12 July 2023

Sip in Taste: How to Pick Your Perfect Coffee Cup

How often do you drink coffee?

In the midst of the recent global trends, it's likely that many people have been spending more time at home. Whether it's for the morning wake-up, a break during the work, or simply for relaxing, having a moment to take a breath in our daily life is sometimes incredibly important.

As someone who runs a cafe, I would like to share some small pieces of advice that I hope you'll consider when enjoying your coffee.


Minako Yamada

Writer and Editor
Owner of a cultural space in Tokyo with the theme of "Literature, Vintage Clothing, and Cafe." She has a strong interest in primitive art, contemporary art, philosophy, cultural anthropology, and discourse studies.


  • My Shop in Tokyo
  • The Important Elements for Delicious Coffee
  • Let's See the Differences
  • A Life with Coffee

My Shop in Tokyo

I found myself enchanted by the enigmatic beverage known as coffee, which possessed an unfathomable and endlessly expansive worldview, all without my realization.

I opened a shop in Tokyo with a theme of "literature × vintage clothing × coffee." My goal is to create a place where people could gather and naturally connect, like classic cafes in the early 20th century. I wanted to make it a laid-back space where customers could drop by without any hassle. That's why I decided to dive into the art of coffee and learn it properly.

Nowadays, I offer a variety of specialty coffees that customers can choose from. And when it comes to the coffee cups, I like to keep it local and authentic. So, I mainly use Kutani cups made in my hometown. As I make coffee day in and day out, I've come to realize that the taste and overall impressions can be influenced not only by the beans and brewing techniques but also by the shape and material of the cup.

Customers have also given me some great feedback, which has made me ponder even more deeply about the connection between the cup and the flavor.

The Important Elements for Delicious Coffee

Coffee undergoes significant flavor changes under various conditions. Factors such as temperature, coarseness of the grind, and brewing time are widely recognized as important elements when making coffee.

However, how many people are truly aware that the taste of carefully brewed coffee can also be influenced by the shape and material of the cup from which it is consumed?

Actually, here is one of the scientific researches.

 A study titled "The Tactile Thickness of the Lip and Weight of a Glass Can Modulate Sensory Perception of Tea Beverage" published in the journal "Food and Humanity" revealed that the glass used when drinking a beverage can influence its taste. 

Previous research found that visual and tactile cues from containers impact beverage taste. This study examined the tactile input from lips, exploring the influence of glass rim thickness on green tea flavor. Results revealed that green tea tasted sweeter in a thick glass and more bitter in a thin glass. Glass weight was also a significant factor.

(Fuka Ichimura, Kosuke Motoki, Koji Matsushita, Atsunori Ariga, The tactile thickness of the lip and weight of a glass can modulate sensory perception of tea beverage, Food and Humanity, Volume 1, 2023, Pages 180-187, ISSN 2949-8244, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foohum.2023.05.011.)

Let's See the Differences

Now let's take a look while actually drinking coffee this time.
Broadly speaking, there are several aspects to consider:

- Rim thickness
- Shape
- Weight
- Material

Thin Rim : Refreshing Flavor

When you want to enjoy the aroma while drinking black coffee, cups with thin rims are recommended. Thin rims facilitate the release of flavors and aromas. Of course, due to their thinness, the temperature tends to decrease faster. However, with black coffee, you can experience delightful variations in taste and aroma, much like the changing notes of a perfume, depending on the temperature range. So, you can fully indulge in and appreciate these transformations.

Thick Rim : Rich Flavor

If you're looking to create a cozy and warm cafe experience, cups with thick rims are a perfect match. The thickness of the rim adds a sense of calmness and can make the coffee taste sweeter, softening the sharpness of the flavors.

Latte Cup : Harmony

For drinking lattes, cups with thick rims are also recommended.

If you want to create latte art, cups with a wider opening are easier to work with. However, keep in mind that a wider opening increases the surface area exposed to air, making the drink cool down faster. If you're primarily concerned about the taste, simply opt for cups with thick rims. Thin rims can cause the milk to pour out first, resulting in a separation between the coffee and milk, with lingering foam. With thick rims, the entire drink harmonizes well, allowing you to enjoy a smooth and creamy texture created by the foam.

Round Shape : Aroma

When you want to enjoy stronger aromas, try using cups or glasses with a round shape. For iced coffee, wine glasses are also a great choice. Similar to wine or whiskey, with a round-shaped vessel, aromas tend to linger, making it easier to savor the fragrant notes.

Heavy Cup : Richness

Using a solid and weighty cup enhances the richness and makes the flavors feel more substantial. It's fascinating how our senses work, isn't it? On the other hand, with a lightweight cup, the flavors can feel more delicate and gentle. If you're someone who wants to fully indulge in bold and robust coffee flavors, paying attention to the weight of the cup is a good idea.

The Edo Kiriko Glass : Coolness

This is simply visually stunning.

The Edo Kiriko glass, with its captivating cutwork, is a sight to behold. When you hold it in your hands and view it from different angles, light reflects off the intricately carved patterns, resembling a glimpse into a kaleidoscope. The transparent coloring further enhances its beauty, reflecting the colors of the coffee. It's a sight that never gets old. With its cool and refreshing appearance, it's truly a perfect match for iced coffee.

A Life with Coffee


With sleepy eyes, you make your way down to the kitchen, preparing to brew coffee. As you grind the beans, boil water, and pour it over the grounds, you relish in the moment when the aroma fills the air, swirling around you. Taking a deep breath, you inhale the fragrant scent with all your might, allowing it to fill your chest. With closed eyes, a smile unconsciously forms, signaling your readiness to embrace the day ahead. Pouring the finished coffee into a pre-warmed cup, you once again savor the aroma as you take the first sip. The aroma, sweetness, and harmonious blend of bitterness spread throughout your mouth, bringing a comforting sense that escapes with a gentle sigh.

I sincerely hope that these tips for choosing coffee cups will strongly assist you in making these moments, like precious treasures, even more joyful and fulfilling.

Even for me, the time spent brewing coffee for customers at the cafe is a soothing moment where I can immerse myself in the pleasant aroma, completely forgetting about everything else. It is a simple, pure moment of happiness without any considerations.