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  • Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

    What do I need to know about them before I embark on more coffee related puchases ;D What to look for, sizes, style, anything that will help a home coffee making novice

  • #2
    Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

    That depends on what youre going to be making/using them for.


    Java "What a mug!" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    • #3
      Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

      Hi Ali,

      I guess that the most important thing is volume. The standard milk-based drink in a cafe is 210mL (7oz) in Australia, so you can use that as your frame of reference. Personally, I find that a bit weak and a bit more milk than I care for, so I tend to use 170mL cups, which are the world barista competition standard. However, I tend to make my milk drinks at home by using the first two thirds of a double shot. Experiment and youll discover what you like.

      If you are interested in pouring latte art, the cup shape will definitely make a difference. Straight sides make things difficult because the milk doesnt naturally flow how you need it to. You can still do it, but if you are just starting out, using something like the standard duralex latte glass will be an exercise in frustration. If you want to train yourself to pour good latte art, you probably want the biggest bowl-shaped cups that you can find ... though remember that in terms of size there is a definite trade-off between art-friendliness and taste. Cups with narrower bottoms help to retain the crema of your espresso - another reason why cups and mugs with straight sides suck.

      There are a few vessels around that actually give you an indication of volume, but you have to be careful because soemtimes they are not accurate. A few years ago, Con from 7 Grams cafe struck gold with the American Libbey rocks glasses, which are starting to develop quite a following. They have what looks like a welded line in them at 30mL and are available in 210mL capacity - a much better alternative to the standard duralex glass, IMHO. If you want to get them, you will need to check out restaurant supply stores.

      People constantly go on about how heavy cups are and link that to their ability to keep the contents hot. In fact, a physics professor in Perth showed that this is a myth a few years ago - the heat loss occurs from the top. That said, theres no doubt that the cup can influence the perception of how hot the drink is. If the cup is too light, it will cool as soon as you remove it from the top of the espresso machine. If it is too heavy, it will take forever to heat up on your cup warmer. Best to seek advice from goldilocks.

      Finally, theres a "fit and finish" aspect that is probably important. The cups that I have seen with the nicest looking and most durable glaze are from Inker, ACF and IPA. (Disclaimer: I work for a company that sells ACF ... and thats a large part of why we sell them.) These cups will cop a beating and still look beautiful after years of use in a cafe. In fact, one of my favourite espresso cups is an ancient Inker cup that was given to me by a barista at an ancient espresso bar in Rome. It has a few chips out of the base, but is still going strong. However, cups are the same as anything else - it is possible to spend an infinite amount (google Terra Keramik), so its best to check out whats available and decide whether you want to go for something that is functional and durable art, or something a bit more utilitarian.

      Cheers,

      Luca

      PS. I will give everyone one very handy hint - coffee cups tend to pick up stains from milk and coffee, regardless of how much you run them through the dishwasher. These stains are perfectly harmless and often hard to spot. If you have coffee cups that are starting to look a bit ragged, you will be surprised how much lustre you can restore by soaking them in a sink full of hot water and three or four spoons of cafetto espresso machine detergent - the best thing for getting rid of coffee stains. Make sure to rinse the cups very well afterwards; stick them in the dishwasher as well. I do this weekly at work and theres no doubt that the cups sparkle more at the beginning of the week than at the end. At home, if Im experimenting with a number of shots, Ill tip the espresso out of the cups, add a little water and then spray in some cafetto solution from a spray bottle - does wonders for the inside of the cups!

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      • #4
        Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

        Thanks Luca. Thats really comprehensive and gives me a lot to look into

        Originally posted by Javaphile link=1211240629/0#1 date=1211251837
        That depends on what youre going to be making/using them for.
        Im a milk coffee person, but I have a couple of friends who like expresso and macchiato and am getting quite a few requests for hot chocolates now I have a milk steamer :. I guess Im looking at having a small selection of different options

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        • #5
          Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

          Hi Ali

          You might also consider Nuova Point as a good alternative to the ACF cups. They are somewhat different as they are fired at a higher temperature - true porcelain.

          As for the espresso, I like these Illys nudes...made of heavy crystal, collectable, expensive, and yes, I sell them! Photos dont do them justice, but for what its worth...


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          • #6
            Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

            Those Illy cups are lovely!

            I dropped past a local cooking shop and looked on the clearance table and picked up a set of 4 white Italian made "Milano" style Cappuccino cups for $20.  The brand I think is "Point".  Theyre really nice.  They dont seem to say nuova on the packaging anywhere so I dont know if its the Nuova Point brand

            They also had a smaller set of 4 - the packaging also said cappuccino cups but it looked smaller than this Milano style.  I was thinking of getting them too, but I really would prefer some espresso cups.

