Best Tea Mugs
On the hunt for the best tea mug? Well in that case we have got you covered. In this guide we take a look at what features make for a great tea mug, and share with you our list of top tea mug picks.
Welcome back for another post on awesome tea making gear. So far we have covered teapots, brew baskets and of course tea itself. Which brings us to tea mugs. What makes a really great tea mug? What features should one look for in a tea mug? We will answer all these questions, as well as provide you with a list of our top tea mug picks from Amazon. Enjoy!
Why Hunt for the Best Tea Mug
If you are a tea lover and want to get yourself a superb mug, or want to buy one as a gift for a friend, then you want to know what to look for in a mug. What separates one mug from another? Is it worth paying more for certain features? And if so, which features are important to you?
Once you know the characteristics of a great mug that will suit your needs and requirements, then making a good purchase is easy. So let’s take a look at what specific features make for a great tea mug.
What Features Make for a Great Tea Mug
First up, let’s talk porosity. Ideally a tea mug should have as non-porous an interior as possible. This is because a non porous interior finish will be the best when it comes to not tainting or influencing the flavor of your tea. Mugs which have very porous interior finishes can absorb flavors from your tea, and release others into you brew.
There are instances where this feature is actually a desirable trait in tea ware. For example some chinese teapots like the clay Yixing pots are valued for their ability to absorb and impart flavors into tea. This however only works out well if you brew one type of tea and one type only. The same applies to a tea mug.
To sum up, if you are someone who specifically wants a tea mug with a high porosity interior, then you probably already know how to use a mug like this to its advantage. However generally speaking, it is best to go with a mug with a very low level of porosity in its finish.
Here are some of the main materials used for tea mugs which are non-porous.
Glazed ceramics make up a large portion of tea ware and tea mugs. They are non-porous and will not influence the flavor of your tea.
Porcelain is similar to ceramic and holds the same level of non-porosity. It will not influence the taste of your tea and is flavor neutral.
Glass is another material popular in tea ware and tea mugs which is non-porous and will not alter your tea’s flavor.
Stainless steel is often used for modern teaware, or tea mugs which are design to be suitable for camping or travelling. Good quality stainless steel is also a material which has a low level of porosity and will not influence the flavor of your tea.
Examples of tea mugs which could have an interior surface with a high porosity are unglazed clays and ceramics and certain metals such as cast iron.
It is always important to make sure that a tea mug you are thinking of purchasing does not contain any toxic substances in their finish. Lead is a common ingredient in some ceramic glazes. Always check to make sure that any glazes used in a cup you are interested in are lead free.
This makes ceramic mugs the most important to check, as they are almost always glazed.
Materials such as glass and stainless steel are pretty much neutral, and any harmful substances in mugs made out of these would only come from painted or glued components.
The shape of a tea mug can greatly influence the tea drinking experience that it yields. There are two ways in which a tea mug’s shape will impact the tea drinking experience:
How Mug Shape Affects Tea
The shape of a tea mug influences the way the tea in it enters your mouth. This has an impact on how it tastes and feels to drink. The shape of a tea mug also influences how the aroma reaches your nose, which also plays a part in the tea drinking experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the different shapes of mugs out there and how they influence tea drinking.
Tulip Shaped Mugs
Tulip shaped mugs are famous for concentrating the aromas coming up in the steam of the tea to your nose. They make for a great aroma experience, and are often used for the drinking of aromatic teas.
Tall Thin Mugs
Tall thin mugs have a similar effect as tulip shaped ones. They emphasize aroma, and keep it coming all the way through the cup of tea.
Wide Shallower Mugs
Wider and more shallow mugs have their selling point in the ‘mouth feel’ that they bring. They do not provide such powerful wafts of aroma, as much floats aways. However their shape is ideal for experiencing the body of a tea and the texture and taste of it. These types of mugs are often used for black teas, as their focal feature is their body and mouth feel.
All Round Desirable Features for Tea Mugs
While wide, shallow, tall, or squat is really a personal preference when it comes to tea mugs – there is one thing that almost all tea drinkers agree on. And that is the lip of a tea mug.
For the most easefull and enjoyable tea drinking experience it is usually best to go for a tea mug which has a thin and slightly curved lip. This allows the tea to slip smoothly into your mouth and for there to be no struggle involved in the drinking of it. Which means all of your focus can go onto the tea and its flavor.
