So you’ve forked out a pretty penny on a shiny, spanking new espresso machine. But, investment in homemade espresso doesn’t stop at the machine. You still need to think about a quality grinder, fresh whole beans, and a set of good espresso cups.
Today in this blog post, I will focus on choosing the best and correct espresso cups. Most of us call them espresso cups, but the real name for these small coffee cups is a Demitasse.
Espresso isn’t just about knocking back a rich caffeine-infused elixir to get you started in the morning. For many, it’s a ritual, and the whole experience is much more important than the intense jolt of energy.
Honestly, not all cups are equal in quality, and some aren’t even suitable for serving espresso even though they market them towards espresso drinkers.
Hopefully, after reading through this article, you’ll be armed with enough knowledge to pick up some stylish yet functional espresso cups.
The Demitasse Cup
The word Demitasse literally translates as “half cup” in French. This thick-walled cup isn’t only used for espresso, but Turkish coffee is also another common use for the Demitasse. Typically holding 2 to 3 fluid ounces (60 to 90 milliliters) of coffee, they’re half the size of a regular-sized cup – so you can see why they are appropriately named the “half cup”.
But this is where it gets a little confusing because the name Demitasse can also mean a measurement of coffee. So if you literally walked into a French Cafe and asked for a Demitasse, they would serve you a shot of espresso.
How to Choose the Best Espresso Cups?
Before I showcase the best espresso cups, it’s probably a good idea to talk about how to choose a suitable vessel for that dark brown nectar; as I said earlier, some cups are not suitable at all for the espresso.
Does Size Matter When Choosing a Demitasse?
First, why is the espresso cup so small? The size of the cup is the perfect size for a single serving of espresso. The espresso shot is that size because it contains less water compared to a regular cup of coffee, but the amount of coffee used is the same; the ideal ratio is 30g of water to 7g of coffee.
So, even though the cup is small, the espresso still contains the same amount of coffee as a regular 8 oz cup; it just has less water – in other words, it’s more concentrated.
Don’t Overlook Insulation
For a minute, let’s forget about the size of the cup and focus on what I think is more important – the insulation.
A shot of espresso will lose heat quickly, in most cases, in a matter of seconds. This is partly due to the lower brewing temperature and the small serving of coffee; with a smaller amount, the heat transfer is much faster compared to a large cup of coffee.
So, insulation plays an important role when choosing a good set of espresso cups. Forget about thin-walled glass cups or fancy stainless steel, the best cups for espresso are those made from think ceramic. That’s not entirely true. Even glass is okay if the cups have been designed correctly.
Best Materials for Espresso Cups
So now you know insulation is probably the number one most important factor when buying espresso cups. Let’s take a closer look at some of the materials used. As you can imagine, some are better than others for insulation.
Ceramic cups such as porcelain will be your best option. They keep the heat for a lot longer and even longer if the cups are preheated before you use them.
Coming in close behind ceramic in terms of insulation are glass Demitasse cups, but not all will be ideal for espresso. If you want a set of glass cups, make sure you always buy the double-walled type. Not only do they look elegant, but they will also keep your coffee hotter for a lot longer.
The air sandwiched between the glass walls acts as an insulator which will keep the heat inside and, at the same time, will keep the outer side of the cup cool so you won’t burn your fingers. It’s the same technology used inside the best thermos for coffee and other items designed to lock in heat.
Not the best. The problem with almost all metals is that they are good conductors of heat. Perfect for cooking and pots and pans but not so great for locking in the heat of a freshly poured espresso shot.
With that said, there are double-walled stainless steel Demitasse cups, but personally, I don’t like them – I find that they can alter the taste of espresso. While this isn’t really an issue with other brewing methods such as the Moka pot or the French Press, espresso, surprisingly, is more affected by the taste.
The Finest Espresso Cups I Could Find
I’ve looked high and low and unearthed some of the best Demitasse cups I could find. All of my recommendations offer great insulation and heat retention as well as looking super stylish.
… Psst, my favorite is the Bruntmor cups.
Konitz Coffee Bar Espresso Cups and Saucers
My first recommendation is these traditional Demitasses and saucers that are in the exact same style as cups used in cafes throughout France and Europe.
The Konitz cups have been made from the best insulating material – ceramic porcelain, and they hold a regular shot of doppio espresso. The accompanying set of saucers is the perfect size for holding a few cubes of sugar and a small teaspoon.
Apart from the elegant, timeless style of the Konitz set, what I also like about this Demitasses set is the concave bottom that’s been designed to ensure the perfect formation of Crema each and every time.
Bodum Assam Double-Walled Espresso Shot Glass
What’s not to love about the Bodum Assam espresso glasses? Each of these double-walled borosilicate glass Demitasses has been carefully mouth-blown, so you could say each is slightly unique.
Apart from being a great insulator, the double-walled design also makes the coffee seem to float within the glass. The design and contour of these cups have won many awards and received rave reviews.
If you’re looking for a truly unique espresso shot glass design that looks great sitting proudly on top of your table, look no further than these – the picture really doesn’t do them justice.
Bruntmor Espresso Cups with Saucers
I love the look of these cool espresso cups; simple, colorful, modern, and a great insulator for an espresso. Crafted from high-quality ceramic, they are made to last. They have made the outer walls with the optimal thickness for keeping your espresso or any other hot beverage at a perfect temperature for longer.
Each set contains four cups and green, yellow, red, and blue saucers with a matte black exterior. The ergonomic design makes each cup super easy to hold with one hand while using your other free hand to hold the saucer.
The saucer is just the right size for placing a teaspoon along with two cookies or sugar cubes.
TeamFar Double Wall Stainless Steel Espresso Cups
Even though I don’t rate stainless steel espresso cups high, this four-piece set caught my eye.
First, the unique mirror shine design looks ultra-modern and sleek. Second, this stainless steel set is BPA-free and non-toxic, so your espresso shouldn’t be tainted with any unwanted metallic taste, which, if you remember, was my number concern with metal Demitasse cups.
The TeamFar cups are also double-walled, which by now you will realize means that they will do a good job at keeping your espresso hotter for longer. The insulating wall also acts as a barrier for your fingers by protecting you from the heat as you sip on your silky smooth elixir.
Solecasa Porcelain Espresso Cup and Saucer Set
My last suggestion is these Demitasse cups by Solecasa, which are made from the best insulator – porcelain.
Apart from looking elegant in design with their dotted pattern on the rim, these cups are durable and lightweight too. This set of four is a little larger (3 ounces) than your traditional espresso cup, but that just makes these Demitasses perfect for a double shot of espresso lungo.
These espresso coffee cups are one of my favorites – highly recommended!