13 Best Espresso Cups And Which Ones To Avoid

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more information.

Brewing espresso is as much of an artform as the cups you serve it in.

You would think buying a cup wouldn’t take a lot of thought, but there are actually many factors to make sure your espresso tastes rich and silky.

The best espresso cups will allow the crema to form at the top, keep your drink hot, and be easy to hold and drink out of.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Aozita espresso cups Best Ceramic Espresso Cups

Pros

  • Comes as a set with saucers and spoons
  • High quality for an affordable price
  • High grade ceramic

Cons

  • Handles are small, but the cups don’t heat up. It’s not a dealbreaker

Joy Jolt Best Double Wall Espresso Cups

Pros

  • Probably the most useful handle on any one we reviewed
  • Made with borosilicate glass which is a very durable glass

Cons

  • While glass is dishwasher safe, I would only clean these glasses by hand

Sweese Porcelain Espresso Cups

Pros

  • A heavy, durable cup
  • Comes with saucers

Cons

  • Can’t pick your own colors
  • The handle is a bit small

Le Creuset Stoneware Set Of Espresso Cups

Pros

  • Holds 3 oz so it’s enough for a little bit of milk even if you like double shots
  • Made from high fired stoneware that is the most durable material on this list
  • Retains heat for a long period of time

Cons

  • They are expensive but worth it, would’ve been number one on my list if it wasn’t for the price.

Bruntmor Espresso Cups

Pros

  • Made out of chip-resistant ceramic
  • Holds 4oz so there is plenty of room for milk

Cons

  • Ceramic is porous, so you have to keep them cleaned, or they will stain
  • The saucers are not as durable as the cups

Kitchables Espresso Cups

Pros

  • Works great with a Nespresso machine
  • Double-wall build keeps espresso at the perfect temp.
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Lightweight will break even from a shortfall

De’Longhi Demitasse Cup

Pros

  • Perfect taper to help produce crema
  • Keeps your espresso at the perfect temperature of 90 degrees

Cons

  • Might be a little small if you like a lot of milk in your shot

Zenco Espresso cups Best For Cappuccino Or Latte

Pros

  • Perfect size for any espresso machine
  • Has a handle in case you like a larger drink

Cons

  • Glass gets a little hot so make sure you hold it by the handle

Teamfar

Pros

  • They stack together for easy storage
  • Won’t break while washing, or if dropped
  • Perfect size for your hand

Cons

  • Don’t keep your drink hot for as long as ceramic, or glass

Real Deel Steel Best Stainless Steel Espresso Cups

Pros

  • You can throw these cups across the house and you’ll dent your wall before you dent the cups
  • Nice aesthetics and can pick different colors

Cons

  • Steel isn’t my go to choice for espresso cups but these are well insulated and you can’t beat the durability

HIC Harold

Pros

  • Perfect for a double shot with milk
  • Compatible with Nespresso or Keurig

Cons

  • Chips easily I would hand wash, and stack them carefully

JOCO best With A Lid

Pros

  • Is available in 4, 6 and 8 oz options
  • Comes in 15 colors
  • Made from borosilicate blown glass that is shock resistant and high thermal rate.
  • Silicone sleeve gives you a great grip and helps keep your drink warm

Cons

  • Nothing, stop using plastic and styrofoam that ruins the environment and makes your espresso taste like crap.

Jecobi Set Of Espresso Cups And Spoons

Pros

  • Lightweight without feeling fragile
  • Will survive decent falls without breaking

Cons

  • A minor imperfection exists at the bottom of the glass due to the manufacturing process

Royal Doulton Best Espresso Cup And Saucer

Pros

  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • Very durable
  • Perfect size espresso cup and saucer for a biscotti and spoon
  • Comes in different sizes for espresso, or cappuccino

Cons

  • Make sure you buy the right size so that you’re not disappointed

Gmark Espresso Cups For Keurig

Pros

  • Will survive dings and falls
  • Double walled to keep your espresso the correct temperature
  • Fits perfect under a Keurig

Cons

  • Are not meant to have anything poured out of them
  • They are dishwasher safe but I would hand wash them

Zenco [Best Espresso Cups For Nespresso]

Pros

  • Perfect size for a double shot with a little milk
  • Fits great into a Nespresso

Cons

  • Cup gets a little hot, but this is why there are handles
  • I’m not going to say they are fragile, but I would recommend hand washing them
picture of one of the best espresso cup underneath a portafilter filling up with espresso

What Are Espresso Cups Called

The proper name for them is a demitasse cup.

They derived from the Turkish culture to serve Turkish coffee or espresso.