A very thick or wide rimmed mug on the other hand requires a fair amount of care when drinking from.
A mug should also not burn your hand when holding it. Some mugs, such as enamelled metal ones, are notorious for their scald!
How Mug Shape Affects You
Besides the way a mug can affect tea itself, it can also have an impact on you the drinker. Such as, if a you like very hot tea, and use a handleless mug – you will probably burn your hand trying to drink it. Which is obviously not an affect you want your tea drinking to have on you.
For this reason it is important to choose mug shapes which suit you, your tea drinking preferences and even your body shape. Are you a small person who struggles to hold oversized mugs of tea? Then choose small or light cups. Or are you someone who has large fingers? Then make sure that any mugs you buy have handles through which your hand fits comfortably.
Level of Heat Retention / Conduction
Different mugs made out of different materials have different levels of heat retention or conduction. This is something to be aware of when choosing a tea mug. If you like your tea to be as hot as possible, then you should go for a mug which is made out of a material which has a decent level of heat retention.
Ceramics & Porcelain
Porcelain and ceramics are considered to be of the best materials for heat retention in mugs.
Glass has quite a high level of heat conductivity and therefore is not known to be a good material for retaining heat in mugs. You will however sometime see glass mugs with double walls – these have a much better level of heat retention than single walled glass mugs.
Stainless steel mugs are also not known for their ability to retain heat as they have a high level of heat conductivity. There are however a couple twists to this. Stainless steel which has been preheated with hot water, thanks to its capacity for heat conduction, will keep your tea hot for a good length of time. This is because the stainless steel has the ability to absorb a lot of heat from the water used for pre-heating, and to then release this back into the hot tea, keeping it hotter for longer.
Also, stainless steel mugs which are have double walls, like the glass double walled mugs, are very insulating and will keep your tea hot for good lengths of time.
Plastic is a very insulating substance, however in general plastic is not an ideal substance for a tea mug. Only very high quality plastics are thought to be completely safe and non reactive.
By and large it is best to stay away from mugs made from plastic. They can leach harmful chemicals into your brew, and taint it with unwanted plastic flavors.
Suited to Your Preferences
Most importantly, the mug you choose should be suited to your personal preferences. Here are some key factors to consider when thinking about your personal preferences.
Mug size is a personal preference which you should definitely keep in mind when choosing a tea mug. Having a mug that is the perfect size for your tea drinking preferences can go a long way to making a mug a pleasure to use.
As mentioned above, keep in mind how mug shapes will affect flavor and fit in your hands.
Looks and feel aside, as mentioned above the material out of which a mug is made influences the rate at which it cools down. So make sure to keep this in mind when choosing your mug.
Other personal considerations include things like:
- Must your mug travel well?
- Do you want it to display well?
- Must it be dishwasher safe?
- Must it be microwave safe?
Do you feel like a mug buying pro yet? Well to make matters even easier, we have also compiled a list of top tea mugs that we have found.
Our Top Tea Mug Picks
This understated state of the art mug comes first on our list just because.. it is so damn cool! Definitely one of the cool kids when it comes to tea mugs.
Made from top quality ceramic, this mug comes with a heat pad. The heat pad looks like a minimalistic saucer. It can be remotely adjusted to to keep your tea the exact temperature you like it. You can save settings for different beverages, choose between Celsius and Fahrenheit, and even select your preferred LED color.
And if you are not sure about all this gadgetry? They offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you purchase through their site directly. They also extend a one year guarantee on the mug and pad.
Buyers who have bought the Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug on Amazon have a lot of good things to say about this product such as:
“I love this product. Before receiving my Ember as a Fathers day present, my coffee experience was limited to enjoying a half a cup before it went lukewarm.”
I thought the Ember mug was going to be complicated but it was super easy to set up and use! It prevents multiple trips to the microwave and keeps my coffee at a constant temperature! It compliments my Nespresso espresso which never gets particularly hot. I can make it hotter which I LOVE.
This mug makes a life with many “blessings” or ahem, “interruptions” less frustrating knowing I can run carpool, chat with a neighbor in the yard, or take an important business call will full confidence that my coffee will be hot when I go back to it!
I wish I had this when my kids were little, I never seemed to be able to get to the bottom of a hot cuppa tea.
Enjoying my mug every day!”
Switching things up to the classics of classics, here we have the Jusalpha Royal Fine Bone China Light Blue Stripe Tea Cup. Quite a mouthful hey? But a pretty enough teacup to make saying it worth it.
