Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher. – Chinese Proverb
This beautiful proverb can be applied to coffee as well!
The material of what the cup is made of influences the flavor and aroma of our final coffee drink. As a matter of fact, the same coffee beans – prepared with the same brewing technique – will taste different if we pour them in glasses, plastic, stainless steel, ceramic or porcelain cups.
Water is a solvent. At high temperatures, it is very likely that the water in our coffee will interact with the material of our cup. Therefore, we have to make sure that our cups are fired and glazed.
‘Only glass and highly vitrified materials such as De Hua or Jingdezhen porcelain have zero chemical interaction with the liquid they hold.’
Porcelain and Ceramic mugs
For flavour and aroma, high-quality porcelain and ceramic are the best choices. They do not absorb or give off flavours. They distribute the temperature of your coffee drink evenly. They preserve the flavour longer by holding the temperature longer.
The glass is a non-porous material. But compared to porcelain and ceramic, it does not distribute and retain the temperature of the coffee drink as evenly. The temperature cools down extremely quickly.
Plastic is convenient and light. However, over time, the porous material will absorb odors and flavors and add them to the coffee drink.
Stainless steel doesn’t absorb flavors. But – depending on the material and construction (many companies use cheap materials) – it may happen that finishes can slowly wash away into the coffee drink. In addition, there is a possibility that one of the coffee’s 1,000 compounds reacts oddly with metal, resulting in strange-tasting notes.