Best Shape For A Coffee Mug

Your go-to coffee mug may be your favorite color, your most giant mug, or a special gift. So many different colors, shapes, styles, and prints for coffee mugs exist out there. However, have you ever considered what the best shape would be for a coffee mug?

The best shape for a coffee mug is a tulip-shaped mug. A tulip-shaped mug is smaller at the top than at the bottom. This specific shape of a coffee mug can enhance the aroma and taste of your coffee. Coffee from a tulip-shaped mug comes in at the top in taste test competitions.

It may seem surprising that the mere shape of a mug can influence the flavor of the beverage being drunk, in this case, coffee. Although the reason for this has been mainly deemed unknown, some scientists say it is psychological.

The Best Shape For A Coffee Mug

A tulip-shaped mug, smaller at the top than the bottom of the mug, has been the best shape for drinking coffee. This shape affects the flavor and aroma of the coffee, particularly by enhancing it positively.

This phenomenon is not so different from other beverages that scientists have tested in various shape vessels. You may already know that other drinks, such as wine, can be influenced by the shape and size of glasses. Similarly, soft drinks tend to taste better when served in a glass bottle compared to a plastic bottle.

With wine, a different shape glass changes the flow properties of the wine on the tongue. Scientists also concluded that they found potential differences in aroma retention. While experts are not sure exactly why this happens with coffee and tulip-shaped mugs, they can compare some findings from other beverages.

An experiment, including 276 people at a coffee exhibition in Brazil, was done to see the influence of different mug shapes on the taste of coffee. This study was done in 2018. There were three different mug shapes: tulip-shaped, open, and split.

The open mug shape had its top part (the rim) wider than the bottom, like a typical paper coffee cup. The split mug shape was like an hourglass, with the smallest element in the middle. Everyone had to taste some coffee in all three cups and say something about the coffee’s aroma, sweetness, and acidity.

The results from the study showed that the shape of the mug influenced the way people perceived the coffee. This finding was true for people who didn’t know much about coffee and experts. The tulip-shaped mug came top in this taste test.

Why Is It Important To Know The Best Shape For A Coffee Mug?

Knowing that different shapes can alter the sensory experience of coffee can influence your decision on which mugs to buy. Especially if you are a coffee fanatic, you may want to know which mugs could make coffee taste slightly more acidic.

 Coffee should also be a multi-sensory experience, including more than the quality of the beans and method of brewing. A tulip shape for a coffee mug can add to your holistic experience, bring out even more flavor and aroma.

From a research and knowledge perspective, the observation that a coffee mug has the best shape is in line with other findings on wine and glass shapes. The more we know, the better we can present and consume our delicious coffee.

Is The Tulip-Shaped Coffee Mug The Best For Everyone?

Although a study found that the tulip-shaped coffee mug was judged the best for enhanced aroma and flavor, it may not necessarily be the best option for you. The coffee mug you choose should be able to suit your unique needs.

For example, the split shape mentioned in the experiment was reported to change the sensory perception of the coffee to more acidity. However, some pro coffee tasters enjoyed it a little more than amateur tasters.

It’s all about what works for you. Do you enjoy more acidity, sweetness, or aroma? Consider these different qualities before you decide, and you could also try coffee from other mugs at coffee shops. But if a superior aroma is what you are looking for, then the tulip-shaped mug may be the best for you.

Other Features To Consider For A Coffee Mug

As we have established, the shape of a coffee mug is significant for the general sensory experience. There are other related factors of mugs that one should consider for the best possible coffee.

The material of the coffee mug is essential, based on its purpose. Many mugs are made from ceramic, which does not retain the flavors and aromas as well. Insulated stainless steel mugs can do the trick for more practical and heat-retaining purposes. If you aim to have a sleek and trendy look, glass is an excellent material.

The volume a coffee mug can hold also plays a role in which mug you choose to buy. An oversized mug may be the right choice for you, knowing you need more than a regular 12-ounce coffee mug. A smaller mug would work well for espressos and drinkers who tend to leave half their coffee.

The features and construction of mugs are very different. Some coffee mugs are easy to clean, so that you can just put them in the dishwasher; others are a bit more fragile. The handle is also a feature you may want to look out for, as mugs that get hot easily would be easier to handle with a more oversized handle.


According to a study done in Brazil, a tulip-shaped coffee mug is the best shape. This shape enhances the aroma and flavor of the coffee. Although the exact science behind why this happens is unclear, it matches up with similar wine and other drinks observations.

Other coffee mug shapes, like a split shape, can still work well, depending on what you want to experience from the coffee. This shape gives more acidity, but expert coffee tasters gave it a good rating.


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