You can use Black Ivory coffee beans ($1,200/kg), the best commercial espresso machine and coffee grinder on the market—but if you skimp on your serverware, you’re still going to end up with a disappointing espresso experience.
Choosing the right demitasse cup for your coffee shop is important. They come in a variety of styles, shapes, and materials that have a real effect on your espresso and the atmosphere your coffee business is trying to create.
This article covers:
- The subtle art of selecting an espresso cup
- What the difference is between a demitasse and a cappuccino cup
- Our top six espresso cups for coffee business owners
Lean back, pour some coffee into your favorite cup, and get ready to learn the ins and outs of espresso cup selection.
How To Pick The Right Demitasse Cup For Your Shop
A quick search of espresso cups on social media will tell you one thing: there are a lot of different cups out there. Some of them are classy, some are wild, and some are in between—but each is saying a lot about the cafe that selected them.
The cup you choose is more than just social media bait. Studies show that a “shape-taste relationship” exists between coffee and the cups they’re served in. Just like different types of wine work better in different wine glasses—same goes for coffee. Shorter cups are said to be better for bitter or more intense drinks (like espresso), while wider ones are more suited for sweeter coffees.
Here are three things you need to consider when purchasing an espresso cup for your cafe:
- Heat retention — An espresso cup that can’t keep shots warm isn’t good for anyone. You need to ensure the material of the cup is sufficiently heat-resistant (so it won’t break under the heat of the shot) and insulating.
- Size and capacity — Most espresso cups are 1–3 ounces. The WBC (World Barista Championship) stipulates 2–3 ounces as the official measurement of an espresso, but this may vary according to your menu. Are you offering doppio-, ristretto-, or lungo-style drinks? Then you need different sized cups.
- Material Durability — What are the cups made of? Stoneware? Glass? Porcelain? And importantly for commercial settings—are they dishwasher-safe?
Up next: Our top picks for demitasse cups
The 6 Best Demitasse Espresso Cups Available
1. Best All-Around Espresso Cup For Cafes: notNeutral Lino Espresso Cup
The notNeutral Lino Espresso Cup is crafted from porcelain and set in classic white, though it’s also available in indigo, gray, and black. This type of porcelain has been optimized for thermal insulation—and customers appreciate the unique handle with its cozy thumb rest.
“Quality china.” —Edward Kindt
This specific cup was actually a collaboration between notNeutral and a team of award-winning baristas. Their goal? Craft the perfect cup for specialty coffee. The NotNeutral Lino is also dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
2. Best For Tall Tulip Aesthetic: Espresso Parts Tulip Shape Demitasse Cup
If you’re looking for a tall tulip-style demitasse cup then look no further. These porcelain espresso cups have been designed to meet all WBC rules and regulations—making them perfect for baristas looking to hone their skills and get the most out of their beans.
“Nice size and shape for espresso. The cup is just the right size and is made of a thick enough porcelain to retain heat well. Plus, it's just a cool-looking cup.” —Kevin Beale
The porcelain used in these pieces is denser and more durable than ceramic and stoneware, so you can rest assured they’ll stand up to the rigors of cafe life. Customers also rave about the glaze finish on these cups—stain and chip-resistant.
3. Best Classic Espresso Cup: Loveramics Egg Style Espresso Cup
The Loveramics Egg Style Espresso Cup is a great choice for almost everybody. Nothing beats classic, and this is as classic as you can get. Coming in a variety of colors to suit your business’s ambience, it’s more than easy on the eye.
It comes in whatever size you need—2.7oz to 10oz. It’s fired at 1,300 Celsius, which classifies it as commercial-grade porcelain. The cups are dishwasher-, microwave-, freezer-, and even oven-safe.
“We have been ordering these cups for years because their quality is so exceptional. They never chip or break and the color is so perfect when featuring a perfectly pulled shot!” —Linda Cash
The ergonomic handle and egg-shaped design give this cup a real sense of balance which makes it that much easier for busy baristas to handle during the morning rush.
4. Best Oversized Espresso Cup (3.5 oz): Vertex Demitasse Cup
Sometimes bigger is better. Meet the Vertex Demitasse Cup, coming in a solid 3.5 ounces, made from elegant white ceramic. If you’re looking for the best-oversized espresso cup on the market, look no further.
Like all the cups on this list, it’s of the highest quality. The Vertex is fired at 1,300 Celsius for durability and, being both dishwasher- and microwave-safe, it’s well-suited to the rigors of cafe life.
“We have been using these Vertex espresso cups in our Italian pizzeria for the last 10 years. Excellent quality cups that can take some abuse and do fine in a commercial dishwasher and dish pit. Well worth the price.” —David Owens
Plus, they meet all the WBC rules so any shops interested in barista competitions and training can’t go wrong with the Vertex.
5. Best Espresso Cup For Single Shots (2 oz): Espresso Parts Porcelain Demitasse
If your menu has a lot of single-shot recipes, you’re going to need an espresso cup to suit that. Too big a cup will lead to the coffee cooling down too fast and losing its flavor. The Espresso Parts Porcelain Demitasse Cup is the perfect size to prevent single-shot espressos cooling down too fast.
“Very heavy duty! Beautifully constructed and will stand up to cafe-level wear without breakage. Highly recommend.” —Nick Long
They’re crafted from high-quality, 1,300-Celsius-fired porcelain with a lead-free glaze. That means they are about as chip- and ding-resistant as demitasse cups come. Except for size, they meet all WBC rules and requirements.
These cups are great for any type of coffee business where single shots are on the menu. Whether you're in a food truck or an espresso bar, you can’t go wrong with the Espresso Parts Porcelain Demitasse Cup. They come in sets of two cups with saucers.
Breakdown Of The Top Espresso Cups For Cafes
Espresso / Demitasse Cup
Best All-Around Espresso Cup For Cafes
Best For Tall Tulip Aesthetic
Best Classic Espresso Cup
Best Oversized Espresso Cup (3.5 oz)
Best Espresso Cup For Single Shots (2 oz)
Get A Handle On Your Cups // Need Some Custom Cup Advice?
A good espresso cup can make or break your customer's drinking experience. Get the wrong cup and the flavor profile will be off. Get the right one and customers will post pictures of it on social media—basically doing your marketing for you.
After reading this, you know what’s good and what to avoid when it comes to espresso cups. But espresso is probably only about half your menu. What about your other drinks? What about cappuccino? At Espresso Parts, we stock a premium line of high-quality cappuccino cups that you can check out right here.
And our team of coffee industry experts is on hand and here to help. We’re passionate about coffee shop equipment and are always free to chat. Give us a call at 800-459-5594 or complete the form below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
Demitasse / Espresso Cup FAQs
1. What exactly is a demitasse cup?
Demitasse is French for half-cup. They tend to hold between 2–3 ounces of coffee—making them ideal for espresso and Turkish or Greek-style coffee.
2. What size are espresso cups?
According to WBC regulations, an espresso cup should hold between 2–3 ounces of coffee. A cup that’s too big allows the crema to spread and dissipate and the coffee to cool down too quickly, affecting the taste.
3. What’s the difference between a demitasse and a cappuccino cup?
A cappuccino cup holds between 4–6 ounces—about double the size of an espresso cup (hence the French name demitasse for espresso cups). This gives the cup enough space for the coffee and its covering of foam.