.
– Heat retention: Cups with good heat retention properties help keep your espresso hot.
– Compatibility: Ensure that the cups fit under your espresso machine‘s brew head.
What are some popular brands known for their high-quality espresso cups?
What is the ideal size for an espresso cup?
How should I clean and maintain my espresso cups?
– Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals.
– Dry them thoroughly after washing to prevent water spots.
– If the cups have stains, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to remove them gently.
Are espresso cups microwave-safe?
What is the recommended material for espresso cups?
Can I put my espresso cups in the dishwasher?
How important is heat retention in espresso cups?
How big is an espresso cup?
The small size allows you to enjoy the espresso’s concentrated flavors and aromas. The small volume also encourages the espresso to be consumed quickly while it is still hot and at its best flavor.
Some coffee aficionados prefer larger cups, known as “double-shot” cups, which can hold around 4 to 6 fluid ounces (120 to 180 milliliters) and accommodate a double shot of espresso.
These larger cups are often used for making specialty coffee drinks that require more espresso—such as lattes or cappuccinos. But they are also important to buy if you like to make lungos, or “long” shots of espresso that exceed that 90ml cutoff for classic espresso cup sizes.
What is a demitasse cup?
Demitasse cups are designed to hold a small portion of coffee, usually between 2 to 3 fluid ounces (60 to 90 milliliters). They are smaller than regular coffee cups and are intended to serve espresso shots or other concentrated coffee beverages. The small size helps to preserve the flavor and aroma of the coffee, as it is consumed quickly.
These cups are often made from materials such as porcelain, ceramic, glass, or even stainless steel. They may come with matching saucers, which provide a convenient place to rest the cup and catch any drips.
Demitasse cups are commonly used in cafes, coffee shops, and households that enjoy espresso or other strong coffee drinks. They add an elegant touch to the coffee-drinking experience and are frequently used for serving espresso shots accompanied by a glass of water to cleanse the palate.
What are the best espresso coffee cups you can buy?
Give our buying guide above a read for more detailed info.