Video 9 – Cups

29 Comments

  1. I drink coffee out of a Nuova Point Amalfi cappuccino cup. I don’t preheat it, and I take a little bit from my Chemex at a time. This way, I get to drink my coffee right away, and experience the changes in flavor as it cools repeatedly. I wish there were coffee shops that served like this (pot + cup), as I hate having to wait 10 minutes before I can drink without burning myself. Also, I drink from the wrong side – I wrap my hand around the non-handle side instead of using the handle. I like the weight of these cups and the way that the thick lip forces my mouth open and spreads out the coffee.

    Oddly, I don’t really like those cups for cappuccini. I like narrower cups, like the ACF tulips, that keep a thick layer of foam on top while allowing less air to be added when steaming. That way, the milk doesn’t get too airy. I also like thinner lips on cap cups, as thick ones mess with the texture of the drink (in my mind).

    There are many demitasses that I like, but for some reason I always grab the super-wide, super-thick Nuova Point Sorrento when I have a choice. I like them either cool (working/tasting) or warm from the top of the machine (as a customer). My favorite seems to be a bit smaller than normal, and 60 mL goes all the way to where the lip starts its taper. I like this cup because it forces my nose into the espresso; same motive, different method. Again, the wide, thick, tapering lip spreads out the coffee. I drink from this the wrong way if I’m working, and with the handle if it’s served on a saucer with a spoon.

  2. Numbers….well if nothing else they increase my expectation but I have always wondered where does it end and also whose to say a lower score is not just the bees knees to me or someone else?

  3. Interesting 1st cup although on the large side, also slightly milk jug like…

    I really enjoy my filter coffee from a basic mug.

  4. I love those Juan Valdez cups. There’s something comforting and earthy about them.

  5. James,
    I don’t know if you ever read about this but Reidel once designed a wine glass for french press. They were working with a cafe in France.
    I read about it in a really old Tea and Coffee Trade Journal (something like 5 -6years ago).
    Since then I had tried to find it but no doubt it has gone out of production.
    Having drunk coffee from a wine glass to see what it was like I found it to be exactly as you said, pretentious, forced, and, yes, stupid.
    Like eating a pizza on a stick.

    It would be nice to see the industry design a porcelain cup with aroma in mind.

    -Chris

  6. The cups which Danesi coffee use have a unique bowl shape, unfortunately I’ve never had anything served in one coming even close to an aromatic experience. Has anybody used this style of cup in competition before?

  7. My favorite cup to use is from the local community theatre where I used to be on the board of directors. It makes me think of the fun I’ve had being involved in the theatre over many, many years.

  8. Hi James. I’m glad you liked them! If anyone is interested, the cups are at lux-delux.com. I have a couple more of the Square Mile decals, so if you want I will offer a pair of Square Mile logo cups for the top U.S. entrant of the Absurd Latte Art Challenge (sorry, I can’t afford to cover the international postage, U.S. only).

  9. Our house pretty much uses the Danesi by the mid-night hour, as much for the saucer as the cup. AM is very different. Ours is a family house, ages from 14 to 83 years old this time of year. Death to anyone who uses the wrong cup or makes a noise. First one up must turn the Astra espresso machine on, put the cat and dogs out. Next the tortoise gets his cup of blue berries and his mister goes on. The cup is warmed first double is pulled. Then we go to our favourite spot to mantle over the first of a few cups. The cup is placed in a way that we will miss no smell or taste. The pleasure of that first cup is heaven.

  10. I really thought long and hard about this – a video commentary near and dear to my heart, cuz I own an insane amount of espresso and cappuccino cups. At the end of the day though – I came up with two things: what’s my favourite cups, and what cups do I place on my primary espresso machines?

    Favourite cups – honestly, I don’t have any – I pretty much equally like and enjoy 50-60% of all the cups I own; many different shapes and sizes, including many mentioned in the video and in the comments. the other 40% are decorative, gifts, commemorative purchases etc that hold various values (sentimental, etc) but I don’t necessarily like to drink out of.

    Cups primarly placed on my primary espresso machines – nod goes to illy. I have dozens of the “bar sets” from the bienniale art festival that Illy does cups for each year – I have probably 20 from 2005, 16 from 2006, 16 from 2007, a dozen from 2008 (no 2009s yet lol). I have these on the Lab Linea and GS/3 because of two reasons; 1- I like the aesthetic look of “set of cups” all matching on top of the machine, esp. when they have such interesting artwork on them. 2- the illy cup is a damned fine design for an espresso cup. not quite the deep bowl snifter style Jim mentioned in the vid, but good enough.

    But of course, one of my most cherished cups is the super awesome Torino logo’ed Ancap Edizione Espresso 2007 Bella Italia cup that James Hoffmann gave me as a gift back when he visited Vancouver in 2007. In fact, it is one of only 4 non-illy cups sitting on top of the Lab Linea (which is holding 28 espresso cups and 8 cappa cups).

