There are lot of different types of cups and some keep coffee longer than others. If you love hot coffee then you'll want to know which type of cup keeps coffee the hottest for the longest?
I've been reviewing tumblers, insulated bottles and different types of coffee cups for years and I am a massive coffee snob. I love my espresso and love making a latte at home and taking my time to drink and enjoy it.
But so often coffee gets cold before you can enjoy it so you either have to drink it quicker than you would like or drink it lukewarm.
However, there are now lots of different types of cups to keep coffee hot for longer.
The type of cup that keeps coffee the hottest for the longest is the stainless steel vacuum insulated cups which can keep coffee hot for as much as 6-12 hours. Battery powered heated coffee mugs come in a close second as they can keep coffee at a desired temperature as long as the battery lasts.
Here are the types in order from the most effective at keeping coffee hot to the least effective.
- Vacuum insulated tumblers (like Yeti)
- Battery powered heated coffee mugs (like Ember)
- Phase Change Material vacuum insulated tumblers (like Burnout)
- Styrofoam cup (not recommended)
- Double wall glass or ceramic cups
- Paper cups
- Plastic mugs (not recommended)
- Glass or Ceramic Mugs
- Single Wall Stainless Steel or Aluminium cups
We'll go into each of these types in detail and recommend a couple of brands in each category. But first here's a couple of tips to drastically increase how long your coffee stays hot for.
Tips To Keep Coffee Hot In Your Cup For Longer
There are a few simple steps you can take no matter what cup you're using in order to keep your coffee hotter for longer. Some of these I learned working in an espresso bar while others I learned through trial, error and experimentation.
Pre-Heat Your Cup
Whether your cup is made of metal, ceramic or glass if it's starting out at room temperature then it is starting out colder than your coffee.
As you pour the coffee into the cup your cup will instantly draw the heat out in order to warm up the cup itself.
To keep your coffee the hottest for the longest possible period preheat your cup with boiling water that you discard just before pouring your coffee in.
30-60 seconds should be enough to completely warm up the cup. Now when you add your coffee the cup actually warms up the coffee, it doesn't cool it.
Use a Lid
This is something I learned when I looked into why aluminium is such a good insulator and it's not super obvious.
When you have hot coffee without a lid it lets off steam. As steam escapes your cup it actually takes a lot of heat with it cooling down your coffee.
Using a airtight lid means no heat can escape and it traps the heat in.
The cups that work the best for keeping coffee the hottest for longest do so by having the best insulation possible.
A vacuum is the best insulator which is why they rate #1 on the list. But you can insulate your coffee cup with anything from paper to a towel to a rubber silicone cover or even a beer coozie.
More Volume = Hotter For Longer
A larger coffee will stay hotter for longer when compared to a smaller coffee. This is because there is more hot liquid and thus more total thermal mass which takes more time to cool down.
Sometimes it pays to make a bigger coffee even if you don't plan on drinking it.
The Best Types of Cups To Keep Coffee The Hottest For Longest
Below is a ranking of the best types of cups that keep coffee the hottest for longest. There is a massive difference between ranking #1 and rank #7 but there often isn't a massive difference in price.
If you want to keep your coffee hot for as long as possible a small investment into a good insulating cup can pay massive dividends into your coffee enjoyment.
1. Vacuum Insulated Tumblers
Keeps Coffee Hot For: 6 – 12 Hours
Bar none the double walled vacuum insulated tumblers or bottles are the best at keeping coffee the hottest for the longest.
They work by having an inner and outer wall both made of stainless steel. In between these walls they suck out all the air creating a vacuum.
Heat struggles to pass through a vacuum and so the heat for your coffee will stay inside your coffee.
They aren't perfect and eventually will cool down but they tend to keep drinks hot anywhere from about 6 hours all the way up to 12+ hours.
Best For Keeping Drinks Hot: Thermos
Thermos was around keeping drinks and soups hot before insulated coffee cups ever became a thing. They are one of the best mugs at keeping drinks hot and also one of the best insulated tumbler cups for ice retention too.
Most insulated tumblers keep drinks hot or cold for extremely similar amounts of time and it's the lid that often makes the difference.
For keeping coffee as hot as possible for as long as possible you'll want an airtight leak proof lid where steam can't escape and the Thermos has a great leak proof lid.
For the maximum heat retention you'll want to grab this brand.
Most Popular Brand: Yeti Tumblers
Yeti are by far the most well known and popular brand in the tumbler space.
They make one of the few dishwasher safe tumblers and their tumblers are more durable and long lasting when compared to most other brands out there.
They come with a 5 year warranty and come in sizes ranging from 10 oz all the way up to 30 oz. I have multiple Yeti tumblers that I have owned for nearly 5 years now and they are still going strong.
Ceramic Lined: Contigo Glaze
If you're a real coffee snob (like me) and you don't like hour stainless steel seems to make your coffee taste differently then you can get vacuum insulated coffee cups that are lined with ceramic so no flavor gets imparted into your drink.
I rate the Contigo Glaze as one of the best ceramic lined travel mugs out there.
