Do Ceramic Mugs Keep Coffee Hot?

Discover if do ceramic mugs keep coffee hot. Plus, a few tips if it does not.

Do Ceramic Mugs Keep Coffee Hot
Ceramic is primed for heat retention as it leaves little room for heat to escape

You wake up, pour a cup of coffee into your favorite ceramic mug, get distracted, and forget said coffee. When you return, you reach for the cup with anticipation take a sip….only to be greeted with room temperature slop. Annoyed, you wonder, “Shouldn’t a coffee mug keep the coffee hot?! It has one job!“

Ceramic is primed for heat retention as the material leaves little room for heat to escape its walls. In this case, the ceramic mug (allegedly) keeps the heat inside the cup, thus warming the coffee while your hands stay un-singed. You might also be interested in our list of the best coffee mug warmers.

What Is the Right Temperature For Coffee?

woman having gloves while holding a cup of coffee
A morning cup of coffee is best enjoyed at 136 degrees Fahrenheit

Before you can determine if ceramics do their job, you first have to define what “hot” means. Is it 100 degrees Fahrenheit? 200? What exactly is the right balance between scalding hot coffee and invigoratingly warm coffee?

To identify the optimal temperature, one study created a burn model to find the line between hazardous temperatures and the maintenance of a product’s intended taste. The conclusion? A morning cup o’ joe is best enjoyed at 136 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another looked at 6 previously completed reviews of the topic, from 1999 to 2018. The result? The preferred coffee temperature was between 130 degrees to 162 degrees Fahrenheit.

While 130 – 162 may be the recommended drinking temperature for coffee, this is really only useful for commercial purposes. No one wants to be the next McDonald’s

But at home – you brew according to your tastes. This explains why some people brew coffee at home hotter than what you can expect in a shop. Others will stick to the lower end of the range, which is the sweet spot for the coffee’s underlying flavors to come out. And finally, some enjoy a relatively cool drink, perhaps in the 120 range, preferring the mix of sweet and acidic.

So, where does this leave us? Your preference in temperature may be the determining factor on whether ceramic mugs keep your coffee hot—a matter of perception.

Beyond the elements of ceramics, you have to consider the structure of the mug itself. Simply put, because there are hundreds of different mug designs, the answer to our question may not be one-size-fits-all.

For instance, different ceramic mugs may have different thicknesses. A thick-walled mug would presumably retain heat to a higher level than one with a thin wall. Another thing to consider: how wide is the opening in the cup? A wider opening suggests a larger area for escape.

Also, the quality of the mug matters, as lower-quality mugs may crack if faced with excessive heat, again leaving space for heat to seep out.

How To Keep Coffee In a Ceramic Mug Hot

a ceramic mug with coffee and a chocolate biscuit
You can buy a coffee mug warmer and wrap it around your favorite cup

Here are a few hacks for keeping your coffee hot:

  1. Preheat your coffee beans and mug. Like using a water bottle to warm your bed up, warm your mug before pouring coffee into it. Pour hot water into the mug while your coffee is brewing.
  2. Invest in Coffee Joulies, metal coffee beans that absorb the heat from the coffee itself, keeping the heat inside the mug. 
  3. Get cozy with a knitted cup sleeve, which keeps your hands protected from the heat of the mug and your coffee insulated. 
  4. Buy a coffee mug warmer and wrap it around your favorite cup.

And at the end of the day, all that matters is that you enjoy that cup of coffee. So tell us, what’s your preferred drinking temperature? And how do you keep your coffee at the perfect heat for sipping?

Ceramic Mug Resources

Ceramic Vs Porcelain Coffee Mugs

Ceramic Vs Stoneware Coffee Mugs


  • 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.