A cup is just a vessel...
that holds a liquid, and you drink out if it. Some are short, some are tall, some are glass, and some are ceramic. Its not until you think about it as another tool of the craft of making, and enjoying coffee, that you start seeing them in more specific terms. In my experience not all cups are created equally, and there are four pillars a cup must stand on. They are control, dynamics, insulation, and mouthfeel.
Have you ever picked up a cup that immediately felt unsteady? Whether the handle loop is too small, too rounded, or just general poor fit and finish, it makes for less controllable cup. This of course makes more of a difference from the barista perspective, namely pouring consistent latte art. Yet, it can definitely negatively effect the enjoyment of the hot sweet bean water concealed within it.
The inner dynamics of a cup make a big difference when it comes to pouring consistent latte art. Think about it in terms of physics. The three biggest factors are flow, height, and placement. If a cup is too deep, or the slope is too sharp, your flow speed could cause the milk to catapult itself back to the surface. This washes out the surface and diminishes contrast.
This aspect is twofold; how well does the cup keep your coffee hot, and your hand from burning off. Most cups don’t have an issue with the former, but the latter is another story altogether. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I can’t stand coffee cups without handles. I want to drink my coffee hot, and not wrap my cup in napkins or wait for it to cool.
This one is pretty subjective, and really is just about your preferences. Yet, in the end, it’s about how the cup feels and performs. Does it make you dribble because the lip is too thin or too thick? Does the material feel rough or too slippery? I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you do you.
After drinking and pouring art into cups of all sizes, shapes, materials, and textures I keep coming back to one design. They are the Holy Grail of coffee cups, they are none other than notNuetral’s Lino line.