It's well priced, has a good leak proof lid, keeps your coffee hot and is even dishwasher safe which is a huge plus.
If you want the full insulating power of a stainless steel vacuum cup but don't want the metal taste then this is the cup for you.
2. Battery Powered Heated Coffee Mugs
Keeps Coffee Hot For: 3-10 Hours
There are now cups out there that run a heating element off battery power that are able to keep your coffee at the exact right temperature for a long period of time.
You add already hot coffee to the cup and then set the temperature and the cup will maintain your coffee at your ideal temperature for as long as the battery lasts (or all day if it's plugged into the wall charger).
There are really only two brands worth considering here:
Cauldryn Heated Coffee Mug
The Cauldryn heated coffee mug has a massive 10 hour battery life and even has enough power to bring water or coffee all the way up to boil. This is the best battery powered heated coffee mug for people on the go in my opinion.
You can use it to keep coffee hot or even to heat up water in order to make coffee when you're out and about.
It's a modular design with a vacuum insulated main compartment and a heating element in the bottom (which you can swap out with a blender if you want).
Ember Heated Coffee Mug
The Ember is similar to the Cauldryn but with more of a focus on design.
The cup looks absolutely beautiful and comes in both a smaller coffee cup as well as a larger travel mug.
It's ceramic coated so you won't get a metallic taste imparted into your coffee and it's primarily designed to keep coffee hot and can't warm it up very well like the Cauldryn can.
It's pretty pricey but it's got a great wall charger and a 1-3 hour battery life depending on what model you get.
This is perfect for people drinking coffee at home or around the office who want it to stay at that perfect temperature for hours at a time.
3. Phase Change Material (PCM) Vacuum Insulated Mugs
Keeps Coffee Hot For: 4-6 Hours
There's really only one brand of this type of cup on the market and that is the the Burnout Travel Mug.
The idea behind this type of cup is you have a layer of phase change material that is a waxy solid at room temperature but quickly absorbs heat and melts.
This brings the temperature of your coffee down to the perfect drinking temperature and then the now liquid phase change material combined with the outer vacuum insulating layer keeps your coffee around this temperature for as long as possible.
This stops you from drinking coffee too hot to scald you and keeps it in that sweet spot of the perfect hottness for a longer period of time.
The Burnout is currently the only phase change mug that does this and it isn't cheap but it does work well.
4. Styrofoam Cup (Not Recommended)
Keeps Coffee Hot: 1-3 Hours
Styrofoam is a cheap type of plastic that has millions and millions of tiny air bubbles in it, which make it a great insulator and good at keeping coffee hot.
However, I did my research into whether or not you can get cancer from styrofoam and the results are not good.
Styrofoam is leeches the chemical styrene into drinks especially at high temperatures and this chemical is a probable carcinogen (cancer causing chemical).
So while it keeps coffee hot for a long period of time on the cheap, it will cost you in the long run in terms of increased cancer risk.
5. Double Walled Glass or Ceramic Cups
Keeps Coffee Hot For: 1-2 Hours
Double walled glass or ceramic cups have an inner and outer wall of the cup with air inbetween.
They are designed similar to the vacuum insulated cups but instead of a vacuum it's just air in between.
Air still has particles and transfers heat much better than a vacuum, this is why they don't work nearly as well as a vacuum insulated mug. But the barrier still provides some insulation and keeps your coffee hotter for longer.
6. Paper Cups
Keeps Coffee Hot: 20-60 Minutes
Surprisingly paper is actually a fairly good insulator and mug better than ceramic or glass and sometimes even better than plastic (depending on the thickness).
This is generally what you'll receive your coffee in if you're getting a takeaway coffee from your local specialty coffee shop.
7. Plastic Cups (Not Recommended)
Keeps Coffee Hot: 20-60 Minutes
Thin plastic takeaway cups are often used for iced coffees but aren't recommended for hot coffee.
Hot temperatures can can harmful chemicals to leech into your drink (even if the plastic is BPA free) and some plastics can't handle the hot temperatures of coffee at all and will start to melt from as espresso shot or the hot milk.
8. Glass or Ceramic Mugs
Keeps Coffee Hot: 10-30 Minutes
Glass is slightly more insulating than ceramic but the difference is so small that the two are basically interchangeable for keeping coffee hot.
This is what most of us will drink our coffee from when we make it at home or when dining in at a cafe. It doesn't keep the coffee hot for a long period of time but generally speaking when using these cups we are drinking the coffee fairly quickly so it's not a big issue.
It's a good idea to preheat your glass or ceramic mug before pouring your coffee into it if you want it to last longer.
If you want to make your coffee last longer in these cups that's what mug warmers like this Smart Mug Warmer are for. They are essentially a small hot plate that warms up your mug and thus keeps the coffee inside warm too.
9. Single Wall Stainless Steel Cups
Keeps Coffee Hot: 10-15 Minutes
Stainless steel, aluminium and other metals are even worse than glass at ceramic at keeping your coffee hot for a long period of time. The heat passes right though them.
They are great when you are camping as they are durable and long lasting, but they aren't great at keeping coffee hot.