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Can you use copper mugs for coffee? the ultimate guide

Yes, you can drink coffee out of a copper mug but only if the mug’s interior is lined with a non-reactive metal like stainless steel, nickel, or tin. If it’s a pure copper mug then it’s not recommended to drink acidic beverages such as coffee out of it.

Whether you found a cool-looking copper mug in your grandma’s attic or you have one sitting around on your fireplace. You may have wondered if you can drink coffee out of it and there’s nothing wrong with that. I got you covered.

Can You Use Copper Mugs For Coffee?

Yes, but there’s a twist. If the mug’s interior is lined with a non-reactive metal such as stainless steel, tin, or nickel, you can drink your coffee from a copper mug.

The acids in coffee can dissolve the copper ions in plain copper mugs and cause not only a metallic taste in your coffee but can potentially also poison it.

The Effects Of Coffee On Copper Mugs

According to the State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, drinking beverages out of a copper mug is unsafe if the liquid has a pH of less than 6. This has been linked to an increased risk of ingesting copper when it dissolves in acidic food and drinks.

Ingesting large amounts of copper (also known as copper toxicity) can cause severe symptoms and poisoning. This is exactly why the advisory recommends using copper mugs whose interior is lined with nickel, stainless steel, or tin to get rid of copper making its way into the drink.

Copper is known to react with oxygen to create copper (II) oxide. This makes copper react and dissolve acids. Coffee is naturally acidic with a pH of about 4.85 – 5.10 and thus there’s a risk of copper getting into your coffee.

Now some experts think it’s unlikely the reactions between acidic drinks and unlined copper mugs to reach poisonous levels. Instead, they think it would take very high acidity and an extended contact time for copper mugs to get levels that are severely harmful to human health.

So the advice to take here is that you may want to drink acidic beverages such as coffee out of a lined copper mug to be sure that you and your health are safe. Don’t forget as well that if coffee gets in contact with copper it could also lead to a metallic flavor in your coffee.

Why Do People Use Copper Mugs?

Copper mugs actually became popular alongside a Vodka cocktail called “Moscow Mule” that originated in the USA in the 1940s.

The story goes as follows. 3 entrepreneurs who were having a hard time selling their own products (Vodka, ginger beer, and copper mugs) came up with the fantastic idea to make a cocktail out of it by adding the ingredients into a copper mug.

The copper mugs were ideal to maintain the temperature of the cocktail and enhanced its flavors. The combination became such a massive success that copper mugs came to be known as Moscow Mule mugs.

Besides this story, unlined mugs have been linked to antibacterial benefits with some people suggesting that storing water in copper mugs sterilizes the water. However, even though researchers support the use of copper in environments to keep bacteria at a far, there is limited research on the ability of copper to kill bacteria in water.

Even though there is limited research on copper and bacteria in water, what you can be sure of is that storing cold water in copper mugs keeps the water cold.

Should You Use Copper Mugs?

You can use copper mugs with non-acidic drinks as there will be a minimum chance of the copper reacting with the drink. For acidic drinks such as coffee, wine, fruit juice, tea, vinegar, etc. it’s recommended to use a lined copper mug made from other materials such as ceramics and glass.

Most copper travel mugs have a stainless or nickel lining for your safety which also keeps the flavor of the drink.

Are Copper Mugs Safe For Hot Drinks?

Pure copper mugs are not ideal nor recommended for hot drinks as they can burn your tongue, lips, and hands since a pure copper mug heats up very quickly.

Copper is a fantastic heat conductor, it transfers heat fast from one end to another. This is why it’s used for the plumbing in your house as well. Serving hot drinks in pure copper mugs would just be a catastrophe.

Using lined copper mugs for hot drinks to keep the drinks warmer for longer and to prevent burning your tongue and hands is the way to go.

What Do Large Ingestions Of Copper Do To The Body?

Even though ingesting large amounts of copper are unlikely, we have to go through the health issues associated with copper ingestion.

Ingesting a high amount of copper can cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea.

If you end up ingesting higher than recommended amounts of copper every day over time then it can even lead to severe illness, such as kidney and liver damage.

How To Clean And Remove Stains From Copper Mugs

Copper mugs are easy to wash by hand with soapy water and a soft cloth. They are also dishwasher safe if that’s more your thing.

Copper tends to react with air over time and creates a greenish layer called patina. Patina makes the mug ugly and can also change the taste of your drink. Luckily it’s easy to clean the stains.

1. Clean Your Copper Mugs Using Lemon Juice And Salt


  • Table salt
  • Lemon wedges
  • Water
  1. Put some salt on your lemon wedges.
  2. Rub the salted wedges against the mug to remove the patina.
  3. Rinse the mug in water to remove all the salt and lemon juice.
  4. Dry and store the mug in a dry area.

2. Clean Your Copper Mugs Using Vinegar And Baking Soda


  • One cup of baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Soft towel
  • A large bowl
  1. Mix 2 cups of water with 2 cups of vinegar in a big bowl.
  2. Soak the copper mug in the vinegar solution for 10 – 20 minutes.
  3. Put some baking soda on a towel and gently rub it on the patina.
  4. Rinse the mug in water to remove all the vinegar.
  5. Dry and store the mug in a dry area.

The Bottom Line

Drinking coffee from your copper mug is safe as long as its interior is lined with stainless steel, tin, or nickel. Most travel copper mugs you can purchase these days come with it and thus you don’t have to worry about it. But be careful if you find an old copper mug in your grandma’s attic as it may not have a lined interior.


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