Crafted from bone china, it also boasts a gold plated handle and rim. Speaking of rims, sipping tea from this cup is bound to be an absolute pleasure, as the rims is super thin and has a beautiful curve for effortless sips.
The slightly fluted shaped of this cup should also act to enhance the aroma and mouth feel of the tea.
Customer reviews on this product are through the roof positive with a 93% 5 star rating.
Here is a review from a pleased buyer who supports the fact the the material used is genuine bone china:
“Bought these as 36th wedding anniversary gift. They do seem to be genuine BONE china which is a special type of porcelain made with powdered cow bones. They are sturdy, yet still translucent–if you hold them up to the light you can see your fingers on the other side of the cup. Exquisite detail and decoration. My mom loved them, they are very elegant and pretty.”
And for a second choice in the classic line, we have this floral tea mug from Royal Albert. They specialise in fine bone china teaware, and this pretty cup came out to celebrate the hundred year anniversary of the company. Should I say more?
Made from fine bone china, it’s rim is edged in a 22 carat gold band. Is has the classic rounded mug shape, with a handle curved for a comfortable hold.
Tea lovers who have bought this mug seem to agree that it is not only gorgeous, but also resilient enough for everyday use. It is dishwasher safe, and though delicate to the eye is durable and strong.
Take note, the one drawback of tea cups with gold edgings is that THEY ARE NOT MICROWAVE SAFE.
Ceramic Coffee Mug Tea Cup with Magnetic Bamboo Bowl Multifunction Stackable Versatile Bamboo bowl 2 in 1 Snack & Drink Cup Stoneware & Bamboo Mug
Next up we have the unique and well thought out Stoneware & Bamboo Mug. This tea mug is perfect if you like to brew bagged tea and never know what to do with the bag. Tired of keeping track of saucers of soggy tea bags? Or do you make tea at the office and hate throwing the wet bags into your wastepaper basket? Then this may be the mug for you.
This clever tea mug consists of a ceramic top, and a bamboo base which detaches. The two components are held together magnetically. Once you are done with your tea bag, you can conveniently store it in the base, until you go back to the kitchen with your empty mug after drinking the tea.
The mug is advertised as non toxic, natural and eco friendly. It is also multipurpose, as it is designed to double as a portable snack cup if desired.
The only drawback to this design could be that it does not have handle. Which means that if you drink your tea very hot, there is a possibility that the cup may be hot to hold. If this is true for you, but you love handleless and portable mug designs, then this next one may be for you.
Ceramic Travel Mug with Lid, Double-Walled Insulated Cup with Deep Stainless Steel Tea Infuser and Bonus Silicone Top – Extra Tall Single Cup
Say hello a really outstanding travel mug. This travel mug is made out of ceramic, sports a double wall design, and comes with its own infuser basket… And two tops for heat retention. One is ceramic for home use, and the other silicone for car and other travel. How cool is that?
The double wall means that your tea will stay hot for longer. And the handleless design will not scald your hands, because the outer surface stays cool to the touch thanks to the double wall.
The mug works perfectly for travel, as it fits well in car cup holders (some travel mug which have handles do not fit well at all!). While at the same time transitioning seamlessly for at home or at office use with its attractive marble design.
Customers who have bought this product on Amazon seem to really love this mug, and the reviews on its quality, functionality, durability and versatility are overwhelmingly positive.
“Very pretty, very functional, have made tea in it every day, with loose tea and it imparts a better taste, is very easy to fit in your car cup holder as it doesn’t have a side handle to get in the way. Stays warm a good long time, and the cap cover has an excellent sipping design, doesn’t drip, and is soft to your lip.”
If you love the lid on the previous design, but won’t go handleless, then consider this beautiful blue Brewing Mug from Primula Abbey.
It also comes with its own fitted infuser basket, hence the name brewing mug. If you are someone who likes brewing their tea in a mug without the hassle of using a teapot, then this a great choice of mug.
The ceramic structure of the brewing mug has a good level of heat retention. The fitted ceramic lid further helps to keep heat in while your tea is steeping. This is important for ‘mug brewing’ as tea which is steeped directly in a mug can lose heat quickly.
The steeper component is made out of stainless steel, and is of a good size. Which is important for optimum tea leaf infusion.
The one possible drawback of this brewing mug is that it is not dishwasher safe. Which brings us to..
