Timberwolf Creek Blog

The Perfect Coffee Mug

We leaned forward to listen, as one of the ladies prepared to tell us about her requirements for a Perfect Man.  He would be tall, she said, and employed.  Funny and smart go without saying.  She restricted his age to 35-43, and begging your pardon, he simply cannot be a democrat.  We sat back and laughed, and discretely surveyed the dining room.  Hey, you never know.

So here I am this morning, preparing to tell you about my notion of the perfect coffee mug.  Like my friend’s ideal man, it must be taller than round.  It must also fit on my cup warmer.  Even though it takes me an hour in the morning to savor that first cuppa, I enjoy my coffee scaldingly hot, so a cup that fits on the warmer should have a flat bottom (I’ve no idea what my friend’s requirements are in that area) so that it will actually keep the coffee hot.  Most commercial cups, which bore me to tears, have a concave base that doesn’t make contact with the warmer, and I’m back at the microwave every few minutes.  That said, it really can’t be a commercial cup.  There are just too many really fine potters out there that can make a beautiful coffee mug, and these North Carolina mountains are right smack in the middle of clay heaven.

A brief aside about our clay…  It’s so special that Wedgwood China imported it in the 1700s.  It was taken to port via the Indian Road (now I-26) to the port of Charleston and shipped to England.  Josiah Wedgwood pronounced it remarkable and called it Cherokee Clay.  There you are, a special nod to today being Earth Day.

Back to the Perfect Mug.  It should have a pleasing appearance, that evokes some uplifting emotion.  It should feel wonderful – the handle should be easy to use, your thumb finding just the right place, and the rim should be thoughtfully crafted so you don’t get that aggravating drip down the side.  It should be exactly the right size to hold a bit more than a tea cup, but not so large that your coffee’s bound to cool.  It should invite you to lean back and wrap your hands around it on a chilly morning.  Decorative, certainly, but being decorative can’t outweigh function… like those silly handles your fingers won’t fit in, or square for the sake of being square, or squat, just in case that’s adorable.  Flared rims may be unusual, but that’s because they’re difficult to use.  As in architecture, form follows function.  And it should be hand-crafted.  I don’t want to ‘make do’.  I want to Enjoy.  I want to Savor.  I want to Appreciate -both the coffee and the mug it’s in.

I’m just guessing that my friend would also like to find a man crafted here in these Smoky Mountains, with a pleasing appearance, who feels wonderful, and is just the right shape, who works flawlessly and is prepared to help her enjoy a cup of coffee every morning.  I hope she finds him.  I’ve found my mug.

Here it is.

Coffee by the Creek - New Timberwolf Creek mugs from Deneen Pottery

Made in America.  By hand.

In case you’re wondering, our mugs are handmade by the good folks at Deneen Pottery.  And the coffee that goes in them is Elida Estate, from Panama.  We’ll be happy to send you home with both.  Come enjoy your next cup on the porch by the stream, under these tall trees, at Timberwolf Creek.

4 Comments

  1. Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Your observations, humor, and love of your friends, coffee and stoneware mugs makes for a wonderful story. So pleased that the work of our hands helps you to enjoy and savor your morning so.

  2. Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Oh, Niles! I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you so much for making me the PERFECT mug. It’s just beautiful, and exactly what I wanted. (Listen up, people: if you’re having mugs made, you really do need Niles Deneen. Not kidding.)

  3. An Admirer
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    these look like some great mugs and i may have to add them to my collection some day.

  4. Jimmie Hill
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I would love to purchase some of the mugs you speak of. Do you sell them? If not where may I find them? If I do locate the right people which product do I ask for?

    Yours truly,

    Jimmie

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