Espresso is the concentrated, syrupy goodness of finely ground coffee beans. For many aficionados, espresso makes the world go round. Life would be a little less rich without it. If you’re thinking about getting an espresso machine for your home, you must also start to think about the best espresso cups to use.
Sure, you can drink espressos from mugs, glasses or even bottles. However, the quintessential espresso experience begins with Italian espresso cups. The reason is simple. The espresso-making process, which involves forcing pressurized water through finely grounded beans, produces crema.
Crema is a reddish-brownish-beige froth which consists of air bubbles and soluble oils. The crema exudes a rich and delicious aroma we associate with espresso. Owing to their size and design, espresso cups, which are sometimes called demitasse cups, offer the perfect balance of crema distribution and presentation on the surface of the cup. They also help to preserve the core temperature of the espresso longer.
There are no standard sizes for espresso cups. This is particularly evident with traditional cups. However, the World Barista Championship, which is like the Olympics for baristas, requires the use of cups which can contain two espresso extractions of one ounce (30 mL, +/-5 mL) each, which comes up to two ounces. In recent years, manufacturers seem to have taken note of this, which is why espresso cups are made with a volume of around or slightly larger than two ounces.
However, espresso is not always meant to be drunk on its own. Sometimes, you may prefer to add a little water to lighten the caffeine concentration. At other times, you may want to add some milk to make cappuccino, macchiato, cortado or latte.
This is where espresso mugs come in. There are again plenty of variations in size, but try to find mugs which not only can hold additional milk and water, but also the rising content level when stirring.
The optimal espresso serving temperature is 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius). Make sure, then, that the material used for the cup can withstand heat well above the cited temperature threshold. There are many materials you can consider, such as porcelain, earthenware, ceramics, stoneware and glass.
For a basic set, consider the Ernst 4-piece set. The 8 cl (2.7 ounces) cups are made from stoneware and come in two colors – black and white. They will fit in easily in any contemporary kitchen. For a more modern kitchen, Bodum’s elegant 8 cl (2.7 ounces) 6-piece PAVINA double wall Espresso Glass will not look out of place.
If you’re looking to make a statement, they won’t come any better than Rosenthal’s Versace Vanity Combi Cup & Saucer. The striking gold and black design of the 29 cl (10 ounces) cup makes it almost too beautiful to drink from! Or what about a red glazed Espresso Cup with a wooden saucer, from Höganäs? This stylish stoneware cup will electrify your breakfast.
For more choices, browse through our collection of espresso cups today!