Drinkware Buying Guide

Author: Clare Smith


Let’s face it, drinking plays a huge part in our lives - whether it’s that first cup of coffee to kick-start your morning, a hydrating drink during your workout or a relaxing glass of wine at the end of the week. With our increasingly busy lifestyles, having your drink whilst on the go is a popular option. Drinkware must be fit for purpose as well as looking stylish or fitting in with your existing ranges, so let’s start from the beginning and try to reveal the best drinkware and accessories for your home and lifestyle.

Coffee / Tea Accessories

Tea Strainers

Tea strainers resemble small sieves and are used for straining tea that has been made with loose tea leaves. Tea bag tongs are small flat tongs used for squeezing and removing teabags from your cup.


Coffee filters are used when brewing coffee. Fresh coffee grounds are placed in the filter and hot water is poured on top. The filter allows the brewed coffee to seep through whilst the grounds remain in the filter. Some filters are available for individual cups of coffee, sitting in or on top of a cup.

Drinkware Buying Guide Coffee Tea Accessories

Stencils and Shakers

Stencils and shakers are used for creating delicate patterns on top of your coffee foam with cocoa powder. These patterns can be seasonal like snowflakes or general like leaf patterns. The shaker is a tin with a perforated lid that you put the cocoa powder in. A quick shake of the tin over the stencil will create the desired pattern.


Descalers are used for removing lime scale from kettles and coffee machines. They are available in the form of tablets or capsules to dissolve in the machine or kettle.

Tampers and Scoops

Tampers are used for compressing coffee grounds into the coffee portafilter before brewing. Scoops are used for measuring out coffee for different drinks. Some scoops and tampers are combined and can be used when making a variety of different coffees.  

Bar / Wine Accessories


Bottle openers come in variety of designs and methods and are used for removing corks from wine bottles and crown tops from beer bottles. Popular styles of corkscrew include the winged corkscrew and the waiter’s friend – these require some effort from the user to remove the cork. Lever openers, ‘just turn’ models and electric corkscrews require less effort but are generally more expensive to buy. Models like the waiter’s friend and winged corkscrew also incorporate a crown top opener into the design. A foil cutter is used for removing the foil that covers the tops of wine bottles. Again this is incorporated into some types of corkscrew.

Ice Cube Tray

Ice cube trays are used, as the name suggests, to make ice cubes! Fill them with water and place in the freezer until the water freezes – they can then be added to your favourite beverages to keep them cool. Standard ice cube trays normally produce a square or rectangular shaped cube, but there are many novelty shapes and sizes available. Ice cube trays are mainly plastic and are available in a vast range of colours and designs, silicone trays are also available for easy removal of the ice cubes.

Wine Pumps & Stoppers

Stoppers are used to keep wine fresh for several days after it has been opened. Used in conjunction with a pump to remove oxygen from the bottle it will create an airtight seal to preserve the wine’s flavour and freshness. Similar products that create an air tight are available for sparkling wines and Champagne.


Bottle coolers are available in a variety of designs. The most commonly used coolers are double walled buckets that can be chilled before use, or buckets that can contain ice. Other coolers include neoprene sleeves that act like wet suits and maintain the temperature of the bottle for as long as possible. These sleeves are great for outdoor dining like picnics and barbecues as they are compact, light and small to store and pack.  


French Press Cafetiere

This type of cafetiere is best described as being a jug with a filter and a plunger. Coffee grounds are placed in the bottom of the jug and hot water is poured on top. The plunger and circular filter is placed on top of the coffee and after a few minutes of brewing, the plunger is pressed down slowly until the filter reaches the bottom. This process traps the loose coffee under the filter leaving you free to enjoy the freshly pressed coffee.

Drinkware Buying Guide Flask


Due to wear and tear over time, the mesh filter of the cafetiere will occasionally need to be replaced. Replacement filters are available, either on their own, or as part of a three piece set that includes the upper and lower discs that the mesh sit between. The upper disc incorporates a spring coil around the edge which creates resistance when you are plunging the filter.

Pour Over Coffee Maker

The pour over coffee maker is an alternative way of preparing fresh coffee, the filter cup sits on the top of the round jug with the ground beans inside, pour over hot water and allow the fresh coffee to drip down. The fresh coffee can now be poured straight from this.  

