Most of us rely on many hot cups of coffee to get through the day, especially in the morning. This has resulted in our travel mugs being the most important item in the cupboard. But what material should we be looking for when purchasing a travel mug? Next time you are in the market for one, consider going ceramic.
Travel mugs are protecting the environment from wasteful single-use paper cups, which are coated in plastic. They give us coffee addicts the opportunity to venture outdoors with a hot cup, saving us hundreds a year on cappuccinos. So, if you are late on the travel cup bandwagon, jump on and get yourself a ceramic mug!
What are the benefits of travel mugs?
Starbucks is rolling out its 5p per cup charge in stores around the world and other coffee shops will undoubtedly follow in their footsteps. Although this may frustrate some customers, encouraging the use of travel mugs has many benefits.
What Are Ceramics?
Ceramic originates from the word ‘pottery’ in Greek. Thus, ceramics and pottery are similar general terms, both referring to items created from clay.
There are three different types of ceramics: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Each requires different heating temperatures and types of clay. The clay is shaped, heated, and sometimes glazed to create the materials we are familiar with, such as toilets, dinnerware, and tiles. Ceramics are loved for their non-metallic qualities and the fact they do not react with anything.
Are Ceramic Mugs Better?
There are so many options when you are looking for a travel mug. You may have come across mugs made from stainless steel, bamboo, plastic, and glass material. Each of them has its benefits and downfalls, but ceramic mugs remain superior. Below is an overview of the pros and cons of the travel mug materials available out there.
Reusable plastic is the most common material used in travel mugs. They can be affordable, lightweight, and portable. Although plastic mugs tend to absorb various smells and stains, so they do need to be vigorously cleaned.
Stainless steel mugs are non-porous which means they are easy to clean, resistant to rust, and can keep your drink hot for hours. Although, they can get incredibly hot and can cause burning.
Glass travel mugs are environmentally friendly as they will not degrade over time and will not pick up odors and stains like a plastic mug. But, they do get hot and are easily broken or cracked.
Bamboo travel mugs are lightweight, sturdy, and eco-friendly as they are sustainable. But, they do tend to stain easily and hold flavors from previous drinks.
It is unlikely that a paper cup will survive more than two uses. Where it may seem like they will break down quickly, they are often covered in a thin layer of plastic which means they need to be specialty recycling.
Why are ceramic mugs superior to other mugs?
Well, ceramic retains heat more efficiently than glass as ceramics lose heat at a slower rate. But even if you leave your drink too long and it goes cold, your ceramic mug can be used in the microwave. Hardly any of the other mugs will survive in the microwave.
They also do not absorb flavors or aromas, so they are a good long-term choice. If you are someone who enjoys switching between tea and coffee, then you must look for a resilient material like ceramics. If not, you will end up spending ages scrubbing your mug.
Not only this, but as we observe from all the cooking shows on television, the presentation of your food and drink does impact its flavor. Due to the texture and weight of ceramic materials, the mug can improve the taste of your hot beverage. This is because the mug mimics the experience of drinking from your beloved ceramic coffee mug on the sofa at home while on the go.
Are Ceramic Mugs Safe To Drink From?
Creating ceramic materials is one of the oldest known industries, going back 17,500-18,300 years. In 1200AD people began creating mugs using pottery. Not only was the material versatile and sturdy, but it also gave creators the chance to express their artistic skills. The mugs featured beautiful geometric designs.
So, do not worry about the safety of your mug, the recipe for ceramic mugs has been perfected for 900 years.
Clay does not contain any harmful materials but some manufacturers add nanomaterials in their production process. These can be dangerous, so if you are concerned about the manufacturer you are purchasing from, ensure you do your research.
Why Do Ceramic Mugs Keep Coffee Hot?
Thermest Instruments performed an experiment to find out which material of mug retains heat well. They found the ceramic mug triumphed over glass and steel mugs when it came to thermal conductivity.
Although the steel mug had the highest thermal conductivity of the three mugs at 14.3W/mK, it did cool off rather quickly. Glass achieved 1.1 W/mK, and ceramic had the perfect Goldilocks, middle-range at 3.8W/mK.
This means that the ceramic material won the award for the ability to hold heat per unit volume and keep it hottest for the longest. This is due to the small pores in the clay which allow the heat to remain inside the mug and keep your drink toasty warm. With other materials, heat leaves the mug and ends up in the palms of your hands or the cold air.
Most ceramic travel mugs have two insulated layers, this ensures the drink retains its temperature. They also tend to have a lid with a small hole to drink from on the top, as well as being practical for drinking, this lid retains a lot of the drink’s heat.
Does Ceramic Contain Lead?
Ceramic materials do not contain harmful substances like lead. Clay consists of materials that originate from minerals and biological matter. It is extracted from the ground near rivers and forms because of weathering and rock erosion. As a result, ceramic materials are natural and non-poisonous.
In 3000 BC, blacksmiths did make mugs from lead, but these caused many health implications. Rest assured, there is no lead in modern-day travel mugs.
Do Ceramic Mugs Break?
If ceramic mugs had a downfall, it would probably be their ability to chip and break. The chances are, if you drop a ceramic mug, it will break. So, when purchasing a ceramic travel mug, be sure to look after it. But, if you can protect your ceramic mug from bashing against hard surfaces or falling, it will last forever. Look at the 20,000-year-old piece of Chinese pottery.
So, if you are a connoisseur of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even hot water, then consider purchasing a ceramic travel mug. Your drink will remain hotter for longer than any of the other materials. You will not have to deal with subtle, stale flavors of coffee when you are drinking your herbal tea from the same mug. You can rest assured the material is safe and you can feel like you are having a cozy, homely experience on your daily commute.