C's sister, "K," works every day with her, and she is known throughout the office for her "persnicketiness" on the subject of coffee vessels...here's her take:
Having coffee is as much about the "experience" as anything; and choosing the correct coffee cup is crucial! When I have a large variety of cups to choose from, I have certain eliminating criteria such as, "too big", "wrong color", "wrong handle", and the worst, "wrong shape, lip thickness, and lip curvature!!!"
I am not a fast coffee drinker, so if the coffee cup is "mug-sized", the coffee gets cold before I can drink it, causing multiple reheats in the microwave!!! This often requires a trip down the hall and is, quite frankly, not worth it.
The perfect coffee cup is, of course, white or at least off white. If the cup is NOT white on the outside, it must at least be white on the inside. Why? the greatest amount of color contrast with the coffee, of course. (this means, the stronger the coffee, the greater the contrast! Mmm...).
You may not think that a handle carries that much weight in this decision, but have you ever been served coffee in a cup that your fingers do not fit into the handle. Or one where you can only squeeze a couple of them in? This makes for a miserable experience. When you pick a coffee cup up with the right shaped handle, you will instinctively know it that it is right. (handle size and shape, however can be superseded by atmosphere, for instance, one would not care about handle shape or size if you were sipping cafe au lait at Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans).
I can drink out of a mug, but don't like the shape of mugs. They are typically straight, up-and-down sort of things. Very bulky. I don't mind a cafe mug too much, because they are very retro/vintage in style - like something you would find from a 50's era diner, but the lip of diner mugs are generally too thick, often causing an embarrassing "slurping" noise. If, however, the lip turns inward even slightly, this can actually cause you to dribble!!! The best shaped lips are the ones that are thin and curved slightly outward toward your mouth, sort of like a perpetual spout around the cup.
Anything less than these criteria would be considered "settling" and diminishes the entire experience. If you are offered coffee in styrofoam, pass it up, because this is an indication of necessity or desperation and does not lend itself to a satisfying coffee experience, even if the company is good! --K