Cups / Mugs


Mugs come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from stoneware, bone china, enamel and even glass. They are generally decorative and are often part of a set of matching tableware. Novelty mugs are fun, bright and depict a particular subject/theme.

Cup & Saucer

A traditional cup and saucer is used for drinking tea. The cup and saucer will sometimes come as a set and be decorated in line with this style.

Espresso / Cappuccino Cup

An espresso cup is a miniature mug or cup & saucer big enough to contain one or two shots of espresso coffee. A cappuccino mug or cup & saucer is much larger to accommodate a large frothy coffee.  

Decanter / Jugs / Pitchers


Decanters are used for displaying and serving wines and spirits. They have a thin neck (sometimes with a stopper) and a large bulbous base. One of the benefits of decanting wine is that it aerates the wine allowing it to breath. It is thought that this process enhances the flavours and aromas of the wine.


Jugs are used for serving water, beer or other beverages at the table. Jugs are generally made from glass and have a fairly generous pouring spout. Smaller jugs made from stoneware or stainless steel will be used for serving milk or cream with a dessert.


Pitchers are generally used for serving a large amount of refreshments and can have ice added to them, great for a get together like a barbecue or a summer picnic.  


Vacuum Flask / Drinks Pod

A vacuum flask is an insulated vessel used for transporting beverages, keeping them hot or cold for long periods of time. The flask comprises of an outer casing and inner container with an airtight vacuum between them. The vacuum greatly reduces heat transfer by convection or conduction thus keeping warm liquids warm and cold liquids cool. Ideal for tea, coffee, soups etc. Ideal for drinks on the go as the lid doubles up as a cup. Available in a large variety of sizes.

Food Pod

Food Pods work in exactly the same way as a vacuum flask have a wider opening to allow a spoon or fork to easily scoop food from for eating. Perfect for taking lunch to work or for days out at the beach or a summer picnic.

Hydration Bottle

These bottles are designed to carry water and juice for sports and other activities. Featuring a handy carrying strap, they are designed for people on the go who want to stay hydrated. These bottles are generally clear so the contents are always visible. Smoothies, protein and diet shakes can also be stored and drank from these bottles as the drinking spout is usually of a generous size.

Insulated Jug

These jugs are designed to hold a large amount of liquid like hot water, tea or coffee. The generous size is ideal for catering for several people at functions. The jugs will be double-walled with a vacuum in between to keep hot contents warm and cold contents cool.  



Tumblers come in all shapes and sizes, from tall highball glasses, to short round barrel glasses for cool summer drinks with ice and a slice or a cool beer by the barbecue.

Double Walled

These glasses, some with handles, are mostly used for espressos and coffees. The double walled space keeps the coffee hotter for longer whilst keeping the outside cool to the touch. Double walled glasses are very stylish too and look great as part of your daily coffee ritual.


These are large glasses with a handle similar to a beer tankard, but styled in glass. These come in various sizes and can serve a cool beer or a large cool summer punch. The choice is yours!


Champagne glasses range from saucers to flutes and are a top attraction at any celebration. Champagne saucers are wide, shallow and curved glasses sat on the top of long tall stems, they always look great for serving to guests. Champagne saucers can be stacked to create a fountain, from the top Champagne is poured until it flows all the way down to the bottom until all the glasses are filled. A star attraction. Other Champagne glasses include flutes which are long tall and thin.

Shot Glasses

Shot glasses are just as they sound, a small cylindrical glass just about big enough for one shot. These shots are mainly associated with tequila and vodka. Shot glasses can also be used for creating chilled recipes like alcoholic jello shots or an appetiser called amuse bouche and can be a great way of serving a chilled dessert as they can be styled and served in a culinary fashion.  


Electric Grinder

An electric grinder is used for grinding fresh coffee beans into a fine powder for use in a coffee filter, cafetiere or a machine. An electric grinder will use a stainless steel blade that will spin at a precise RPM to finely grid the beans into aromatic freshly ground coffee. A viewing window will allow you to determine how course or fine you want your coffee.

Manual Grinder

A manual coffee grinder is similar and sometimes referred to as a mill. The manual turn handle to grind the coffee is normally on the top, the beans will be poured in and the grinding mechanism will be operated by the handle. This allows the grade and size of ground coffee to be more controlled. The manual grinder will have a drawer or collection tray at the base called a hopper.  


