So you have those great speciality beans ready and fancy espresso machine or a designer dripper set sitting pretty on your countertop. There’s even a state of the art grinder just waiting to grind those tasty beans. All that’s left now is to grind, brew and serve yourself the perfect coffee… Wait, what do you serve that coffee in? Should it be a cup, a hefty mug or a special goblet? Is the vessel an essential ingredient to the coffee drinking process? If so, does the perfect cup exist?
As usual – it depends.
It depends since there are many different types of coffee, as you are well aware. It may be an espresso, a foamy cappuccino, a big mug of black coffee or a fancy speciality drip. Each of those will require a different vessel and the definition of a “perfect cup” will vary. Why? Because each of the aforementioned infusions will be unique in texture, aroma and flavor and hence and different elements will need emphasizing in order to fully enjoy that cup of coffee.
Espresso and moka pot
Let’s start with the basics, that is coffee from either an espresso machine or moka pot. Both coffees will be rather similar – small amount of a powerful infusion will result in a quick drop in temperature. In case of espresso there is also crema we have to deal with. Crema, a thick brown emulsion is a very desirable component of a properly brewed espresso. To maintain all the characteristics (crema and temperature), a good espresso cup is small in size with thick walls and rounded bottom with no sharp edges.
Small capacity and a narrow diameter combined with thick ceramics make the coffee temperature more stable. The aroma is also more concentrated which plays an important role in an infusion of a small size. Gently declining walls form a basin at the bottom of the cup, preventing the coffee from splashing and diffusing, allowing it flow freely and maintaining its original texture.
Loveramics Egg cups /fot. Loveramics
The most popular espresso cup shapes are tulip and egg ones – you can check out the ones Loveramics has in the offer. They work exactly the same so choosing one or the other is just a question of which ones are more visually appealing.
It is worth noting that those small cups are best for the so-called single shots (a 30-40g espresso). It leaves some space for stirring the coffee (a very important and distinctive circular movement of the whole cup) and allows for the aromas to whirl in the space between the walls of the cup. If there is an excessive amount of liquid
the aromas will spill over the edges instead of hitting your senses with the first sip. If you prefer a bigger espresso or a double shot it is best to use a larger, 150-200 ml cappuccino cup.
Cappuccino, latte or flat white?
White coffees leave a lot of room to impress, though the basic mechanics are pretty much the same – a shot or two of a fine espresso and the right amount of properly frothed milk will make for that perfect cup. What does constitute a properly frothed milk? It should be smooth and lush, like a yogurt. Never steam your milk to the point where it starts looking like swiss meringue.
The perfect cup for a white coffee needs to meet certain standards, especially if it is to be used for latte arts. Since crema will be essential to creating the perfect milk drawings, the cup should support the espresso texture well. Again the round basin at the bottom and gently sloping walls will play an important factor.
Did you know: Loveramics happens to be the official cups supplier for World Latte Art Championships. It’s the same cups as the ones you can find here.
The drawings Agnieszka Rojewska created in the final round of 2017 World Latte Art Championships in Budapest have won her 3rd place. The official cups for the Championships, Loveramics Egg. /photo: M. Rzońca
This specific shape makes it easier to maneuver the milk. A vessel that expands and opens up towards the top provides more space atop which one can create various flowers, rosettes or shrimps. The smooth insides of the walls do not interfere with structure of frothed milk. Cappuccino and latte are not exactly focused on the aroma sensations, hence they are usually filled to the brim, making even the simplest pattern on top look very attractive.
Pour-overs, alternatives and other black gems.
When we drink those big, black coffees from a coffee machine, chemex, dripper, aeropress or any other alternative brewing device, we can get a little crazier when it comes to choosing the right vessel. Because texture does not play a role here and crema is non-existent anyhow, the shape of bottom or walls will not matter nearly as much as it does when it comes to espresso based infusions. You can easily pour a big mug of coffee and cherish it on your favourite couch after a long day of work. It would be good if the said cup is made of thick ceramics (so your coffee does not get cold too quickly), a good handle and smooth finish.
Loveramics Brewers /photo: Loveramics
BUT, especially with speciality coffee, the aroma plays an important role. It is with speciality that we can marvel over subtle cassis, chocolate, cherry or herbal scents. That is why some companies created dedicated cups, design to enhance those aromas.
