The Perfect Coffee Mug

Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 08:59 PM

There is, in my mind, a perfect vessel for coffee. A Platonic Ideal, if you will, of what a coffee cup should be.

Let me give you a parallel, so you know what I'm getting at: Have you ever been to a friend's get-together where wine was being served? But your friend's collection of 8 wine glasses are all used up, so you end up with a repurposed Burger King Kids Meal mug, or a throw-away plastic party cup, or some weird, heavy, steel beer-stein? The wine, it's odd to say, doesn't taste quite right. It should taste just the same, but it doesn't.

Well, oddly enough, I find the same is true of coffee. The wrong mug or cup can kinda ruin it. But the right mug or cup can make it sublime!

Well, I've had this image of the perfect coffee cup in my mind for years now, but I can't find the darn thing anywhere. That's why I half-jokingly called it a "Platonic Ideal." I can *see* the mug in my mind's eye, but can't *find* the dang thing in any shop I check.

(Before I go any further, I should make abundantly clear that I know how ridiculous this entire blog post is. It's ludicrous that I'm even writing about this. I know this. I'm aware of this. But it's kind of maddening to have created an un-procurable mug in your mind, and find that no shop anywhere carries it.)

Here's what I'm looking for:

- Both the base and the rim share the same, perfectly circular diameter of 3 3/4 — 4". The wall of the mug, therefore, is a cylindrical and smooth all the way 'round.

- The wall of the mug itself is pretty thin. This would no doubt mean it was fired from a pretty high-quality ceramic. But I find it very odd when I have to mouth an inch-thick of ceramic just to get a sip of coffee.

- The mug sits about 4" high. Something about small coffee mugs makes me feel dainty.

- The volume of the mug is about 16 fl. oz / 500 ml. Granted, this is a lot of coffee...but for some reason, I always seem to want more than an 8 fl. oz. cup.

- There's no ornamentation on it: No dancing kittens, or "Starbucks" logos, or Christmas bears, etc.

- The handle can easily fit three fingers through it. Four would be awesome, but I'll take three. I'm not having tea with the Queen Mother in 1854: I don't want to have to "pinch" my handle.

I'm imagining that I'm going to end up having to travel to Germany or northern Europe to find my ideal mug. I remember walking through German shops in Berlin and Nurnberg and thinking to myself, "The Italians or the French or the Cubans might make the best coffee, but MAN, the Germans have all the best accoutrements for it." Something about the German design aesthetic — when it comes to kitchen wares — just so nails it for me. Such clean, beautiful lines. They really do beautiful work, design-wise.

I need to start a website, clearly. "Specific - Coffee - Mugs - for - Cantankerous - Cartoonists.com"

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