What's in a cup? Does a vessel by any other name slurp as sweet? And if a ceramic breaks in the forest, what becomes of a mug deferred?
There is endless variation and opportunity for expression presented by the vessels we drink our tasty coffee from. Mugs offer an awesome opportunity for coffee companies to collaborate: with designers, ceramicists, cartoonists, and sometimes with even with donuts (like the Best Morning Ever mug pictured up top). Best of all, coffee mugs make for a fantastic stocking stuffer. We've put together a curated list of mugs—some seasonal, others just downright neat—that make for great holiday gifts.
So lift a mug and say cheers! But not too fast, lest you spill…unless it's a KeepCup with the lid on, in which case you're probably okay.
La Marzocco Home teamed up with Seattle-based ceramicist Sarah Kaye for a beautiful new series of porcelain mugs. Available in three sizes—4, 6, and 10 ounces—each mug is kiln-fired and comes embossed with the La Marzocco “Lion of Florence” logo.
Skeleton Santa wishes you a happy undead holiday in this charming new mug from San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee. Because this mug is from San Francisco it retails for $3500 a month for a one bedroom unit…JUST KIDDING. It is a perfectly reasonable $16.
We love the color and graphics on this hand-dipped enamel tin mug from Augie's Coffee, the best little coffee roaster in Redlands, California. Sasquatch is drinking some cold brew from a growler, there's a wild boar running around, and that squirrel right there? He's got himself a mug of something tasty.
Mazama Wares is the much-buzzed-over Portland ceramics & glassware studio, and their collaboration with Stumptown Coffee is a fine introduction to the brand. This sturdy vitrified stoneware mug is dishwasher and microwave safe, and sports Mazama's distinctive tapered, unglazed foot.
This is truly one of our favorite mugs. Made of Tasmanian ice porcelain by Australian ceramicist Roberta Gartland—subject of an in-depth profile here—there's nothing quite like the soft feel and distinctive texture of these pieces. You will cherish this cup, we promise.
These hand thrown sage green porcelain tumblers are made in Portland, Oregon by Pigeon Toe Ceramics for Heart Coffee. If you enjoy these mugs, we highly encourage you to check out the rest of the offerings from this exciting studio, including lighting, kitchenware, and jewelry.
Move over, Mr. Peanut! Mr. Donut is the new boss in town. We just can't get enough of these mugs from Lucky's Donuts, a donut-forward wing of 49th Parallel Coffee in Vancouver, BC. He's orange, he's jaunty, and he's giving you a happy “hey-oh” with a big smile on his donut face. But it begs an important question: if you were a donut, would you eat yourself? I would. I would slather myself in pink icing and powdered sugar; I'd be delicious!
We really dig this year's holiday mug offering from Batdorf & Bronson, designed by Retail Manager Hillary Yarbrough of B&B Atlanta. Red ink work incorporates the Batdorf logo into a festive tree ornament—maybe next year they'll make real ornaments from this design?
We could have chosen from several KeepCup collaborations from around the coffee world—including our own Sprudge Cat collab with the Melbourne-based brand—but we really like how Blue Bottle's eponymous logo pops on this mug. KeepCup's cork bands are delightful to hold and wear in nicely with repeat use. Plus these mugs can be used for about a thousand things, from mobile oatmeal holder to nifty protein shake mixer-uper. We're big fans.
Noted Los Angeles ceramicist Ben Medansky achieved fame through his work with Glanville & Babinski, and while his Go Get Em Tiger mug remains a go-to, the artist's entire product line is worth perusing. Flashes of gold, unexpected squiggles, all manner of shapes and sizes, and designs that blur the edges between art and utility—these are truly distinctive works.
Poketo is one of LA's most beautiful lifestyle boutiques, with must-visit locations in the Arts District and Koreatown. These distinctive speckled ceramic mugs come in red, blue, and yellow, and were designed for Poketo by Vancouver, BC artist Lindsey Hampton.
“Have A Good One'—now there's some messaging we can get behind! We think this mug will help ensure *you* have a good one, no matter what that one is: a cup of coffee, a moment in time, or a day on this cosmic roundabout we call life.
Double-walled white ceramic is paired with warm copper in these beautiful mugs from Fellow, designers of the Duo Coffee Steeper and Stagg Kettle. We know these mugs are designed for coffee, but a warm winter cocktail wouldn't be out of place here. It's tough to make Christmas drinks like the Tom & Jerry classy—it's basically batter and booze—but if anybody is up to the task, it might be the Joey.
Like a holiday sweater come to life, in mug form, and available in two delightful colors: navy and cranberry. Cranberry! Now that's a holiday mug.
Ann Arbor, Michigan tastemakers Ghostly International have teamed up with Hyperion Coffee of Ypsilanti, Michigan for this mug + bean set. Ghostly's past collaborations include work with Madcap Coffee, Adult Swim, Playstation, Warby Parker, and more.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge.com. Read more JM on Sprudge.
This feature is part of our 2015 Festival Of Guides.