7 Tips for Buying an Impressive Coffee Mug Gift

the Build On Brick Mug - sold at ThinkGeekCoffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and for those who take their morning java seriously…they usually like to sip out of a favorite mug, cup or travel tumbler. You can never have too many beverage containers and coffee drinkers are often proud of their unique drinking vessels. Nowadays, there are plenty of creative mugs to consider. It goes without saying that Etsy.com is a fun place to shop for one-of-a-kind goods for coffee lovers. I suggest you start your search there, and then continue on to some of the other retailers mentioned in this post:

1. Consider Multi-Purpose Coffee Cups

Multi-functional coffee cups not only save time for on-the-go family and friends, but also makes life easier (in some cases). For example, no need for a spoon when you have a Self-Stirring Mug, which easily blends cream, sugar, and other additions to a cup of coffee with the press of a button. Cookie lovers will enjoy the porcelain Face Mug featured here, which comes with a space to hold a variety of sweet indulgences. Sold at Uncommon Goods, you can purchase a colorful 2-pack of these mugs for $35, or a single white mug for $18.Face Mugs - sold at Uncommon GoodsIf you’re shopping for the ultimate procrastinator (or a LEGO fan), the Build-On Brick Mug is sure to help pass away a few minutes with creative energy-building. This cup is compatible with most construction bricks, such as LEGO™, PixelBlocks, Mega Bloks, KRE-O, and K’NEX Bricks™. Please note that you can drink your hot coffee in this BPA-free cup, but it is not microwavable. Also, the cup doesn’t come with any “bricks,” but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a nice accompaniment for this gift at the local Toys R Us.

Buid a Brick Coffee Mug - sold at ThinkGeek

2. Seek Out an Instant Conversation Piece

Consider gifting a coffee mug that makes people double-take or stare.

Heat-changing mugs make a fun conversation piece, which are made to reveal hidden images as hot liquid is added to the cup. For example, the Battery Thermometer Coffee Mug (sold on Amazon.com) has a battery-shaped temperature sensor on the side that indicates just how hot (or cold) your brew is – fun and functional at the same time.

Heat Changing Coffee Cups

For the video gamer, consider the Tetris Heat Changing Mug shown here, which reveals additional full-color artwork when filled with hot liquid. Please note that these types of cups must be gently hand washed, and cannot go in the microwave.

We also have the perfect suggestion for the loved one or friend who dares people to steal a sip of their coffee – Spiky Mugs sold by Symmetrical Pottery. With the option to have a made-to-order cup (or set of cups) fashioned out of earthenware and clay in a variety of colors and styles, this gift also makes a pleasing gesture for a medieval-times buff; or someone with an artsy personality.

Spiky Mugs by Symmetrical Pottery

3. Opt for the Completely Unexpected

R Rated Talking Ted MugSometimes, the best gift is one that is totally unexpected. For example, let’s take the R-Rated Talking Ted Mug [for adults only]. Obviously, this gift idea is one for a mature audience (ages 18 and up), and is best for someone who either loved the movie ‘Ted’…or for a foul-mouthed friend who will appreciate a mug that spews inappropriate language. The cup is meant as a gag…something they can enjoy in the comfort of their own home office when they need a humorous pick-me-up.

4. You Can’t Lose with a Visually Attractive Coffee Cup

Coffee cups that look too pretty or creative to drink out of usually wind up decorating a glass cabinet, tabletop, shelf, desk… or they become a treasured everyday favorite. Blue Witch sells a wide selection of visually appealing mugs, from their Exotic Animal collection to the Snowboard Coffee Mug shown below.

Blue Witch Artistic Coffee Mugs5. Favorite TV Show & Movie Tie-Ins are Winners

There’s just something about a favorite TV show or movie that sticks with you – the laughs, the punchlines, the antics, solid character development, and really good writing. Because of the popularity of characters and films, you won’t have any trouble locating related novelty gifts. For instance, Marvel Comic-related movies are highly popular….and ThinkGeek sells an assortment of superhero-themed mugs that hold 16 ounces of liquid. They currently have Captain America, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk in their arsenal of characters.

