The reason so many coffee and espresso enthusiasts opt to purchase specially designed cappuccino mugs is due to the ability to dispense big servings of cappuccino. Consider that a standard version of cappuccino requires only one to two ounces of espresso that is then heavily diluted by several ounces of steamed milk which is then topped by foamed milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon or chocolate. Such a thing requires a larger cup or mug with taller sides to accommodate the various “levels” added along the way.
People who find themselves becoming more and more interested in espresso and coffee beverages tend to begin acquiring unique equipment and serving pieces to hold the delicious drinks they brew. Why can’t someone simply serve a good cup of cappuccino in one of their standard kitchen coffee cups? They can, but the serving size and overall experience would suffer. This is due to the fact that cappuccino and many other specialty espresso coffee drinks require the combining of heated milk, coffee, steamed milk and other toppings to get their best results. If you try to squeeze hot milk, espresso, and foamy piles of steamed milk into a coffee mug you are going to end up with a very limited amount of the beverage, and probably some spillage.
Of course, cappuccino mugs are not limited only to the service of this specific beverage and can be used for tall cups of Café Latte, Macchiato, and even Café au Lait. The recipes for each of these beverages require that the cook is going to be able to add different layers or measurements into the serving glass, with some asking for both hot and cold ingredients. This means that the better cappuccino mugs will be well-tempered for dealing with such extremes in temperature. It also means that they should be shaped and balanced to be easy to hold regardless of the temperature of the contents.
Most mugs or cups that are meant to serve cappuccino or espresso beverages will also come with a saucer as well. This is usually to allow for any stirring implements to be used and placed in an area that prevents stains or spills from occurring. Alternately, many forgo the saucer and have a sort of pedestal bottom to prevent the hot glass or pottery from coming into direct contact with the table or serving area.
The best mugs and cups will be made from pottery that has a glaze which is highly resistant to cracking of any kind. This is because the acids of espresso and coffee beverages can seep into any of the “crazing” or cracks and permanently discolor the pottery beneath. There are also many porcelain mug and saucer sets especially designed for such beverages as well and these will be free from staining of any kind.
The important thing to remember when choosing cappuccino mugs is that they should be serviceable as well as attractive. It is no good buying a really lovely set of mugs and saucers if they are of poor quality or if they are not able to easily washed in a standard dishwasher.
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