Taste The Earth Blog

Are Ceramic Lined Mugs Safe? Everything You Need To Know

by Mark Morphew on Dec 08, 2021

Are Ceramic Lined Mugs Safe? Everything You Need To Know

Travel mugs are perfect for taking your favorite hot or cold beverage with you when you leave the house. But, the problem with many of these tumblers is that they can often have a slightly unpleasant metal taste due to the beverage inside coming in direct contact with the inner lining of the mug.

The metallic taste always seems to be there no matter how many times you soak and wash the tumbler. Your coffee, tea, or other drink just doesn't taste as it should! Yuk!

The good news is, travel mugs such as those sold by Taste The Earth have gone and solved this niggling problem and have a hardened ceramic inner coating that separates your beverage from the outer metal.

You can enjoy your beverage the way it's meant to be enjoyed without any funky metallic taste or smells. Plus, the ceramic coating stops rust, corrosion, and leaching in its tracks. It's a win win!

This sounds perfect. But, one question that often pops up is whether ceramic lined mugs are safe. Are you opening up the door to potentially more health risks by drinking from a ceramic mug than a regular metal tumbler?

Let's find out.

Is The Ceramic Coating On A Travel Mug Safe?

Are ceramic mugs safe? The short answer. Yes.

The ceramic lining found on popular travel mugs and tumblers such as those in the Taste The Earth range have been coated in a thick layer of ceramic coating.

This coating has been clinically tested and is safe for both you and the environment.

As long as the travel mug is well maintained and cared for, the coating should not pose any health risks. However, in the event that the layer does become cracked or begins to wear off due to daily wear and tear, underneath the ceramic coating is kitchen grade stainless steel core which is also safe to drink from - if you don't mind the slight metallic taste.

The only potential problem would be if the ceramic starts to chip away and you inadvertently swallow a piece of the ceramic with your drink.

But to be honest, if your travel mug or tumbler is in such a damaged state with cracked and chipped ceramic, would you be using it for drinking? I doubt it.

Don't Get Confused With Traditional Ceramic Cups

Ceramic lined travel mugs and tumblers are entirely different products compared to traditional porcelain coffee mugs.

Traditional ceramic mugs have potential health issues associated with them, but those risks are determined by how and where they were manufactured.

Ceramic mugs are glazed and typically have elaborate decorations, both of which usually contain lead or cadmium. Lead is often found in the glaze and decorations. Cadmium is the ingredient that gives the ceramic coffee mugs and cups, and other dishes their bright colors.

Vintage ceramic ware poses a higher risk of contamination, whether plain white, colored, or decorated.

It wasn't until 1970 that the FDA started to test ceramic cups and other kitchenware for traces of toxins, so considering that we can say that anything prior to 1970 has a high chance of having high levels of lead or cadmium that cause potential health problems.

The rate at which these toxins leach from the kitchenware can be accelerated when acidic foods are placed inside the mugs, bowls, or dishes.

Take coffee, for instance, which can be very acidic. Drinking your favorite cup of coffee from a traditional Chinese porcelain mug probably isn't going to be the best idea.

Also, it's worth mentioning, seeing as we were on the subject, that microwaving a ceramic mug containing cadmium or lead has been proven to cause the leaching of these toxins to become easier.

Which Types Of Travel Mugs And Tumblers Pose A Risk?

So now you know the differences between a traditional ceramic style of mug versus a modern ceramic lined or ceramic coated travel mug. Let's take a look at which materials can pose a risk when it comes to travel tumblers.

First off, you'll want to choose a reusable travel tumbler that best suits your lifestyle.

If you're active and sporty and want something for your cold drinks, you are best choosing stainless steel or a durable BPA plastic bottle.

But if you're looking to maintain the flavor of your hot or cold beverages, a ceramic lined tumbler or mug is going to be a much better solution. It will be safer and won't taint your drink with any nasty smells or unwanted metallic tastes.

In today's overcrowded market, you can find travel tumblers and mugs in a vast range of different styles and manufactured from a whole host of different materials. But are all of the materials safe, and could you be putting your health at risk by choosing the wrong type of tumbler?

Plastic is going to be the most hazardous material and can pose even more danger when storing hot beverages, such as coffee or tea.

Heat will increase the amount of toxins leaching into drinks faster. BPA free plastic bottles are available and work great for cold drinks, but there are still risks of harmful chemicals that may leach in small concentrations from the plastic.

This is a problem that can be exacerbated by storing hot drinks for prolonged periods of time. Hot water is far more problematic for plastics than it is for high grade silicone and steel.

Should You Hand Wash Your Ceramic Lined Mugs?

The safest option with ceramic lined tumblers and mugs is to hand wash them.

While most of the best travel mugs can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher, it is recommended to hand wash your mug or tumbler. This will help prolong the life of your mug and ensure that the ceramic coating doesn't chip or start to wear off sooner than it should.

But that's not the only reason why we recommend hand washing. The dishwasher does a reasonably decent job at cleaning, but when it comes to travel tumblers and mugs, the dishwasher may not get into all the nooks and crannies, especially around the lid of your cup.

Microorganisms love to breed in these hard to reach places, and with a good soak and a thorough hand wash, you can make sure to get inside every nook and cranny.

Why Does Coffee Taste Better In A Ceramic Mug?

One thing that goes without saying is that coffee always tastes better when you drink it out of a ceramic mug, and there is a reason behind it.

Ceramic is a solid and neutral material that neither absorbs nor imparts flavors, leaving the coffee to taste just as it should. Our sense of taste is pretty complicated, and much of what we consider flavor really comes down to smell.

When it comes to enjoying your favorite beverage, would you rather have your drink taste as good as possible or bland and flavorless? We bet the answer is pretty evident. With its neutral characteristics, ceramic really is the best choice.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, if you've gotten this far, you now have a better understanding of the safety of ceramic mugs and the different types found in the marketplace.

But, remember not to confuse traditional, vintage-style porcelain mugs, plates, dishes, and other kitchenware with modern ceramic lined travel drinkware; they are entirely different products. Today's drinkware innovations have gone through strict and thorough testing and have passed rigorous safety standards.

Take Taste The Earth products, as an example, which have been clinically tested to be safe for both you and the environment, plus all the ceramic coatings and mug parts are food grade quality and lab tested for safety. FDA, Ca. Prop65, and RoHS compliant.

You can sleep easy knowing that your beverage tumbler is not harming you or the environment. The only thing you need to worry about is which hot or cold beverage you're going to take with you when you run out the door.


Mark MorphewMark Morphew is a freelance writer specializing in digital marketing and the hospitality sector. He helps coffee, catering, and food tech businesses create better content that drives more traffic and increases customer engagement.