A Complete Guide to Custom Coffee Mugs
Logo coffee mugs are adored by millions of people across the world. Seriously – for the majority of folks the morning is not complete before fueling up with a steaming hot coffee enveloped in their favorite mug. For them, this is the only way to start the day off right!
Humans’ strong attachment with coffee, and in turn its mugs, stems from the comfort and energy boost they provide. The warm beverage is soothing and its caffeine gives us an immediate jump start to our day. So naturally only the best, most stylish branded coffee mug should do. Let’s explore what you need to know before purchasing your next custom coffee mug.
What is the history of Coffee Mugs?
Let’s go back - a long time ago - to the age when pottery was considered cutting edge technology and essential for a healthy life. Remember we just cupped ours hands for a while there.
As pottery rose in popularity, one smart human thought of a better way to mass produce it. Hence, the first potter's wheel was born around 6,500 BC. The wheel was able to quickly and uniformly shape vessels to hold both food and water.
As inventions build on one another, the next was adding a handle to the common cup creating mankind’s first mug. The first known specimen of an advanced decorated clay mug was from Greece circa 4000–5000 BC.
The biggest shortcoming of these clay mugs was their thick walls which made sipping uncomfortable. This was next overcome with the invention of metalworking techniques that resulted in metal thin-walled mugs around 2000 BC. They were often produced using bronze, silver, gold, and even lead. Their downfall was they were not suited for use with hot beverages as the single walled metal transferred heat easily.
Fast forward to China 600 AD when porcelain was invented. Early thin-walled porcelain mugs were found to be versatile and suitable for both cold and hot liquids. Hence the term “Fine China.”
What printing types are common for Custom Coffee Mugs?
Screen or Pad Printing
The most popular printing method for printed coffee mugs to date has been a single 1 Color imprint. This method utilizing screen printing or pad printing machines is a cost-effective way to mass produce business logos and maintain brand consistency.
Engraving is one of the earliest printing methods to mark objects such as silver, gold, steel, or glass to decoratively depict custom designs. Artisans used hand tools to etch their designs. However, today, we use digital laser engraving to permanently etch metal, glass, plastic and wood surfaces with your Logo or Custom Design.
Digital full-color process printing uses four inks - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black - to form colorful prints. White is also often added as an under base when printing on dark colored surfaces to ensure a vibrant logo design.
3D relief falls into a sculptural technique. The design is embossed within the material of the mug versus printing onto the surface. Logo coffee mugs that are decorated with 3D relief offer a treasured elegance and complexity. They are truly works of art and often kept for generations to come.
Deep Etch or Sand Carving
Deep Etch is like debossing a mug. It is created using special sand blasting or carving machines. During production, an inversion of your logo is masked on top of the mug and then sand is used to blast the mug material away where your logo will be. This etching or carving method gives the logo design a frosted look which can also be color filled.
What materials are best for Personalized Coffee Mugs?
Truly, all clay mugs are ceramic mugs, but we break them up into three main categories which describe the type of clay and what temperature they were fired at.
Ceramic – Ceramic mugs are made from a clay mixture at 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. They are the leading type of inexpensive, sturdy printed coffee mugs.
Stoneware - These mugs are made with stoneware clay and fired at a more moderate 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. They often feature a thicker build and more rustic look than ceramic and porcelain mugs.
Porcelain - Porcelain is made from a more refined clay mixture and fired at an even higher 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, it is more expensive. Porcelain mugs are renowned for their detailed designs. These “fine China” mugs are not very common in the promotional products industry.
As with ceramics there as number plastic types used for coffee mugs.
Polypropylene – (PP) is a widely used rugged plastic that is heat and chemical resistant as well as BPA free.
Acrylic – Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) or acrylic plastic is the most practical substitute for glass due to its lightweight and shatter-resistant nature and is BPA free.
Tritan ® – is a tough, impact resistant, light weight plastic that is BPA free.
Other - Other plastics including PLA, Melamine, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), Polycarbonate – which uses BPA, High-Density Polyethylene, Crystal Polystyrene, and SAN (Styrene acrylonitrile) are also used for making durable cups.
Quick note about BPA - bisphenol A or BPA is an industrial chemical commonly used in Polycarbonate plastics common in plastic containers and epoxy resins used to coat food cans, bottle tops, etc. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of the possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Due to these concerns, we at Zeus Merch sell BPA food or beverage plastic containers. Learn More from the Mayo Clinic
Given metal is highly malleable (easily bent or shaped) and durable, it’s a perfect material for creating printed coffee mugs. The most common metal used is stainless steel and you might also find a few copper mugs as well – made famous by the Moscow Mule.
Glass is made from natural and abundant raw materials (sand, soda ash and limestone) that are melted together at very high temperature. Glass is highly resistant to water and chemicals, hence an excellent material for food containers. Although easily pliable to create intricate shapes, the end product is brittle, however, the durability can be enhanced with laminating or tempering.
Which insulation types are best for Custom Coffee Mugs?
Single-walled logo coffee mugs are very common in ceramic mugs as their single earthen clay wall protects well against heat transference.
