Ceramic Vs. Stoneware Coffee Mugs: Which Is Right For You?

In this article, we pit ceramic vs. stoneware coffee mugs to see what’s best for you.

ceramic vs. stoneware coffee mugs
Ceramic vs. Stoneware Coffee Mugs

Not only does the brew matter when it comes to coffee, but your mug choice matters too. Your mug choice can affect the taste of your drink, so it’s very important to choose carefully. Ceramic and stoneware coffee mugs often go head to head because while they have a lot in common, there are some key differences.

But what’s the difference between ceramic coffee mugs and stoneware coffee mugs? Let’s settle the coffee cup debate.

Your Introduction To Ceramic Coffee Mugs And Stoneware Coffee Mugs

Ceramic mugs are arguably the most readily available coffee mugs. You probably own one in your cupboard right now.

Ceramics comes from a mixture of clay powder, feldspar, and water and is heated in a kiln. These kinds of coffee mugs are usually covered in waterproof decorative glazes. Stoneware coffee mugs are less common than ceramic, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as good.

If anything, stoneware is often more durable. Stoneware is a broad term. Like ceramic, it is heated at a high temperature and is made from clay.

Sometimes it is made from a mix of clay, stone, and flint, and it may or may not be glazed. Now, let’s put these two kinds of mugs head to head!

Ceramic Vs. Stoneware Coffee Mugs: How Are They Different?

Ceramic mugs stain easily – especially when it’s white or a light color. You might have noticed a ring where your coffee was poured or staining at the bottom of a ceramic mug. This staining doesn’t tend to happen to stoneware mugs.

Ceramic cups are often glazed and smooth, whereas stoneware is sometimes left unglazed and can have a sandy texture. Stoneware coffee mugs can resist thermal shock. Ceramic mugs do not always survive thermal shock.

Thermal shock refers to going from one temperature to another, like from the fridge to the oven. Ceramic glass can shatter when this happens, but stoneware seems to withstand it. You might also be interested in our top ideas for hanging coffee mugs.

How Are They Similar?

A person making clay pot.
Both ceramic mugs and stoneware mugs are made from clay

Both of these kinds of mugs are made from clay. Sometimes they can look very similar as both types are often glazed and decorated.

Ceramic mugs and stoneware mugs are usually microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe. That said, some brands may have warnings against this. This can be due to the glaze they used as a dishwasher may ruin the design.

It’s also common for ceramic mugs to have a metallic glaze, which is not microwave safe. I’ve accidentally blown up enough ceramic mugs with metallic handles and prints to have learned my lesson!

What’s Better About Ceramic Mugs?

One of the reasons ceramic is better is that it does not alter the taste of your coffee. As it is neutral, it does not release any unwanted flavors into your drink or absorb the coffee’s natural flavor. Some unglazed stoneware coffee mugs may affect the flavor of your coffee due to the mineral composition of the clay.

When it comes to ceramic, you also don’t have to worry about your coffee getting cold quickly (unless it takes you a very long time to finish a cup!) Ceramic is good at evenly dispersing the heat throughout the cup and keeping it hot for a long time. For more, read our article do ceramic mugs keep coffee hot?

What’s Better About Stoneware Mugs?

table, coffee, cup
Stoneware mugs are favored for their unique appearance

Stoneware is very durable and rarely chips. They’re also favored for their unique appearance. These cups are also good at withstanding hot coffee and keeping it hotter for longer due to how thick the mugs are.

Stoneware does not stain like ceramic, so when it comes to cleaning, so no scrubbing is needed. 

Who Should Get A Ceramic Mug (And Why)?

Ceramic mugs are available to purchase almost anywhere, and there’s an innumerable amount of shapes, colors, and prints to choose from. If you’re into having matching mugs and cutlery, then a ceramic mug will be a better choice. They’re light, so it’s very easy to carry a cup of coffee around without fear of dropping it.

Who Should Get A Stoneware Mug (And Why)?

Stoneware mugs tend to be heavier with a more luxurious feel to them. They make a great gift for a loved one! If you like to sit down and relax with a good cup of coffee, then this is the mug for you.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.