They normally hold 60 to 90 milliliters (2 to 3 US fluid oz); for comparison, this is roughly half of an 8 oz cup of coffee that you would get at a diner. 

What Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Espresso Cups

Is it insulated

If you want your espresso to have a silky texture and a smooth, rich flavor, then the temperature is critical to you.

When espresso starts to cool off, it becomes bitter and vicious, changing its taste and texture.

This is why the best espresso cups are made with double-walled materials like ceramic, glass, or stainless steel or are insulated like a thermos but in a much smaller package.

You’ll also want a coffee maker with a grinder to receive the freshest espresso.

2 clear glass espresso cups filled with a double shot of espresso

What size do you want

You will need to decide if you want a cup big enough for a single shot, a double shot, or one of these, plus enough room to add steamed milk.

You can buy one or a cup big enough to accommodate any drink size for a varied selection.

Does it come with a saucer

Adding a saucer to the mix is good for a couple of reasons.

It looks great for aesthetics and gives it a classy feel if you enjoy that look.

It helps with any spilling since it will prevent it from creating marks on your table.

I saved the best reason for last; if you like to eat biscotti with your espresso (because who doesn’t like this), you can easily place it on the saucer to keep from getting crumbs on anything.

Do you want handles

Since demitasse cups are smaller, it is sometimes hard to build a handle that isn’t easily broken.

The handles are thinner than your average coffee mug handle so that the smallest hit can break or chip them.

Make sure you can easily fit a finger through them to make it easier for you to grip, or else you will only make it awkward and inevitably break them. 

Due to the difficulty of manufacturing one with a handle that won’t break.

This is why ceramic, double-walled glass, and stainless steel are the most recommended materials to buy.

They will keep your drink hot but will still allow you to hold the cup without being burned.

2 cups of espresso in brown mugs on a wooden circular board with biscotti and cream

How do you want it to look

Aesthetics may not be the end-all in performance, but I know I like to purchase products that I deem pleasant to look at.

The good thing about any coffee accessory is that hundreds of variations of color, shapes, and sizes match your kitchen, decor, coffee bar, or overall design scheme.

Do you want demitasse spoons

If you need a spoon to mix in sugar or milk, you want to make sure you’re using a utensil that is not big enough to hit the edge of your cup and chip it accidentally, and it’s not made of a material that will make your drink taste bitter or like metal.

This is why they actually make demitasse spoons made of stainless steel or silver and are much smaller than the average silverware spoon you would use to eat.

They also come in many shapes, colors, and sizes for you to add to the aesthetics of your coffee bar or presentation while hosting.

Espresso paddles

At first glance, you may wonder what the difference is between espresso spoons and paddles.

In fact, they may even be called the same thing, but the big difference is the spoons will look like a smaller version of the same type of spoon you would eat cereal with.

However, the paddles will have a similar handle, but the end will be flat like a paddle.

These will allow you to stir your espresso without interfering with the crema to add milk or sugar.

Many people will use spoons to add the milk and sugar, then pick up the paddle to stir it.

a huge pile of whole coffee beans with a white ceramic espresso cup on top with paddles flanking it

Dimensions

This is simply ensuring that the cup you purchase will fit into or onto the espresso machine and still allow it to pour into the cup.

The shape of the cup

You want a cup that envelops the espresso like a tumbler more than a cup shaped like a bowl.

This will increase the amount of crema that is present at the top of the drink.

Another way to increase the amount of crema is to have a tapered bottom; this makes it rise to the top.

Please stay away from unconventional shapes like squares or triangles (yes, they actually make them) 

These weird shapes will change the way your espresso holds its heat and change the flavor.

The shape of the rim

Many espresso cups are going to be thicker than normal cups or glasses that you’re used to drinking out of due to being insulated or double-walled.

This can lead to people feeling like they aren’t fitting their lips around the rim or spilling some when they drink.

Try to look for glasses that have rounded rims so that you can get your lip over the top of it and seal it better.

a pretty brunette barista preparing an espresso

What Materials Do You Want It To Be Made Out Of

Ceramic

Ceramic is such a popular material for espresso and coffee cups because it efficiently keeps your drink warm.

Ceramic materials are porous; this allows conduction to occur slower than other materials like glass, porcelain, or metallics.

Espresso becomes bitter as it loses its heat, so by using a thermal material like ceramic, you will preserve the quality of your drink and be able to enjoy it longer.

Another benefit of ceramics is that it won’t leech; it doesn’t change how your espresso tastes.

Glass

You should only buy a glass product if it is double-walled so that it can retain the heat of your beverage longer.

It won’t be effective at reducing conduction as its ceramic counterpart, but it is effective enough for you to enjoy it still.