Double-walled coffee mugs usually are made of two stainless steel vessels or “walls”, and they’re separated by air or foam. This can slow down the heat from reaching your hand from the inside and keep your beverage hot or cold for a longer time.
Vacuum insulated coffee mugs are comprised of two vessels and the gap between them is partially evacuated of air. This means a much greater reduction of heat transfer and is by far the most effective and efficient form of beverage insulation. See our Vacuum Insulated Drinkware Buying Guide to Learn More.
What coatings are popular with Personalized Coffee Mugs?
Porcelain, Stoneware and Ceramic coffee mugs feature a coating or glaze to keep them smooth to the hand and able to hold liquids without staining or leaking. The glaze seals the porous earthenware to make it waterproof and is usually from a glass silica. This glaze can cover the entire mugs inside and out or just the interior and is available in a variety of finishes.
These Coffee Mugs are coated on exterior as well with a glaze to properly receive a print.
Matte - Matte coating features dull finish for a distinct, rugged look.
Glossy - Glossy coating produces a brilliant shine is can be eye catching.
These mugs feature no exterior coating. Think of terra cotta type mug. These mugs may also be only partially uncoated with only half or three quarters of the exterior coated while the remainder is uncoated.
What coffee handles are most common in Custom Coffee Mugs?
The essence of what makes a mug – a mug is the ubiquitous handle!
C-Handle - Logo coffee mugs with old school handles that resemble the letter C.
D-Handle - These handles resemble the letter D.
O-Handle - O handles are often small and round, just big enough to place your index finger in.
Open - These handles aren’t connected to the mug at the bottom.
Curved - Curved mug handles are more curved at the top and narrow at the bottom. A common shape is the half heart.
Mini - These handles are smaller than the usual full size mug handles and maybe in the C, D, Open or Curved shapes. Many people call the O handle a mini handle as well.
What features are most common with Personalized Coffee Mugs?
Drink thru - Lid with a sip-through hole to easily sip your beverages on the go.
Thumb Slide - Can be slid-open with your thumb.
Spoon - Some coffee mugs come with a fancy spoon for convenient stirring of your sugar or cream or hot cocoa.
Infuser – A coffee mug than includes an infuser makes it perfect for not just coffee but also tea.
Cork Base - Cork's bubble-form structure and its excellent thermal insulation hinder the heat transfer between the base of the mug and other surfaces while protecting your hands.
Rubber Base - Rubber-based branded coffee mugs have a perfect grip on surfaces providing safety against spills.
Color Changing - When your piping hot coffee is poured into these specially coated mugs, the color or logo image changes.
Sleeve - Coffee sleeves avoid your hands from burning due to hot contents.
Lip Imprint – Here inside the coffee mug’s rim is printed a slogan or saying for brand promotion. It is a great touch that instantly catches the coffee drinker’s eye.
Thumb rest – Adding a handle with a flat thumb rest makes it easier hold the mug.
What Custom Coffee Mugs styles are most popular?
Handle - Mugs with various types of handles.
Camper – Often made out of steel and then dipped in an hard enamel coating to avoid rusting, camper mugs are known to be tough and durable. When made from ceramic they are a heavy mug with thick walls. Both types often feature a speckle paint pattern.
Travel - Travel coffee mugs usually consist of tight-fit lids, comfortable handles, and optimal insulation.
Espresso – also called Demitasse A.K.A. a half-cup is a small mug commonly used to serve espresso. These can usually hold 2–3 oz. (60–90 milliliters).
Which brands of Personalized Coffee Mugs are most popular?
What is the best way to care for your Custom Coffee Mug?
Besides a dishwasher here are three common method to create pristine coffee drinking experience.
Using baking soda
- You can use a bit of baking soda and put it into the branded coffee mug with warm water till they form a paste.
- Then scrub the mug with a sponge for a minute to get the coffee stains out and rinse with water.
- Fill half of your printed coffee mugs with boiling or hot water.
- Then, fill the other half with white vinegar and leave it for 10 minutes.
- Now, empty the mug and scrub it with a sponge and rinse it with water.
Using salt and ice
- Put some salt and a few crushed ice pieces into the mug, cover the mug with plastic wrap or use its lid.
- Then shake the mug vigorously till the salt removes the gunk.
- Scrubbing any stains with a microfiber cloth
- Rinse it with water.
The Bottom Line
Why do Custom Coffee Mugs make a great promotional gift?
Coffee lovers cherish coffee moments. Many fond memories are made around a steaming hot cup of joe. Deep and heart felt conversations are made all the more meaningful by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
So yes, there is an undeniable bond between coffee lovers and their favorite mugs. This emotional bond has spawned millions of mug combinations. Major coffee brands such as Starbucks have capitalized on it by seasonally introducing new varieties of mugs. Your brand too can either shout or subtly promote itself with a custom coffee mug that is sure to be seen again and again, day after day.
So, what is stopping you from investing in perfectly personalized printed coffee mugs? Guess what? Nothing! At Zeus Merch we’ve made it easy to order low quantity ceramic coffee mugs your customers, friends and staff are sure to love.