The newest invention are these Loveramics Brewers goblets. Consisting of a narrow server designed to slow down the natural cooling and three differently shaped little goblets. According to the manufacturer each shape is designed to bring out different flavor notes – fruity, sweet and nutty ones.
The porcelain here isn’t too thick so the infusions cool down faster. You may wonder why the walls shouldn’t be too thick this time – speciality coffee releases its full bouquet of flavor as it cools down and the aromas get richer when it reaches a certain temperature. It is a paradox of sorts.
Back to alternative brewing – because those methods are vastly popular among hipsters and people who value good design just as much as flavor, you can find some really fancy cups now.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that cafes serve black alternative coffees in large cups – same ones they use for lattes or cappuccinos. Not only do they do a good job flavor and aroma-wise, but are simply nice to drink from.
Just to make it clear…
Sure you can use other cup shapes or different designs and still get a perfectly fine espresso or a beautiful latte art. It’s worth remembering however that the tweaks and details of the perfect cup are to help you get the best possible results.
讓我們來介紹STTOKE，這是澳洲墨爾本設計的咖啡隨行杯品牌，它以不影響咖啡風味著稱，目前也受到世界各地的歡迎。它獲得 2018 Good Design 產品設計類別的金獎。它的特點包含沒有矽膠殘味，保持飲品溫度，杯身的流線設計及豐富的顏色選擇！
為們的第一印象，Sttoke外形勝過任何其他的環保杯，她的簡約又不失特色的外形。杯子本身具有一個修長的外形，沒有把手，沒有矽膠套，沒有過大的蓋子。雖然Sttoke有8oz(240ml)及12oz(360ml)兩個容量，但是我們選擇了8oz，因為這個高度適合所有的咖啡機，我們也很喜歡他的容量。這個杯子跟其他市場上的環保杯最大的差異在於她內膽採用防摔的德國水性陶瓷漆 Greblon®。這個陶瓷漆非常耐用，也非常容易清洗，不殘味。杯子本身是由高等級的不鏽鋼所製成，雙層真空就像一個保溫瓶一樣，外表有時尚的陽極塗層，底部裝有橡膠底能防滑。平坦的防潑漏設計杯蓋堅固透明，不會釋放出BPA，也有一個滑蓋設計方便飲用，橡膠防漏設計讓蓋子永遠嵌合於杯子內。A rubber seal keeps the lid snug inside the cup.
Due to the double-layered walls of the cup, the STTOKE offers a high level of insulation – it promises a hot drink for 3 hours, and a cold one for 6 hours. We were pleasantly surprised to find this was accurate, so long as the drinking hole remained closed using the slider. No matter what temperature the liquid was inside, the outside of the STTOKE remained comfortable to hold. Burned mouths were a frequent occurrence whilst we adjusted to using the cup and accounting for its efficiency!
When using reusable cups in the past, some BuyMeOnce team members have complained of an unpleasant silicone, plastic or metallic taste affecting the flavour of their morning brew. Despite having a plastic lid, the Sttoke seems to bypass this completely with its ceramic interior, and even after 30 days’ use keeps the pure taste of the beverage inside. Our frequent coffee drinkers have particularly noticed this – as flavour purists, they had been taking ceramic mugs to cafes! It’s no wonder the Sttoke is becoming well-known as the coffee connoisseur’s choice.
Thanks to its rubber seal, the Sttoke’s lid is very snug. We’ve found it to be trustworthy when walking or driving, and have had no issue tucking it, full of hot liquid, under an arm to carry a bunch of other stuff. However, when the Sttoke promises to be ‘spill-proof’, we’ve found this only means it won’t pop open catastrophically. If it is knocked over on a table whilst full, a few drips do come out, and Stoke’s website does state this.
Despite having no handle or grip points, the Sttoke is designed to fit really nicely in the hand, feeling secure to hold. The lid is tight but easy to pry off safely, due to the slight extra lip on one side.Drinking from the Sttoke did take some getting used to, as the mouth hole is set pretty deep below the rim – about 1cm. With a fairly large hole and a slight channel guiding liquid out, this opening replicates drinking from a mug, without the sloshing risk. When you tip back the cup, a little pool of liquid is created in this channel, which you can slurp from carefully as you would any fresh cup of coffee.This clever design allows you to drink hotter liquid more safely and naturally, as temperature can be gauged with your lips. It may also be helping the flavour too, by minimising your mouth’s contact with plastic. With other lids we’ve tried, including disposable ones, you have to suck boiling liquid from a small hole, or tip it into your mouth hoping for the best.