This mug has the same functionality and quality design as the previous brewing mug, and is also dishwasher safe! It comes with its own good sized steeping basket and fitted lid. The lid can also act as a drip tray for the infuser once the tea leaves have steeped.
The mug comes in a variety of colors, so if smart black is not your taste, then there are many colors to choose from.
Also, as the previous brewing mugs do not have a large amount of reviews, we thought we would share this one for the those of you who only buy products which have a boat load of positive reviews. Because this mug has just that. Over 400 reviews, 86% of them awarding the mug 5 stars.
Here is an informative review from a happy customer:
“I own two of these, with one more on its way. We drink a lot of loose tea and we each like to choose our own flavor, so these mugs are very convenient for us.
Why do we love them? The infuser is nice and wide, allowing the leaves to fully open. The mug holds plenty so you get a nice serving with room to spare while the leaves are steeping. The lid holds the heat in while the tea is steeping, it helps when the weather is colder. The lid also conveniently holds the infuser when you’re done steeping, so no messes. Everything can go right into the dishwasher, so much easier than cleaning a teapot. Also, and this is just my personal preference, I prefer tea from a cup or mug that isn’t really thick at the edge and this mug is pleasing to me. Again, just my preference. We also love the choices of colors, ours are all different.
The first mug has been through three moves so I don’t feel like they’re really delicate, but we haven’t had any drops either.
Need a mug with an infuser? I’d recommend it!”
As you can see, we sure do like brewing mugs around here! For the last of our brewing mug picks we have the FORLIFE Uni Brew-in-Mug. We featured this mug particulary for its classic curved mug design. Apart from its shape it boasts the same elements as the previous two.
The mug has its own large capacity infuser basket with extra fine holes for keeping in fine bits of tea. It is made out of stainless steel for long term durability.
The lid is made out of BPA free silicone. All parts are dishwasher and microwave safe.
This mug also has a rampage of positive reviews. Here is an informative review from a happy buyer:
“This mug is amazing! I have had just about every type of mug ever created (my cupboards are groaning) and so far I love this one the best. It was well worth the $22 I spent.
*It also has the largest tea infuser basket I have ever seen packaged with a mug.
*The mesh on the infuser basket is very fine, even loose leaf tea that’s powdery will be adequately strained.
*It’s lovely. The mug is well made. Beautifully colored on the outside and white on the inside. A quality piece of dishware. It’s smooth all over and does not seem likely to stain or be hard to clean.
*It has a lid. The lid fits well (not snugly, it’s not for travel) and has a ridge that helps keep the condensation from leaking out onto your desk when you remove it and lay it down upside down. This also will serve to catch the drips from the infuser basket.
*Everything is dishwasher-friendly
*The parts that need to be microwave-friendly are”
Moving on to a more contemporary design, we have the Le Creuset Stoneware Tea Mug. Creuset is well known for their top quality products, and this mug is no exception. Fired at temperatures as high as 2192ºf, the mug is hard wearing and durable.
The superior and impermeable enamel finish means that the mug is completely non-porous. The ensures that the mug is flavor neutral and will not absorb or give off flavors. It also contributes to the durability of mug by ensuring that no moisture is absorbed into the stoneware which could potentially weaken it.
The mug is thick and sturdy, however the rim tapers to a thinner edge, and flares out a little. As mentioned before this is ideal for easy and enjoyable sipping.
At 14 ounces, the Creuset mug is slightly larger than a regular sized mug. This is great if you want that little bit extra volume of tea, without the hassle of brewing a fresh cup. The handle is also a decent size, perfect for anybody who struggles with small handles on mugs.
Customers reviews are predominantly positive for this mug line of Creuset’s. Here is a descriptive review from a happy buyer:
“The lip of the mug flares out at the top which makes it feel like you are hugging the mug with your lips when you take a drink. Plus I can fit 3 fingers in the handle. It’s the best mug I’ve ever owned”
If your tastes lean towards the rustic, then you may want to check out this handmade handwarmer mug by Clay in Motion. Located in Oregon, this husband and wife team put out high quality one of a kind fired mugs.
This particular mug of theirs features a hand warming ‘handle’. The handle features a pocket on the inner side, into which your fingers can fit for a good grip. Which the outer cover section helps to keep your hand warm! Take note that these mugs are designed to fit either the left or right hand. This one is the right handed version, so if you are left handed be sure to select the left handed version.
