A coffee mug is just a mug, isn’t it?

I have never really thought much about coffee mugs until I ordered a dessert coffee at our favourite pub the other night. When the coffee came in a dainty stemmed coffee mug it was if the universe went out of whack. I just couldn’t relax or enjoy my coffee.  I like a wide mouth, large handle, flat bottom mug. For me coffee is about comfort so I want my mug to be comfortable to hold, easy to drink from and unlikely to tip over.

Statistics say that ‘Specialty Coffees’ sell better in specialty mugs

I mentioned this to the waitress and she explained that I am a minority. Apparently in the restaurant industry people want to feel special and like the sleek designer cups with the long stems and raised wine-like bottoms. She informed me that their marketing company had advised them to make the switch when they added the specialty coffee line to their menu. The coffee mugs came as a free incentive that was really popular in the industry. I wondered who the coffee mugs were popular with because I sure didn’t like them!

Though the marketers have the stats to back up their assertions, I have a bone to pick with stats. I believe statistics are based on the mean average and do not take into account variances. Perhaps in a downtown business coffee house where everyone is climbing the ladder of success, fancy sells. Perhaps for a set of matching china, new design sells. But everyone I know has that cupboard bursting at the seams with clunky or funky mugs that have sayings plastered on their sides, chips out of the rims, handles reattached and spider-veined staining that no amount of soaking or bleaching will diminish.

Have you ever noticed when you give your guests the choice to pick any mug from your cupboard they usually gravitate toward one certain mug from your entire collection? Rarely is it the fanciest mug in your cupboard. 

The absolute best is the one with the chip that always finds your lip!

For me it seems that no matter how often I tell myself I’m tossing the old mug with the ¼ inch chip, it always ends up back in the cupboard and is the first one pulled out for the next cup of coffee! Maybe it is the veins criss-crossing the bottom in chocolate streaks of old coffee that won’t come out, or it is the memories of friends and flavors that tie that mug to our home. But somehow, chip in the mouth or not, that mug stays with us year after year. It will take an intervention to let that mug go.

My friends come by to visit and with casual ease bypass my sparkling designer cups and head straight for comfort mugs. Each one grabs their favorite coffee mug, pours their own coffee (no matter how I try to protest) and find their favorite place to snuggle down for a visit.

What is that? Does the coffee taste better in a certain mug? Is there some mystical psychological connection with the taste and enjoyment of coffee and the attachment to a mug? I know for me, there is. I tried a test just of see if the mug makes a difference. I chose my favorite blend Jamaica Blue Mountain Estate and poured it into my finest mug, then poured one into my tried and true favorite mug. Everything else about the tasting was the same. I was shocked to find that the mug really did matter. Although both cups of coffee were thoroughly exquisite in flavor, my tried and true mug left me with a sense of satisfaction and relaxation.

And to me that is paramount in great cup of coffee!