Collecting various espresso cups has always been a passion of mine. Not long ago it has come to my attention that I have over 20 different styles of cups in my household. Most of the sets are stashed in cupboards but the individual cups I like to use and drink out when I make coffee at home. As you can see I have cups from almost every country I’ve been in.Up until recently I have always liked the tulip shaped cups such as this “Café Grumpy” cup. Its all well and good as it makes the espresso visually more in quantity. I’ve always been brought up in the school of ristretto so I guess that is the reason why I have grown to like that specific shape.
After coming back to Australia I have started to appreciate the overall balance of espresso through longer extractions. These days I prefer a rounder bottom cups. If I had to pick my absolute favourite I would have to go with these 3 cups. Denesi, Mauro and Caffe D’Arte. Denesi make there own shape and use a generic cup manufacturer; the cup is very unique as it closes in on the top allowing you to swirl the espresso in the cup, a little like wine. It is also great as the fumes come up to the rim allowing you to enjoy the fine smells.
The other two designs are also “round bottom” cups but have really thick walls. I really love the thermal aspect as well as the feel on the lips. The MAURO cups are ACF, but from what I hear they have turned their production to a much cheaper chinese manufacturer, which in a way is a real shame as they are of much lesser quality and have various defect on almost every cup. Last but not least is Caffe D’Arte cup made by Nuova Point, I use this same cup for all my barista competitions, they make them in plain white as well as brown. I love this cup for a reason that it is extremely wide and you can really swirl the espresso around to get an overall balance throughout the cup, it feels heavy in the hand and is all so pleasant to drink out of.
I believe that the right cup is an essential for serious espresso drinking. I’ve been playing around with all these cups to see if the way coffee falls into the cup and the way it mixes in the bottom effects taste, but have yet to document my progress; at this stage it looks like the rounded bottom cups provide less obstruction and smoother fall for the first drips, opposed to cups that have a dimple in the bottom of the cup. I believe that first drops are the most important part of extraction and definitely worth further investigation.