object — Coffee Cup

The perfect coffee cup is about half the size of your average American mug.

I bought a pair of used small porcelain mugs at a thrift shop for about $1 back in 2009. I have used one of them nearly every day since. I believe them to be the perfect cup for coffee.

This mug comfortably holds about 6oz of coffee. Comfortably — as in about 3/4 full. Your typical mug holds about double that. That’s too big. Here’s a picture for comparison.

Now, notice I didn’t say too much. Drink all the coffee you want. But drink it from a vessel optimized for the hand! Drink it from something in proportion to human nature! Seriously, though, I wouldn’t say I have the biggest hands in the world — nor the smallest — but I will admit that this is ultimately a subjective measure. And anyway, I didn’t come here to pontificate on mug size. But my guy is perfect for a cappuccino. It’s not angled like an Italian cup, but I think it would be accepted there :)

I should also add that the larger mug pictured above is what my wife likes to drink her morning tea from, which is an entirely separate business. Tea has different rules. Also, my mother-in-law bought me a smaller, companion mug to the larger one above that is also the perfect ~6oz size because she knows my preferences so well. The only reason I didn’t include it in the pictures is because it was in the dishwasher when I took them.

I do think that there’s a special pleasure derived from drinking from this cup. I brought mine on a recent trip to the mountains with my Dad and siblings and their families. The cabin was stocked with enormous mugs. Like Central Perk-level big. One morning I couldn’t find my mug and eventually realized that my Dad, thinking it was the one not-insane mug in the place, was using it. He was very reluctant to give it up — of course I didn’t make him… the first time. He even said, “this is how a coffee cup should be.”

In doing some haphazard searching, I learned a few things: Did you know that the first mug was made of bone in the Neolithic Stone Age? Here’s a prehistoric mug from about 6,000 years ago decorated with an Ibex carrying a bushel. I also stumbled upon this image (below) of a mug rack on a ship and I just found it pleasing. I can’t imagine ever needing this many mugs in our household, but part of me feels driven to recreating it somehow.

Written by Christopher Butler on April 29, 2023,   In Log

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