  11. James, I think you are right in pointing out that we don’t do a good job with cups, especially in terms of the aromatics. I do use stemless Bordeaux glasses to do our coffee tastings with. I only pour each person an ounce and this enables the coffee to cool really quickly, and also maximizes the aromatic experience. We don’t use them for anything else besides this. Obviously with a full cup of brewed coffee, the glass would be too hot to hold. I too like David’s cup, and am glad you featured it, as I saw it somewhere online over a year ago, and then forgot all about it.

  12. David Lamont and i were discussing the Crema video, and he came up with a great point/idea. What if we started serving espresso in something resembling a ceramic (or glass i suppose) brandy snifter? Lots of room for swirling and smelling? Breaking up the crema a bit?

    Too bad we’d just confuse the hell out of our customers if we did this…

  13. Actually I think your customers would take right to it. If they are ordering espresso they clearly enjoy coffee and nothing automatically says swirl and sniff like a, er, snifter! I had a rum snifter on loan for a friend for a while – it was really interesting:

  14. As you mentioned, the wine industry has come further with experimenting with glasses to fit a specific wine. The coffees we enjoy these days often have a high acidity and served as espresso the character is very intense. I many times feel that the classic espresso cup doesn´t fit the beverage in these cases. To me there is a similarity between espresso and champagne with intense concentrated aromas and flavours compared to other styles av each specific beverage. Besides aroma, the high acidity and intense character requires a drinking glass / cup that concentrates the fluid to “hit” the tip and the center of the tongue to give the sweetness a chance to shine through. I long for the espresso version of the champagne-flute to better match many coffees that I personally enjoy.

  15. Can I just say…. I FREAKING HATE HOT ESPRESSO CUPS!!!!! It ruins the drink for me instantly.

  16. I’d also like to know where I can get some of those Juan Valdez cups?

    I have Danesi cups generally, but I also have a white Japanese diner style mug I use for breakfast. It’s beautiful. I need to take a picture of it now or a video.

  17. http://twitpic.com/b3a6f
    Hand-Thrown from the finest Suffolk terra-cotta, renowned throughout the world for it’s heat retaining properties, this one-off is perfect for those early morning Aeropresses.

  18. Sentimentality can sometimes trump practicality, at least for me.

    Before I was into coffee, back when I would brew leaf tea (green, jasmine, whatever i could get that wasn’t in a teabag) and enjoy it over an hour or so, I had a favourite cup. It was a small tea bowl, really – no handle. Nice thick stoneware, very pleasant in a cupped hand – shiny glazed on the inside, and matte on the outside. I drank a lot of good tea from that cup.

    And then, it cracked (stoneware, from amsterdam, plus a slip of the hand). And I realized its flaws – too wide at the brim, so tea cooled too easily (though this helped when it was hot), and not the easiest surface to sip from. And yet – i still like that cup…

  19. We have a local potter that actually developed the U.S.’s first university-level pottery curriculum. We sell his mugs in the shop and he is always up for a design challenge. I think we’ll try some different things and check in later with our successes and failures.

  20. James,

    At last year’s Nordic Roasting Competition, one of the activities was drinking brewed coffee from different wine glasses. Aside from the obvious impracticalities, pretentiousness etc. It was quite interesting how the experience changed depending on the shape of the glass.
    The coffee cooled differently, had more, less or different aromatic elements and seemed quite radically different depending on the shape/size/thickness of the vessel.

    My personal favourite coffee mug is a pot bellied ‘Craftsman’ mug by Denby. Very thick walled stoneware, with a shape which seems to keep the aromas in the cup for ages.

    http://www.denby.com.au/images_products/mugs/HR/19_Denby_Greenwich_Craftsman.jpg

    Mike

  21. Nothing like a huge robust cup to get you going in the morning.. I need a wakeup with “AL” Cup while watching the Weather channel.

  22. A personal favorite of mine for brewed coffee is the bodum double walled glass cups. They’re the perfect sitting around drinking coffee cup, in my opinion. The double blown glass keeps the coffee warm for a good time plus I love the shape of the cup and the way it fits in my hand.

  23. My favourite cups to drink espresso are the following:

    [caption id="attachment_393" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Espresso Vivace cup"]
    [/caption]

    I like that the line below “20th Anniversary” is the 2 oz mark.

    [caption id="attachment_394" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Kahla cup"][/caption]

    This Kahla (German) cup is a gift from my customer. As you can see, it’s quite a comfortable grip for right-handed espresso drinkers.

    [caption id="attachment_395" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Traditional Coffee Cup"][/caption]

    I use this cup on days when I prefer drinking americano. This is a traditional coffee cup found in South East Asia in neighbourhood coffee shops serving Hainanese coffee. I can’t help but think about the difference coffee used to taste like then and now.

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