Whether it’s a birthday, a special occasion, or a holiday season, picking out a unique and special gift for a loved one can be a challenge. Hours of scouring the internet and searching through stores can leave you empty-handed and discouraged. Fortunately, there is one gift that will never go out of style or fade in utility – a handmade ceramic coffee mug. A unique gift for all family members and friends, mugs range from simple to luxurious, conjuring up smiles from anyone lucky enough to receive one.
Nowadays, many companies offer wholesale coffee cups that are hand-made and truly unique. However, with so many options to choose from, there are some factors you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you pick a coffee mug that is just the perfect gift.
Coffee mugs can be made of ceramic, glass, stainless steel and even wood. The main reason to choose a ceramic mug over other materials is that ceramic retains heat, keeping the drink inside the mug hotter for longer. It is more porous, which means conduction occurs slower. Conduction is the loss of heat through direct contact between two materials, one of which is cooler than the other. The little air pockets that develop in the pores of ceramic act as heat insulation, slowing the conduction process. But conduction isn’t the only thing that contributes to heat loss. Convection (loss of heat through the air) also plays a role. Once the mug warms up, it begins to lose its heat through convection. This causes it to draw more heat from the coffee via conduction. Ceramic has a higher specific heat than glass, which means ceramic will lose heat through convection at a slower pace than glass.
With every beverage we drink, we have a certain expectation of how it’s supposed to taste. For instance, the mug that you drink your coffee from can greatly affect its taste. The texture, weight, comfort and overall aesthetic of the mug contribute to the taste of the beverage we’re sipping on. With stainless steel mugs, the beverage tends to have a bit of a metallic taste. Plastic absorbs taste, which means if you drink coffee from a plastic mug made one time, the next time you have your tea in that cup, its flavour might be slightly different. Although glass mugs are great at maintaining the optimum taste of coffee or tea, they don’t retain heat very well. So, ceramic mugs are definitely the best option. Aside from keeping the original taste of your drinks, they act as natural insulators and keep your drink warm longer.
If you are still using disposable cups due to the convenience they offer, know that you aren’t doing much to help the environment. While ceramic cups take more energy and resources to create, styrofoam and plastic cups aren’t biodegradable. From an environmental standpoint, a person has to use a ceramic mug 25 times to justify using it over a disposable cup.
Why Opt for Handmade?
So far, ceramic mugs seem to be the best option. But should you buy a mass-produced or a handmade mug? Mass production of wholesale coffee cups is more cost-effective. Plus, industrial glazes are formulated to produce a consistent finish, which means they are usually quite flat-looking. Glazes on handmade mugs, especially the ones fired in open flames, usually have a much more varied character. The mug can present different colours on different sides depending on how the flame has travelled around it in the kiln. The long glaze firings of studio potters allow the glaze to develop beautifully at its own pace. All this leads to the creation of unique coffee mugs. When buying handmade mugs, you are supporting people’s endeavours, not just investing in pottery.
How to Wrap Coffee Mugs for Gifts
Wrapping unusually shaped presents, like a mug, without a box may require a little more finesse, but it can still be done. You will need to pick a festive wrapping paper with matching ribbons and bows that suits the occasion, tape and scissors. Then follow these steps:
- Place the mug in the centre of a 40 cm square of wrapping paper. Pull the sides of the wrapping paper up and with a rubber band secure them in place. Cut off the excess leaving around 5 cm on the top. Fold over the rough edges on the top, then tape them to the inside of the wrapping paper.
- Wrap the chosen ribbon around the rubber band to hide it. Tie the ribbon nicely and let the excess dangle down to the front of the package.
- Fill out a name tag for the present or write out a message on a card. Tape the name tag or card underneath the bow.