When it comes to BuyMeOnce testing, it doesn’t matter how lovely a product is – if it doesn’t last, it’s not going to make the cut. The Sttoke cup is covered by a 2 year warranty against manufacturing defects, which is a good indication that it’s a well-made item. But during the month, we wanted to really put it through the wars. Our Sttoke suffered all kinds of abuse, surviving several drops whilst both full and empty. Not only did it not break, the lid stayed firmly on every time and only dripped a tiny amount of liquid. The stainless steel/ceramic material is clearly not just a pretty face.When reading other reviews of the Sttoke, a persistent gripe was that the outside surface gets easily scratched. Ours suffered a little throughout the month, but despite rough treatment the scratches on our metallic pink cup were neither extensive nor immediately visible. A matte coating might suffer more, however. Our conclusion? If you’re concerned about cosmetic damage, look after your cup and pop it in a cloth bag before stuffing inside your rucksack. And below surface level, the Sttoke really is one tough cookie.
We found the Sttoke cup to be very easy to clean – once we read on their website exactly how to do so properly! The sliding mechanism in the lid (an ideal place for grime to collect), can actually be popped out using a teaspoon handle, and all parts washed thoroughly. We at first didn’t realise that the Sttoke should be cleaned with a soft sponge only – the lid has subsequently gotten pretty scratched up from scourer use. This has not affected the functionality of the cup, but feeds into our general conclusion that this cup should be treated with care, in accordance with the manufacturer’s advice.
In a market saturated with countless reusable cups and travel mugs, the Sttoke manages to offer something better, and something different. Between all our team members we’ve tried so many cool cups made from organic bamboo, recycled materials and cork! But as soon as we get a hint of a bad taste, they’re relegated to the back of the cupboard. The Sttoke offers not just neutral flavour, but also a balanced ergonomic design, a sleek, minimalistic appearance and impressive durability. Crucially, these design features add up to real, consistent everyday use, and thus an actual positive difference being made upon the world. We believe strongly in refusing single-use items, and are now even more incentivised to do so.The Sttoke has converted us all: coffee snobs, office tea guzzlers and reusable cup newbies alike. The whole design has clearly been carefully considered, resulting in a beautiful product that offers a fantastic experience. It may require a little looking after, but for a clean taste and lasting heat, we think this product is worth it. The 2 year warranty is an extra assurance that Sttoke have faith in their design, and we’re certain that, with some care, your sturdy Sttoke cup could last for many, many years.
最常看見的比賽之一，也就是拿鐵拉花，英文是 Coffee Art 或是 Latte Art，在一般的咖啡店中點拿鐵咖啡也會有的拉花，通常都是愛心或是葉子的形狀，但比賽中透過雕塑或是咖啡師技術拉成不一樣的形狀，好的拿鐵拉花會讓喝咖啡時的心情更加愉悅，甚至說他是一門藝術也不為過，把咖啡當作畫布在咖啡上作畫一般！
World Latte Art Championship 世界拉花冠軍大賽
世界拉花冠軍大賽是最具代表性的比賽，隸屬於 World Coffee Event 的比賽，不只是杯子中的拉花要好看，整體過程像是一個表演，其中初賽包含了在吧檯區製作一杯選手創作圖樣的拿鐵拉花咖啡；以及競賽舞台上兩杯一致的拉花拿鐵以及兩杯創作一致的拿鐵而這個創作拿鐵也能夠使用雕花、裝飾，像是上圖有一隻兔子的拉花，透過評審評鑑後高分的人就能夠奪下冠軍。其中評分包含了環境的整理、咖啡本身的風味還有表演過程與颱風，不是只有咖啡的圖案就能取勝，畢竟到達了大賽殿堂的各國家代表沒有一個是省油的燈，綜合評分更加公平。
World Latte Art Championship世界拉花藝術大賽是由世界咖啡與活動先驅-WCE (World Coffee Events) 基於推廣精品咖啡以及基於精品咖啡發起的專業咖啡大賽，是世界第二大賽事，是咖啡拉花藝術的最高級別專業賽事。世界拉花藝術大賽是一項突出藝術表現力，挑戰咖啡師現場表演能力的賽事。