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Are Copper Mugs Safe? Debunk the Myths, Find Quality Cups and Learn the Truth.

Posted by Paykoc Imports ,18th Sep 2015
Are Copper Mugs Safe? Debunk the Myths, Find Quality Cups and Learn the Truth.

If you have been following along with trending topics regarding the fabulous drink the Moscow mule then you would have heard about the recent report by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division stating that drinking anything with a pH below 6.0 from a copper vessel is unsafe. That would include anything with vinegar, fruit juice and wine. Considering that lime juice is a main ingredient in the Moscow mule, this would increase the chances that your drink is not safe. However, this doesn’t mean that all Moscow mule mugs are unsafe, it means that you need to be more concerned about the quality of the mug you are using. To make sure you are getting the safest and best quality mug read on.

Resplendent, gleaming, warm: It’s undeniable that copper is a beautiful accent to any decorating scheme. The way its reddish-gold surface catches the light allows homes to shine, and carries a certain antique appeal. Copper has made a comeback all over the home, but especially in the kitchen. Copper kettles, copper pots and pans, copper sinks, copper plating—this warm material evokes a feeling of belonging. It’s an essential part of that vintage aesthetic that brings communities together to share food and laughter over drinks.

But many adding to their drinkware collection, even avid Moscow Mule lovers, hesitate, asking, are copper mugs safe? Too much copper can be toxic, after all. We’re past the days of Egyptian lead eyeliner and mercury thermometers. So is drinking from them safe?

Are Copper Mugs Safe to Drink From? YES!

Copper exists naturally in small quantities in the human body. It’s necessary to help regulate oxygen in the blood stream, and is even found in minute amounts in our drinking water. But too much copper can cause major health problems. While acute cases of copper poisoning can be treated, long-term overconsumption of copper can lead to copper toxicity, which affects multiple systems in the body, including the stomach, kidneys, liver, and brain. Heating copper to hot temperatures and cooking acidic food in copper cookware are especially likely to lead to ill effects. For these reasons, the sale of pure copper kitchenware is often restricted to decorating purposes only.

Fortunately, Moscow Mule lovers and avid home decorators alike can have their copper and drink from it too.

So how are copper mugs safe to drink from? It’s all in the lining. Most copper mugs for sale in the United States are lined with tin or stainless steel, both of which are perfectly safe to drink from at any temperature. This interior lining prevents chemical reactions between copper and the ingredients of the drink and it also prevents copper from leaking into your cocktail.

Unlined Copper Mug Safety

While used less frequently, even unlined copper mugs are safe to drink from depending on a few factors.

  1. They must be filled only with cold or room-temperature beverages.
  2. They must not be filled with an acidic substance.

Both heat and acidity react with copper, dissolving it and causing it to potentially leak into your drink. If you plan on drinking from an unlined copper mug, consider using disposable or washable inserts or ensure that it does not come into contact with high temperatures. Luckily, fans of Moscow Mules needn’t fear—the point of drinking Moscow Mules in a pure copper mug is to relish the material’s unique thermal conductivity—its ability to keep your icy cocktail colder for longer, ensuring that the last sip is as refreshing as the first.

Care=Safety for Your Copper Mugs

With proper care and storage, copper mugs are safe to drink from, and will last for years to come. Improper care can result in overexposure to copper, putting you needlessly at risk. It can also cause your copper mugs to develop a patina, aging them before their time. While this may hold a certain vintage appeal, it also places wear and tear on your copper mugs, meaning you’ll have to replace them sooner than you might like.

One of the most frequent questions we get about copper mugs is, are copper mugs dishwasher safe? The answer to this is a resounding, NO!

Copper mugs are not dishwasher safe, so please do not put them in the dishwasher. Like other finely crafted kitchenware, antiques, or delicate valuables, copper mugs should only be washed gently and by hand. Dishwashers accelerate copper corrosion, possibly leading to copper leaks. It can weaken the tin or stainless-steel lining, causing it to crack or flake, which will expose you to copper the next time you take a drink.

Copper mugs should be washed in warm water with regular dish soap immediately after use and dried right away with a dishtowel to avoid oxidation and the development of a patina. Never store copper mugs in a closed space. Instead, let them breathe in the open so that don’t sustain moisture damage. Besides, copper mugs are such a beautiful piece, why would you want them to sit away out of sight when they could lend your kitchen a delightfully antique atmosphere?

Copper cleaners are also a fantastic way to keep your copper mugs shining and damage-free. We generally recommend using Bar Keepers Friend. It’s a soft cleanser and polish that won’t scratch copper like other, harsher kitchenware cleaners. If you’re interested, you can read more about how to care for your copper mugs here.

Debunking Myths About the Copper Mug

Now that you know copper mugs are safe, its time to debunk some of the many myths about copper mugs. Imagine you’re having guests over next weekend for a big barbeque and you’ve decided to serve your safe Moscow Mules to make the whole thing truly memorable. Good idea! Now you’ll need some first-class copper mugs to serve those chilly delights, but you want to be certain that if any of your guests have concerns surrounding the many myths on the internet you will be able to answer their questions with the right answers . In this post we’re going to debunk 5 of these myths for you.

Copper Mug Myths

5 Popular Myths About Copper Mugs

  • Myth 1: Unlined Mugs are Dangerous - Not Necessarily! Just like we covered previously, pure copper CAN be dangerous but only if it is used incorrectly. If you keep the mug cold (which copper is designed to do) and as long as you don’t fill it with an acidic beverage you will be fine. Keep in mind that copper is essential for the production of red blood cells, the development of metabolic enzymes and a range of immunological functions within the body. To deny yourself copper is to invite anemia and a host of maladies related to a suppressed immune system. In other words, the trace amounts of copper you might receive from drinking out of an unlined copper mug will actually do you more good than harm. Just don’t overdo it!

