Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by John Moretti
Coffee is a beverage that unites many people across the world, and there is a myriad of ways to serve a cup of coffee. Part of the drinking experience of some coffee drinks is the vessel that it is drunk from. This leads us to drinks such as the Moscow Mule, which is traditionally enjoyed from a copper mug, but are these vessels safe for drinking coffee from?
Copper mugs should not be used for coffee as coffee is too acidic for safe use with copper. The acidity of coffee draws copper ions into the beverage, which are a health hazard and ruin the taste of the coffee. Using stainless-steel-lined copper mugs is a better option.
Many coffee lovers and enthusiasts have wondered about this question, as there are several coffee beverages and brewing techniques that make use of copper vessels. Copper is known to be dangerous when used for consuming acidic beverages such as coffee, which leaves many of us wondering if copper mugs are safe for coffee?
Are Copper Mugs Safe For Coffee?
If you are interested in coffee, then you have no doubt discovered some coffee drinks and brewing methods that traditionally make use of copper vessels. Drinks such as the Moscow Mule coffee and vodka cocktail are traditionally served in copper mugs, and certain coffees such as Turkish coffee are brewed in copper vessels.
However, it is true that copper is sensitive to acidic liquids, and using a copper vessel to serve or prepare an acidic beverage may cause the copper to leach into the liquid, negatively affecting the beverage and causing potential health hazards to anyone who consumes it.
Coffee is acidic, and some coffees are more acidic than others. Very acidic coffees, anything with a pH lower than 6.0, are likely to affect copper negatively and cause a reaction with the material.
Using a copper mug with coffee for extended periods is likely to cause copper toxicity, which can be very hazardous to human health.
As well as the health hazards, pure copper mugs leaching ions into the beverage will ultimately ruin the taste of the drink. This goes for coffee on its own, as well as coffee cocktails and coffee-based drinks.
If you care about the way your coffee tastes, then drinking it from pure copper mugs is not ideal at all. However, if you like the aesthetic of copper mugs and want to use them for coffee for the way they look, there are some alternatives that will work perfectly.
Copper is also difficult to use for hot coffee beverages, as it is a poor thermal insulator. This meal that uses a copper mug will likely result in burning your hands and lips when handling the mug of coffee, and the coffee will go cold far quicker than usual. Copper is simply not ideal for use with coffee and coffee beverages.
Should You Drink Coffee From Copper Mugs?
We have established that using copper mugs for coffee can be dangerous to your health, and it is likely to ruin the taste of your beverage, but if you are using copper mugs for traditional drinks or copper vessels for traditional brewing methods, should you continue to do so?
There is nothing like drinking a Moscow Mule from a copper mug, and Turkish coffee would not be the same without a real copper ibrik for brewing, but you should not use copper for coffee at all if it can be avoided.
The health hazards and negative effects on the beverages are enough for most coffee professionals to steer away from using copper for coffee entirely. However, there are better alternatives that provide the same aesthetics.
Pure copper mugs and vessels are not ideal for coffee, but the use of copper mugs and vessels that are lined with another material is perfectly safe and does not negatively affect the coffee at all.
The best option for using copper mugs and vessels safely is to use stainless-steel-lined copper mugs and vessels. The stainless-steel lining within the vessels will prevent any copper from coming into contact with the acidic coffee, eliminating any health risks and coffee befoulment.
Stainless steel is also a far better insulator of heat than copper, which means that it will protect your mouth and hand from the hot beverage and allow the coffee to stay hot for far longer than it would in a pure copper vessel.
Nickel and tin are other safe copper lining options that will prevent health hazards, but stainless steel is the best option if you can find it.
Using copper mugs lined with stainless steel is safe, does not ruin the coffee, and maintains the same aesthetic as copper mugs. This is the superior option for those who are looking for this particular aesthetic.
Can Copper Mugs Be Used For Any Hot Drinks?
Copper mugs are not ideal for coffee or coffee beverages of any temperature due to the high acidity of coffee. This means that no copper vessels should be used with coffee, but this does not mean that copper is not ideal for any beverages.
Copper mugs can be used with hot drinks or other beverages so long as the liquid does not have a pH level lower than 6.0. Any liquid with a pH lower than this will react negatively with the copper and cause the transfer of the health-hazardous copper ions into the beverage.
Copper toxicity is only a real danger after prolonged exposure, which means that limited use of copper with beverages of this type is not directly harmful, but if you use a copper cup as your daily mug, it will eventually cause serious harm.
However, using a copper mug for hot chocolate, certain teas, certain cocktails, and most other hot drinks is safe, so long as they are not too acidic.
Copper mugs are widely used for certain coffee drinks and brewing methods, but they can be dangerous if used for too long with acidic beverages such as coffee. Copper will also ruin the flavors of coffee, which will significantly detract from the experience of the coffee itself.
If you care about the coffee drinking experience, including the flavors, textures, taste, mouthfeel, aromas, and tasting notes of coffee, then using copper mugs and vessels is not a good idea. Rather use a lined copper mug for better brew results and no health hazards while maintaining the same aesthetic.