Tea Infuser

An Infuser is a small perforated object used for loose tea, the infuser is filled with the tea and submerged into hot water to infuse the tea flavour into the water. The design of the infuser can be a round ball, egg shaped or a novelty design such as an animal or a fish.

Water Infuser

A water infuser is used for flavouring water with fresh fruit. A removable chamber can be filled with fruit which will infuse the water giving you naturally flavoured fruit water.  

Milk Frother

Handheld Frother

A handheld frother is used for thickening and frothing milk, it can also be used for frothing hot chocolate and coffee. The handheld frother is motorised and spins the mini frother on the end very fast to whip up the milk for the top of hot drinks or for a smooth hot chocolate.

Drinkware Buying Guide Milk Frother

Frothing jug

A frothing jug is perfect for using to froth your milk in due to its wide pouring spout. This makes it easier to pour as the milk will be thick and you will have more control over this. Some frothing jugs come with their own frother as part of the lid. As the plunger is pushed manually, the attached whisk at the bottom will spin to create the froth.  

Stove Top

Coffee Pot

A stove top coffee maker has two main sections - the base will hold the fresh water for brewing and the top section where your brewed coffee will end up. Between the two sections is a cup where the ground coffee will sit ready for brewing. Once put on the heat the steam pushes the water up through the coffee, through the filter and into the top pot. These coffee pots are suitable for all hobs but some may exclude induction due to the material it is made from, always check manufacturer’s recommendations.


The stove top kettle is used for boiling water on a hob. Traditionally this is how water was boiled for tea, coffee and even for washing before the days of the electric kettle. The kettle is filled with fresh water and placed on the stove. When the water is boiled the kettle will whistle through a steam vent or flap to indicate this. These kettles are suitable for all hobs but some may exclude induction due to the material it is made from, always check manufacturer’s recommendations.  


Sugar / Coffee / Tea

Storage pots for tea, coffee and sugar come in a range of styles and material to fit in with the theme of your kitchen. The storage jars should have a secure and sealed lid to keep moisture out.  


Tea Pot

A teapot is used for brewing tea, either using tea bags or loose tea (you’ll need a tea strainer to catch the loose leaves when pouring). Teapots are generally sized by the amount of cups it can make – ranging from one cup up to 12 cups. Larger teapots used for catering and events will be sized in litres.

Drinkware Buying Guide Teapot

Tea Press

A tea press is similar to a coffee cafetiere in that the tea, either bags or leaves, are put inside a central filter and left to steep. The plunger is pressed to push the tea to the bottom of the filter, locking the tea away and allowing the tea to be poured. These tea presses are more commonly used for tea leaves or herbs but tea bags can also be used in the press.

Travel Mugs

Travel Mug

A travel mug is used for carrying coffee or tea to drink on the go. These mugs are generally tall and are insulated or double walled to keep your drinks warm. The travel mug will have some form of drinking spout and many have some form of stopper to prevent spillages. Care should be taken as although travel mugs might be spill-proof they may still leak hot liquids if not kept upright.

Travel Press

A travel press is a cafetiere that you can use on the go. The tall insulated mug in addition to the leak proof lid and drinking spout also contains a plunger for steeping a pressing of your fresh coffee and tea. The fresh pressed drink can then be consumed straight from the mug.

Mug Cafetiere

A mug cafetiere is a large insulated mug with a filter and a plunger. This allows the use of fresh coffee or tea to be added to the bottom of the mug. After the water has been added and allowed time to steep, the plunger with the filter on is then pressed down and the coffee grounds or tea leaves are pressed to the bottom of the mug. The plunger itself embeds into the handle so that it is no longer visible or in the way when drinking.  

Cleaning and Storage


Drinkware items such as mugs, cups and saucers are generally ok for dishwasher use, however always check the manufacturer’s guidelines on this as some may not wear well or patterns and colours may fade after prolonged dishwasher use. Alternatively, clean gently in hot soapy water.


Some drinkware items are designed to be stacked together, but do so with care not to scratch off any patterned or coloured areas. Delicate items like china and glass should be handled carefully and not stored with other heavy or sharp items that could damage or break them. Bulkier items should be stored separately and not stacked where they could damage other smaller delicate items.