  • Myth 2: They’re Difficult to Clean - Pure malarkey! People that have never owned copper cookware or dinnerware assume it’s difficult to clean and maintain. The reality however is that it’s surprisingly easy. There’s only 2 ‘don’ts’ with a copper mug: don’t ever put it in the microwave and don’t put it in the dishwasher. All you really need to clean it is a sponge and some soapy water. Even if you have old mugs you haven’t used in a while that have developed a patina all you need to do to restore them to their original luster is rub them down with a bit of lemon juice and baking soda then buff them with a clean cloth. For more information on how to clean your copper mug click here!

  • Myth 3: They’re Incredibly Expensive - Hogwash! You can get 2 solid copper Moscow Mule mugs for about the price of a large pizza. The difference is the pizza will be gone in half an hour and the mugs will last for a few hundred years if they’re taken care of. We understand the origin of this myth, to a point. “Anything that’s not plastic today is out of the financial reach of the ordinary person, right?” Wrong! A high-quality copper mug is an imminently affordable way to bring a timeless air of sophistication to your kitchen. You can even drink your nice cold brewski out of it while you eat your pizza and watch the game.

  • Myth 4: You can make a Mule without the Copper Mug - Baloney! This one is popping up with increasing frequency as the Mule comes into contact with more people unaware of its historical roots. The fact is if you combine vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and ice in a highball glass you have a… well… a vodka and ginger highball we’d assume. What you wouldn’t have is a Moscow Mule or any of its Mule variants. Think of it this way: is a martini served in an old coffee cup a real martini? Of course not. Same with the Mule.

  • Myth 5: They’re Hard to Find - Balderdash! All you need to do is go here. At Paykoc we have an array of beautiful, affordable, easy to maintain copper Moscow Mule mugs that will put the perfect finishing touch on your Mules and leave a lasting impression on your guests. If you’re in the Denver area and would like to see some of these beauties in person stop into our Logan Court retail outlet and check them out. You’ll agree there’s nothing like them.

How To Spot The Real Thing

One other important piece of making sure your cup is safe is to make sure you get a high-quality product. At Paykoc we proudly sell some of the most beautiful solid copper mugs you’ll find anywhere including tankards, barrel style mugs, kettle mugs and more with a variety of decorative touches and smooth or hammered finishes. Nonetheless one question we still hear quite a bit is this: “How do I know your copper mule mugs are actually real copper?” While we know the effort we put into sourcing our various Moscow Mule mugs we also understand that we live in a time when fakery has been raised almost to an art form so this question is bound to come up. In this section then we’re going to put copper under the microscope in order to provide you with some telltale signs you can look for to ensure your solid copper mug is the real thing.

How to test copper

How to Identify Real Copper Mugs

Wade into the markets of the developing world and you’ll find every imaginable type of fake or counterfeit item for sale at rock bottom prices. Fake designer handbags, fake Levi’s, fake Rolex watches and the list, sadly, goes on and on and on. If you look hard enough you’re also likely to find fake copper cookware, fake copper towel rings, fake copper door knockers and fake copper everything else, including mugs. But how can you tell they’re fake? Here are a few ways:

  • The drum test - Because copper is soft by nature if you strike it with a hard item it should produce a muted, muffled sound. If on the other hand you strike your tankard with a hard item and it sounds nice and clear like a church bell chances are it’s made of something else.

  • The color - One of the simplest way to determine if you’re dealing with real copper Moscow Mule mugs is to simply check the color. Real copper has a reddish tint to it while brass and bronze tend to have yellower and whiter tints respectively. If you’re dealing with an item that’s been painted with a copper color paint the finish will be grainy and dull and won’t have the hard, cool feel real copper has. If you want to dig a bit deeper wash the copper in question using a mixture of vinegar and salt. Wipe the mixture off and wait. If it’s copper the surface will at first appear clean and then adopt a greenish hue.

  • Ye olde magnet test - Copper is one of the least magnetic metals. As such if you hold a magnet near a copper mug the mug should not react in any substantive way, unless the magnet is really powerful. Then you may get a bit of a reaction out of the mug but nothing too obvious. If on the other hand you hold a magnet next to an alleged copper cup and the cup snaps to the magnet then it’s made of another metal.

  • Resistivity - If you have more of a scientific mindset you can always check the resistivity of the item in question to determine if it’s real copper. Copper is known to conduct electricity well, so if your item is resistant to electricity it’s likely not copper. Should you happen to have one around you can measure the item’s resistance with an ohmmeter. You can then convert resistance to resistivity by multiplying the resistance by the area of a cross section of the object and then dividing by the object’s length. If the resistivity is greater than that of copper (1.7 x 10^-8 ohm-meters) your item is likely made of something else.

  • Buying from a reputable seller - Maybe the best way to ensure you’re getting real copper is to buy from someone with a solid reputation for selling high quality merchandise, like Paykoc. For these retailers their good name is everything and it’s a rare one indeed that would gamble with their name by trying to pass off fake copper Moscow Mule mugs to their customer base.

At Paykoc we scour the global marketplace to bring you the highest quality copper mugs from the most reputable manufacturers. If you’re the skeptical type we invite you to put our mugs to the test using the above methods or any others you can think of.

If you are looking for something more personalized we also engrave any of our mugs with logos, quotes, names, or anything else your heart might desire


Now that you know that high quality copper mugs are safe, and most of the myths are false, browse our collection to find the right size and style for you and then sit back and enjoy a well-deserved Moscow Mule. Always remember if it’s not in a copper mug it’s not a Mule. Also consider getting your mug engraved for a more personal and customized feel.