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            • #7
              Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

              Originally posted by Ali link=1211240629/0#5 date=1211342315
              Those Illy cups are lovely!

              I dropped past a local cooking shop and looked on the clearance table and picked up a set of 4 white Italian made "Milano" style Cappuccino cups for $20. The brand I think is "Point". Theyre really nice. They dont seem to say nuova on the packaging anywhere so I dont know if its the Nuova Point brank

              They also had a smaller set of 4 - the packaging also said cappuccino cups but it looked smaller than this Milano style. I was thinking of getting them too, but I really would prefer some espresso cups.
              Good news Ali - the cups you bought are nuova point!

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              • #8
                Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                My favourite glass to drink out of is a Duralex. I like glasses because I get to see how the shot looks as it pours into it. Then I can pour in the milk and get some latte art if I want still. The Duralex come in a range of sizes as well. I only use these at home.

                At work I have my own glass but its just an Ikea glass. Actually, theyre not all that great as they seem to break real easy but what do you expect for 2 bucks for 6 glasses!? ;D But I prefer to drink from that one rather than the other latte glasses we have. And I certainly wont be taking any of my Duralex glasses in anytime soon...

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                • #9
                  Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                  My current favourite glass is here
                  <-----
                  It is about 100 ml. so it works great for my piccolo lattes and with the small base is fine for short black.
                  Greg

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                    I use the HUGE Ikea glasses for my lil brothers, as they enjoy the massive chocolate hit, hehe.

                    Oh and the huge glasses are a great excuse for triple shots...just to turn off the twitch. ;-)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                      Originally posted by luca link=1211240629/0#2 date=1211252052
                      Con from 7 Grams cafe struck gold with the American Libbey rocks glasses, which are starting to develop quite a following. They have what looks like a welded line in them at 30mL and are available in 210mL capacity - a much better alternative to the standard duralex glass, IMHO.

                      Luca,

                      Its funny youve mentioned these, Ive actually been experimenting with a few of these Libbey Rocks Gibralter glasses for the past few months. The kitchen joint near work sells these in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The difference a lot of them have is the shape of the inner base. A lot more bowl shaped and rounded (than it looks from the outside). Its like having an ACF or NP tulip inside a glass tumbler, but obviously looks squarer from the outside(see pic attached). They are super solid and you can bash em around with no worries. Im working through the different sizes they have within the 207ml, 237ml and 267ml. They actually have different shaped bases.

                      YeeZa

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                        Well I really like the cups I bought. I really like the thickness of the cups. Id also like to get some cups around 200-220ml also for cafe lattes. Id prefer cups to glasses A couple of friends have commented that they like their coffee more milky. The nuova point ones only seem to hold about 160ml.

                        Any suggestions?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                          NP/ACF tulips hold about 150mls

                          The bowl capp cups holds about 190mls.

                          I pour lattes / caps in the tulips, caps/flat whites in the bowls.

                          Milk/coffee ratio is pretty good. At least thats what everyones been saying.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                            Ive been using Duralex glasses for a while...in a range of sizes and styles.

                            Look great...good price!

                            Cheers,
                            Dave

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tell me about cups, mugs and glasses

                              Hey Gavin

                              You need to add 20mL to each of those figures! (I wish I could get a 150mL tulip!)

                              Hey Yeeza,

                              Funny YOU should mention that. Blue Bottle in San Fran use the small gibraltar as their ACF tulip equivalent: see photo. If you order a gibraltar, its a double shot, topped up with whole milk. No substitutions allowed.. Im not sure, but I think that the smallest gibraltar glass is 7oz, which would mean that the Blue Bottle gibraltar is basically a double shot latte ... and would throw into relief the "standard" 210mL latte that they drink over there.

                              Here, St Ali, BBB, First Pour and Maling Room do a similar thing. You can get a double shot latte/cappuccino thing in an ACF tulip by asking for a "magic." I think that theyre on the menu at Maling Room as a "barista latte," though. Dont ask me why we didnt just go with "tulip." If you ask me for a "tulip," Ill know what you mean. Damned barista slang.

                              The Libbey gibraltar series also includes the latte glass in GregWorlmalds avatar. Cibo in Adelaide use them, from memory. Theyre cool. I think that they have a 5oz version as well as the short mac version.

                              From what I have seen, the gibraltar curved base isnt anywhere near as curved as a bowl-shaped cup or a tulip.

                              Cheers,

                              Luca

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