Posts Tagged ‘mug sets’

The Coffee Mug Set

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

While tea is most definitely best sipped from fine china tea cups and saucers, coffee on the other hand always seems to taste better when it is served in a coffee mug, although die-hard coffee connoisseurs will be quick to point out that different types of coffee should be served in different sized coffee mugs or cups!  Seeing that coffee is consumed by over 50% of the US population, approximately 60% of Australians, and millions of others around the world drink at least one mug of coffee a day, the coffee mug has become an important item in any home.  In fact, mug sets are almost as essential an item to own as a china tea set, especially when serving coffee to visitors, (unless it is a formal occasion in which case a coffe cup should be used or perhaps a coffee glass.)

So What Is It That Makes a Coffee Mug Special?

The coffee mug, often the first thing clutched at when arising in the morning, is a revered item in many homes. Ranging in size anywhere from 12 ounces to 20 ounces, coffee mugs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  There are also many different types of coffee mugs, though the most popular types are the regular porcelain coffee mug, glass coffee mugs, plastic mugs and stainless steel coffee mugs. A typical coffee mug has a large enough handle on the side to curl your fingers around, unlike a dainty teacup which must be held delicately by the handle between the thumb and two fingers. Coffee cups generally do not sit on saucers but are rather firmly set down on the table, coffee table, sideboard, computer table (this one should be a ‘no-no’) or on any relatively flat surface. I have even seen people precariously balancing their morning coffee on their bed!

For everyday use, the porcelain type is usually the cup of choice. They are great for hot coffee as the porcelain, which is usually considerably thicker than a porcelain teacup, holds heat well and keeps your coffee nice and warm while you drink it. These types of mugs are often decorative. Some are brightly colored, many have patterns or designs on the sides and it is not uncommon to find a ‘mug with a message’ sitting on someone’s desk. In fact, I am often intrigued by what I find written on coffee mugs. You can find mugs of all colors, if you are looking specifically for a black coffee mug or black and white coffee mugs you should not have too much trouble locating it.  Unfortunately porcelain will break if dropped. It will also chip fairly easily, thus you do need to take care not to damage your ceramic coffee mug.

Glass mugs are sometimes used for specific types of coffee. Like porcelain mugs they are breakable and they are often reserved for use with guests.

Stainless steel mugs are often lined with plastic which serves as a type of insulation, keeping the coffee warm for a good while. Many of these types of mugs have a lid, which serves two purposes. It makes the mug spill resistant and it also makes it possible to drive, or walk around with a cup of hot coffee. Frequently the lid has a small spout or hole that you can use to drink from. These are not the most decorative types of mugs although they are very practical. They are often referred to as a travel mug, and these plastic travel mugs are becoming quite popular.

The Difference Between a Coffee Mug and a Coffee Cup

Coffee cups are closely related to tea cups. They are usually made from fine porcelain and should be used to serve coffee in more formal settings. They sit on a saucer, just like a tea cup. They are usually taller and thinner than tea cups and normally do not flare out at the top as much as a tea cup. One major difference is that they hold a lot less coffee, usually around six ounces only. From a cup coffee tastes just as good–but there’s a little less of it!

Different Mugs for Different Beverages

Coffee mugs are used to drink coffee from. They are not to be confused with tea mugs, although the two look exactly the same!  Still you should drink tea from your tea mug and coffee from your coffee mug. Now, a beer mug is something different altogether. Yes, you drink beer out of a beer mug or beer glass. These are usually made from glass, though some are made from other materials. Actually, a beer mug set is also a great gift idea for any of beer swilling friends, but you should not drink coffee from a beer mug, or beer from a coffee mug, (unless you are exceptionally desperate and cannot find any other glasses or mugs!)

Shopping for Coffee Mug Sets

You can find sets of mugs in most department stores, many gift shops and at tea and coffee houses. Normally mug sets are sold with either four or eight mugs included, and are often notated as being a ‘Mug Set 4’ or ‘Mug set 8’, or even ‘Mug set of 6’. If you are looking for a coffee mug gift set, look for something that is already gift packed as that will save you having to gift wrap it.  You can even order a personalized coffee mug from some stores–a coffee cup picture or text included, which also make great gifts. Mug sets are sometimes packed with a holder that can be used for storing the mugs for easy access. Other sets have covers for the mugs that are used to keep the coffee warm.

There are many different styles of coffee mug sets. With some sets, the mugs match exactly. Other sets contain mugs that are exactly the same style, just a different color. You can find sets that have the same pattern on the mug with each pattern a different color.  Just as there is a huge variety of different individual coffee mugs on sale, mug sets are also highly diversified.

No matter what type of mug you are looking for, you should be easily able to find something suitable. If you are giving a mug set as a gift you may want to look for a coffee set that is somewhat unique, with an unusual pattern or coffee pictures for example. Glass mug sets are also great to give as gifts. If you are looking for a more practical set, check out a stainless steel coffee mug set. They usually consist of one or two coffee mugs, often stainless steel travel mugs that are packaged together with a thermos which can be filled before the trip with a nice hot brew of coffee. If you are looking to add to your mug collection you will probably want to shop for something that is rather unusual and unique.

There are a couple of im
portant considerations when purchasing coffee mugs sets. You do need to ensure that they are both microwave and dishwasher safe. This is usually marked either on the bottom of the mug, or on the packaging. Even if the mug says it is microwave safe it is always a good idea to test a mug in the microwave before you use it. Mugs that are not safe to use in the microwave will absorb much more heat than those that are safe. A good test is to put the mug with liquid in it into the microwave and set it for one to two minutes. When the time is up (gently) feel the handle of the mug. It should not be hot to the touch. If it is, beware, the mug may not be microwave safe after all. You should also always let a cup sit for a minute before taking it out of the microwave as liquid has been known to ‘explode’ and cause burns if it is jiggled or moved too soon after being micro-waved.

Another tip that is actually sound advice whenever you are buying any chinaware or crockery, and especially with a mug set, buy extra mugs and set them aside somewhere.  In the event that the mug is dropped and broken or chipped this will ensure that you always have a matching replacement. It can be very difficult trying to find a replacement that matches the set you bought exactly after a year or so has passed. Even if the same set is on sale, chances are it was made at a different time and there may be noticeable differences in the color or style of the mug.

How to Store Your Coffee Mug Set

You should not stack your coffee mugs up. They are too large for that. If you try it you may find that you end up with a lot of chipped mugs, or worse yet they may topple over and break. If you store your mugs in a cupboard give each one its own space. Many people find that it is extremely useful to purchase a mug tree. A mug tree is an accessory specifically made for storing mugs in a way that allows easy access. Frequently the mug tree is set beside the coffee maker or on a counter top. A simple mug tree consists of a metal or wood vertical pole that has small protuberances sticking out at an acute angle from the main pole. The mugs hang on the smaller protrusion by their handle.

As you can see, it is a fairly simple procedure to find and buy a set of coffee mugs if you are looking for an alternative to cups saucers. If you want a mug set like an espresso mug set you will need to look for specialty set but if you are after a regular mug set you should be able to locate it easily.