When i first really got serious with the world of coffee, i, along with many others i suspect, adopted Mark Prince’s cup obsession, together with his fascination with Illy cups. With hindsight, this was rather foolish of me, as i have grown to hate the Mateo Thun designed vessel: overpriced, of often poor manufacture, inability to keep your drink warm (when compared to other manufacturers’ designs), and most annoying of all, those silly little round handles that are both impossible to grip properly and just look really naff. My hastiness is now kicking me in the backside, as i have a box of immaculate cups that i’m too scared to use, for fear of damaging them – proper clumsy, me. Oh well, i guess that is what eBay is for.

Recently however, i’ve had the great pleasure of crossing paths with what i believe are some rather exciting cups.

First off are the 6oz vintage Duralex cappuccino cups. Somewhat kitsch and perhaps a little tacky, they hark back to an era in the 1950’s where ice cream parlours and cappuccino bars, like Morelli’s and Chiappini’s in Broadstairs, where i grew up, were king. Its a shame that each time i return there, the prices seem to have substantially increased. The bowled shape of these toughened glass cups allow for really pretty milk pours each time.

Next up are what i would consider the ultimate cappuccino cup, the 5oz black on white ACF cups by FAC Porcelain. Really thick and heavy porcelain which feels amazing both in the hand and pursed against your lips, filled with great coffee, and the size dictating better milk to coffee proportions. Mmm. A nice bowl shape again, allowing for pretty pictures in the foam. I am totally in love with these! Matching 2.75oz espresso cups are pictured too, cute little things don’t you think?

Finally, quite possibly the most elegant and aesthetically pleasing cups out there, the wide rimmed 6oz cappa cups from ACF, once again. These super wide bowls allow for really intricate and detailed milk art, but i find that such a wide rim proves problematic when trying to transport the drink. When full, they spill easily, but this is where the saucers come in. They have a lovely pronounced rim with a gripping finger rail around the outside, helping you stabilise your liquid work of art. There must be something in the porcelain coming out of the ACF factory, because these too just feel really nice to drink from, enhancing the experience of your coffee.

Anyone else got nice cups they want to shout about? What vessel hold your brown gold? Speaking of which, Black Gold had its British airing the other night on the More4 channel. Thankfully it wasn’t as Fair Trade Organisation/brand based as i had feared, though to the general consumer, there maybe some confusion between the concept of fairly traded/directly traded coffees of which Tadesse Meskela speaks, and the actual Fair Trade brand itself. I guess now everyone wants to buy Ethiopian Fair Trade coffee? Hmmm.

Did anyone else find the Barista competition sequence of the film particularly painful?


~ by E-83 on February 28, 2008.

3 Responses to “Cups”

  1. You said you went to the ACF Factory. How can you contact the factory by email? Do you know what ACF stands for? I’m trying to find espresso cups with the logo ‘Cafe Columbia Livorno’. Any ideas?

  2. I haven’t actually been to the ACF factory, though we have dealt with them. Their website is and you can email them via – they can take a little while to get back to you, so just hang in there. I have a digital catalogue (PDF) if you want it and aren’t able to download one from their website?

  3. Thanks, I was able to download the catalog.

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