All of their pottery is lead free and dishwasher and microwave safe.
This unusual design, while appealing, would have had us doubting its functionality, if it were not for its large consensus of positive customer reviews. Customers who have bought these mugs say that they are well crafted, attractive, retain heat very well… and of course keep your hands warm! One drawback is that once filled with hot tea they can be hot to hold as you are gripping the body of the mug itself and not a freestanding handle. So if you are someone who has sensitive hands, or likes to drink your tea very hot – then rather try out one of their regular handled designs.
Moving on to glass tea mugs, we have the Excellent Tea Mug by Grosche. This tea mug is double walled, and made out of Borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is heat proof and highly durable.
The double walls on this tea mug are a winner, as this insulating design means that your tea will stay hot for a lot longer than in a single walled glass mug. Double walls also mean that the mug is always touch safe on the outside, as it will not get hot enough to scald one’s fingers. Another element to this design is that the double wall has the effect of making your drink appear to be floating in mid air!
The large capacity of 16 ounces means that this mug too is one of those where you are never in the position of wanting a bit more tea, but reluctant to brew up whole nother mug.
Shoppers who have bought this mug on Amazon seem to be generally well pleased with its design, size and functionality.
“Very light weight. Almost feels like plastic, but is glass. Handle fits a big hand and keeps coffee hot much longer than regular glass.”
For a slightly cheaper yet as functional option, we have the Eos Crystal Double Layer Glass. Double walls just make so much sense in a glass tea mug, that our second option had to have them!
As with the above mug, the double walls gives this mug a heightened level of heat retention – a common problem when it comes to glass mugs. It also makes the outside touch safe and has an attractive visual effect.
Unlike the previous mug, this one comes with a fitted cup cover, perfect for those of you who like to keep your tea piping hot. Having a fitted lid for your mug is also ideal if you like to do mug brewing. When brewing tea directly in a mug, a portion of heat is lost during steeping if you do not cover your mug. With this mug, there is no need to fiddle around with an ill fitted saucer for a makeshift cover.
Customers who have bought this mug largely voted it 5 stars, and report that it is a quality product.
“Looks great, keeps drinks hot for long time and cool to touch outside. The lid is nice quality too and stays tight. Great product.”
Most avid tea drinkers not only need a good tea mug at home, but one for the outdoors as well! And so we have our selection of top outdoor mugs.
The first is from Paria. Made out of titanium it is a highly durable option. Being double walled, it is very well insulted and will keep tea hot for a good length of time. The double walls of course also mean that you will not burn your fingers on the outside.
For easy packing and compactness, the handle is hinged, and can be swung back against the side of the mug. The fact that the mug is made out of titanium also means that it is very light ((4.5 ounces), a bonus for travelling.
Paria promises that thanks to the incredible strength of titanium (and the fact that it is corrosion resistant), this will be the last camping mug you will ever buy. And they back this up with their limited lifetime manufacturer warranty.
Customers who have bought this mug largely agree that it is just about everything you want in an outdoor mug, and that it is of a very high quality.
“Lightweight and insulates extremely well. Used this recently on a 4 day backpacking trip. They keep your coffee and tea hot for a long time without the penalty of being heavy. I used to use a double wall plastic cup that weighs 3 times what this does and it did not keep beverages hot as long.”
If you love the idea of a double walled and sturdy outdoor mug, but can’t justify going titanium, then here is a very affordable option in stainless steel.
These stainless steel tea mugs from Better For You are also doubled walled and will keep your tea hotter for longer. While of course not burning your hands like non-doubled walled metal camping mugs can.
Even though these mugs are not made out of titanium, they are made out of 100% 304 stainless steel. This means that they are also very durable and will not rust.
Lastly, as a clever extra, each mug is printed with the word ‘purple’ or ‘orange’… So that you never get your mugs confused!
Customers on Amazon who have ordered these mugs report that they are very well functioning and durable.
“These mugs are very high quality. They are comfortable in your hand and do seem to keep hot drinks hot longer than ceramic mugs. These mugs are also durable (yes, I have dropped one) and withstand normal household use well. They are also dishwasher safe. “
And there you have it! Our top mug picks, as well as what elements make up the perfect tea mug. We hope you have enjoyed this list of mugs and tips. May you find, or have found, the ultimate tea mug for your needs. Or, if you have any mugs you recommend which did not appear in this list, give us a shout in the comments. And until next time…
Happy brewing everyone. : )