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Why does my coffee taste weird in non-ceramic cups?

For coffee lovers, it is strongly important to reserve the best taste and smell of their coffee while drinking, as coffee is not only to keep them awake, but it is an art, a privilege in life. So have you ever noticed that the materials, textures and colours have a significant impact on the flavour of the coffee?

Is mug the best material for a perfect coffee?
Is mug the best material for a perfect coffee? (Source: Unsplash)

Why ceramic mug is the best for coffee?

It seems to be human nature to feel ceramic coffee mugs as a better experience, due to the location where you use them, either at home, office or a coffee shop, the weight, texture and the warm feeling while holding the mugs. Due to its natural characteristics of being solid and neutral, ceramic mugs do not absorb or impart flavours, hence, coffee tastes exactly like how it is supposed to be. Importantly, served in a ceramic mug, the coffee is insulated more, so it will be kept warm for quite a while and improving the tasting experience.

Another important point is that compared to other materials, ceramic mugs bring a more expensive feelings, especially with its ability to have fancy designs and beautiful glazes, all of which play a crucial role in the experience. According to a study published in the journal Flavour, the colour of the mugs actually affect the coffee taste. Based on the research, white mugs are considered to bring "significantly more intense" flavours than clear glasses, while in clear mugs, people perceived the coffee to taste sweeter. Funnily, mugs with blue colours bring out the most sweet and bitter notes of the coffee! So next time you go shopping for your coffee mugs, be aware of the colours that you are going to buy!

Why are paper and plastic cups the worst?

Not considering the environmental factors of those materials, I have never seen a speciality coffee shop serves their coffee in paper, plastic or styrofoam cups (except for takeaways).

Various types of materials for coffee cups
Various types of materials for coffee cups


Plastic has always been the number 1 choice for containers thanks to its impermeability and light weight. Nevertheless, as most coffee is served as a warm liquid, the high temperature (up to 85 degrees C), could affect the plastic, leeching chemicals into the coffee, changing its flavour and harming users' health. Plastic cups actually can absorb odours and flavours if coffee is left for a long time, making it taste bad.

Most plastic cups are made from BPA (Bisphenol A), and as BPA can enter the bodies after being released from the cups due to hot coffee liquid, they can affect the hormones directly, affecting reproductive health, brain health, and the alpha cells that produce insulin, leading to changing glucose level in the body. The BPA can also seriously affect the product of sperms, creating infertility problems. So men, be careful when you order a hot coffee in a plastic cup next time!


Paper cups are quite popular for hot coffee takeaways. But, it is probably the worst material for a cup of coffee! Papers are not usually manufactured for hot drinks, as they can seriously impart a flavour into the coffee.

More seriously, according to a research in India, hot beverages served in paper cups can releases tens of thousands of harmful plastic particles (up to 25,000 micron-sized particles) into the liquid. Those micro plastics contain contaminants like ions, toxic heavy metals (palladium, chromium and cadmium) and other organic compounds that can also harm the animals if released into the environment.

The enormous amount of single use waste from coffee cups
The enormous amount of single use waste from coffee cups

There are other alternatives for ceramic mugs, like stainless steel or glass, though, ceramic mugs still remain the most suitable material for coffee. Next time going for coffee, don't forget your reusable bottles or your own mugs, for the sake of your health and the environment!



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