Glass is also easy to use since it is dishwasher and microwave safe; plus, in my opinion, some of the best espresso cups are glass due to how they are aesthetically pleasing.

Glass also won’t change the flavor of your brew.

stainless steel espresso cup with a handle on a saucer holding a biscotti

High-quality steel

Stainless steel is one of those materials with enough pros that I don’t want to tell you to avoid, but there are better options.

It is very durable and will survive most falls or dings, and it’s dishwasher-friendly. 

Many people also consider it more of a modern look and will go great with a coffee bar surrounded by an overall modern design style.

It doesn’t retain heat and other options unless you get it double-walled, but these varieties tend to be some of the most expensive options.

If you do chip or scratch, a stainless steel cup will start to leech a foul-tasting metal taste into your coffee; trust me, you will notice it.

Never put it in the microwave unless you want to produce a mini lightning storm in the middle of your kitchen.

What Materials Should You Never Buy

Cheap metallic

Espresso becomes very bitter as it cools down, and metallic cups do not hold heat for long, and it will give off a metallic taste.

Unless you like bitter metal-tasting coffee, stay away from these types of espresso cups.

Paper

Have you ever gotten a coffee from a convenience store and noticed a weird taste in it? This is due to the paper’s chemicals leaching into your drink.

Plus, they don’t keep it hot for very long. If you need them as a to-go cup, you can buy stainless steel cups meant to hold espresso.

styrofoam coffee cup laying on railroad tracks as trash

Styrofoam/plastic

I’m putting these two materials in the same category since they are horrible for the planet and don’t keep your drink warm.

I get that they are convenient since you can throw them out after using them but is it really that hard to take a reusable cup with you and clean it afterward?

The other downside is that they are a repeated cost since you have to buy them continually.

What Are The Best Espresso Cups

  • Is double-walled or insulated to keep your drink warm
  • Is big enough to hold the type of drink you are going to make
  • Is made from ceramic, porcelain, or glass. 
  • Has a rounded rim to fit your lips around
  • Comes with a saucer, spoon, or paddle if you want them
  • Fits your coffee machine 

What Size Should An Espresso Cup Be

It shouldn’t be any bigger than 2 to 3 oz.

This is so that the crema can’t spread out and disappear.

A larger cup also won’t allow the espresso to stay hot long enough for you to enjoy it before it tastes bitter.

Why Are Espresso Cups So Small

They are small because a shot of espresso is 1 oz, a double is 2 oz, and a triple is 3 oz.

Anything bigger would be a waste and compromise the flavor, texture, and heat that espressos are famous for.

What Is The Difference Between Demitasse And Espresso

Demitasse is actually the correct name when referring to an espresso cup.

It means half cup in French and holds up to 3oz of coffee.

In Italy, a Doppio normale is meant for a single shot, and a Lungo Doppio holds a double shot.

How Do You Drink Espresso

Espresso drinking has become an art form since Luigi Bezzera invented it in 1901.

When properly brewed, it will have a rich flavor and a silky texture that cannot be replicated by any other brewing method.

Here is the preferred method to experience the best flavor from your order.

  1. Order either a single, double, or if you’re nuts, a triple shot of espresso
  2. If the cafe you’re in knows what they’re doing, you’ll be given a bottle of sparkling water to drink beforehand; this is to cleanse your pallet (were getting fancy here, people)
  3. When you receive your shot, you will notice a froth on top of it; this is called crema. I actually like the taste of it, but many people don’t, and it’s recommended that you scrape it off with a spoon or what’s known as a paddle if they are available.
  4. When the espresso is brewing, different sections become denser and lighter, causing it not to become homogenous. For the richest taste, you should stir it up.
  5. Since it is so little, many people, think you should treat it as a liquor shot and down it in one gulp. You’re actually supposed to sip it. This will allow you to enjoy the flavor, and it will stop you from feeling the effects of the caffeine all at once.

How Many Ounces Is A Double Shot Of Espresso

  • Single-shot is 1oz
  • Double-shot is 2oz
  • Triple shot is 3 oz

Italian Espresso Cups

Italian espresso cups are the same as demitasse or espresso cups; they are just different names, usually due to the geographical area you’re in.

Whether you search for French, Italian, Demitasse, or Espresso cups, you will generally find the same products.

Different regions may be made with different styles, but in the end, they will all hold between 2 and 4 oz and be crafted to give you the perfect brew.

Conclusion

If you take your espresso seriously, you need to know what constitutes the best espresso cups.

Use this guide to understand the different sizes, shapes, and materials to brew the perfect shot of espresso.