Why Use Enamel Mugs? 11 Incredible Reasons

Why you should use enamel mugs

Are you mulling over buying some enamel mugs for your home or for an outdoor activity such as a picnic, camping, or fishing? Here are 11 reasons why you should use enamel mugs.

1. Neutral to Your Drinks

The enamel coating is neutral and it neither soaks flavors nor leaches any flavors into the drink. Your drink tastes natural and the nuanced flavors are easier to detect.

2. Durable and Shatterproof

Enamel mugs are tough and long-lasting as they are hard to crack or break. Accidentally dropping an enamel mug causes no severe damage apart from possible chipping of the enamel finish.

They are great to use around kids. The acids in coffee will not damage your stylish enamel mugs as they are resistant to corrosion from acids and bases.

3. Fine Finish and Attractive Colors

Enamel mugs are made of either cast iron or steel that is then dipped in liquid enamel and fired under high temperature in a kiln. The enamel glaze prevents rust and provides a fine and elegant finish. It also helps to transfer heat throughout the mug’s surface.

4. Lightweight

Enamel mugs are very light as compared to ceramics and double-walled glass mugs. You can wrap a few enamel mugs and toss them in your backpack for hiking or hunting and they will not slow you down.

5. Direct Heating

Enamel mugs can go over a fire whether it’s on an induction cooker, gas stove, campfire, or fire pit without damaging the structure or the finish of the cup. The mug may become sooty but it should be easy to clean.

You can use enamel mugs to heat up coffee directly on a stove or to heat up your water for brewing coffee. You can also heat up your cold brew in an enamel mug over a fire.

You can read how to heat up cold brew in our separate article.

Caution! Since enamel mugs get too hot, be sure to use oven gloves when handling enamel mugs that are heated on a cooker or fire. Avoid heating enamelware whose interior is chipped as it can lead to continued chipping that ends up being ingested.

6. Affordable

You can easily get a set of six enamel cups for the price of one ceramic, titanium, or insulated stainless steel mug. Enamel mugs are an affordable choice, especially when purchasing a couple of mugs for a group.

7. Dishwasher Safe

Enamel coffee mugs are dishwasher safe but you may want to ensure some space between the mugs to prevent them from banging against each other and chipping.

They are also easy to wash by hand. Most stains on enamel mugs will wash off in soapy water but you can use baking soda to remove stubborn stains.

8. Great for Outdoor Expeditions

You do not want to bring a ceramic or glass mug on a hunting or camping trip. Enamel mugs provide the cowboy feel and their versatility, shatterproof, and lightweight qualities make them ideal for outdoor expeditions.

Sipping on your drink by the fireside from an enamel mug is super cool.

Have you ever found yourself camping without a fire? See how to make your Joe when you can’t make a fire at your campsite.

9. Sipping Comfort

Enamel mugs have rolled rims for your lips when sipping on the drink.

10. Character

Enamel mugs have a ‘cowboyish’ feel and a few chippings add to this feel. Extreme chipping is off-putting but a few chips on the outer walls give character to the mug.

However, avoid using the mug if the drink is coming into contact with the chipped surface as there is a risk of ingesting continued chippings. A couple of small imperfections from the production process also enhances the mug’s character.

11. Versatile

You can use enamel mugs in the fridge or freezer as well as on a stove. However, you may want to return the mug to room temperature before freezing it or using it over a fire as extreme temperature changes on enamel mugs can damage them.

How to Remove Stains from Enamel Mugs

Coffee and tea tannings can stain your favorite enamelware. Soot from heating the mugs on a stove can also stain the outer walls. To remove the soot and coffee stains from enamelware:

  • Squeeze some lemon juice into the mug. Use water if you do not have lemons
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda and mix to make a soft non-abrasive pulp.
  • Apply the fizzing pulp to the stains. You may use a nylon brush to apply the baking soda
  • Leave the mug for 10-20 minutes
  • Use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the mug in freshwater
  • Rinse and dry the mug

Proper Care for Enamel Coffee Mugs

  • Avoid high-temperature changes such as using enamel mugs straight from the fridge or freezer to the stove and vice versa to prevent damage. Instead, bring the mug to room temperature and then use it over a fire or in the fridge. Also, avoid adding cold water to a hot enamel mug
  • Dry the enamel mugs thoroughly after washing to prevent rust on the chipped areas
  • Do not heat empty enamel mugs as the coating will be damaged
  • Use soft non-abrasive cleaning tools to clean the mug to avoid damaging the coating
  • Space out the mugs when dishwashing to prevent collisions and chipping
  • Promptly remove stains on the mugs to maintain the luster and fine finish
  • Use metal spoon and stirrers with care in enamel mugs to avoid abrading the coating. Some enamelware manufacturers recommend wooden and silicone stirrers

Are Enamel Mugs Toxic?

Enamel mugs are toxic-free as the enamel coating is inert and heat-stable even at high temperatures. An enamel mug that is chipped on the outside or on the rim is safe to use.

Be sure to carefully clean the chipped parts without abrasing them further. As for the chipped rim, drink from a different part that is intact.

However, you should replace enamel mugs whose interior is chipped as the exposed metal can leach some of its elements into the drink. The weakened glaze may also continue chipping and the fragments can end up being consumed with the drink.

You may use the retired mug as a planter or pen holder in your home office. You can read more information about scratched and cracked mugs here.

Drawbacks to Using Enamel Mugs

  • Enamel mugs absorb heat from piping hot drinks making them too hot to handle or drink. They can easily burn your lips and hands. Having to sit the coffee and wait for the mug to cool is off-putting
  • One chip in the mug’s interior and you are supposed to discard it
  • They cool the drink faster than other cups such as ceramics and insulated steel mugs

Read about the other materials that are superb for coffee mugs.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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