Comic Book Character Coffee Mugs - sold at ThinkGeek6. Highlight their Favorite Picture

Wedding Kiss Coffee MugWhether it’s a vacation memory or an endearing photo of the grandkids, photo mugs make thoughtful keepsakes that get use at home and/or work. Nowadays, there is no shortage of online retailers that offers services that take a chosen .jpeg and transfers it onto a mug.

During a trip to Hollywood, my mother and I stopped by the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and we took full advantage of the photo opportunities. One of our favorite pictures was of her sitting in Captain Kirk’s chair on the Starship Enterprise. I put that picture on a coffee mug for a Mother’s Day gift, and to this day, it’s the only coffee mug she uses now.

7. Zero in on a Favorite Hobby

Basketball Hoop Ceramic Cup sold by UncommonGoodsFrom cheeky sayings, such as ‘I’ve Been Known to Flash People’ (seen on a photography-related ceramic cup sold by Mugsleys) to themed mugs that concentrate on a favorite sport; you can draw on a gift recipient’s hobbies and interests to come up with an ideal present.

Not only can you practice your 3-point shot with a few sugar cubes in a cup of coffee, the Mug with a Hoop (sold at Uncommon Goods) also helps cocoa lovers and soup slurpers pass the time. This ceramic mug is dishwasher safe, and has a capacity of 12 ounces.Blue Witch Music and Instruments Coffee CupsThe Blue Witch Treble Clef Mug shown is sure to be a hit with coffee-drinking musicians, and belongs to an expanded line of cups that represent instruments, such as the piano, oboe, saxophone, violin, and several different guitars.


To cap off our celebration of creative coffee mug gifts, we saw that people expressed an interest in the camera lens coffee mug featured in the Gift Ideas for a Amateur Photographer post – so much so that we decided to host a giveaway where one lucky winner will win:

  • 1 Coffee Lens Coffee Mug (may slightly differ from image shown)
  • 1 Set of Camera Lens Shot Glasses

Camera Lens Travel Mug and Shot Glasses

Share Your Favorite Coffee/Tea/Cocoa Mug Below….

About Yona Williams

In addition to being a freelance writer, foodie, art lover and book hoarder, Yona also enjoys researching and sharing the many different ways one can surprise or amaze loved ones with unique and unexpected gift ideas.

139 thoughts on “7 Tips for Buying an Impressive Coffee Mug Gift

  1. My favorite mug is a battered looking mug but I love it because it has a picture of my husband and myself on our wedding day.
    Laurie Emerson

  2. I have a favorite coffee mug that is really tall, lime green with while polka dots. I love that you can get about 2 regular cups of coffee in this mug.

  3. My husband is an artist & made me the perfect mug several years ago. It is nice & chunky so it is easy to hold & won’t tip over, he even put a little notch in the top to hold my tea bag string so that it won’t slip in my face while i sip it when it is steeping (i like it strong!). Mugs really are a thoughtful gift, & you gave lots of great ideas that I will probably use this year!

  4. My husband is an artist & made me a mug a few years ago. It is nice & chunky so it is easy to hold, & even has a little notch in the top for my tea bag string to sit so it doesn’t drop in or get in my face if i sip it while it is still seeping a bit.

  5. When I graduated from grad school, my mom got me a mug with a cartoon chick on it that says “Doctor Chick.” I drink tea out of it every day at work. :)

  6. I have a number of CAT mugs from Cafe Press by Susan Faye Originals – they are so cute – but not nearly as cool and the camera lens coffee mugs ~ or any of the others you showcased above in your post. Thanks – wonderful giveaway!

    Jesselyn A/Jesstinger

  7. I have so many different mugs, it isnt funny, but my favorite is a large clear glass one. I bought a set of for vintage ones at a flea market and have since gone through all of them. Luckily, the Dollar store now sells a cheaper version, so I bought some of those.

  8. I don’t know as I really have a favorite but I have one that I like that is red & has snowflakes on it and another is actually my daughters but anybody drinks from it, it is back, has a yellow smiley face & says “read” on it.

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