Here’s the Spill-Proof Way to Hold Your Coffee Mug

Science proves this genius grip decreases your chances of spilling your coffee or tea.


Spilling a cup of coffee is heartbreaking, especially for java lovers who spend big bucks per bean or busy parents with scant time to clean up a spill. Thankfully, a new study finding is helping people get a grip on losing valuable ounces to an accidental tip over or fall. According to science, there is one smart way to hold your mug and protect your latte from hitting anything else, but your lips. And it’s…

The claw

Although this hand position may sound like a fancy martial arts move, it is actually considered the most efficient technique to save your favorite drink from splattering, according to physicist Jiwon Han. In the study, published in Achievements in the Life Sciences, Han states, “Rarely do we manage to carry coffee around without spilling it once, in fact, due to the very commonness of the phenomenon, we tend to dismiss questioning it beyond simply exclaiming: ‘Jenkins! You have too much coffee in your cup!” After testing his intuition, Han concluded there are two key factors that affect your likelihood of spilling: the shape of the mug and your grip. He writes, “By changing the way we hold the cup, it is also possible to suppress resonance; the proposed method of cup-holding is named as the claw-hand posture.”

How “the claw” works

Compared to the normal hand motion (wrapping fingers around the mug), Han concluded, the claw-hand posture, in which you hold your coffee mug from the top with all of your fingers grasping the mug’s rim, is able to reduce the movement of the cup and lessen the impact of the coffee Han writes, “Since the magnitude of acceleration in the claw-hand model is significantly smaller, the claw-hand posture is less likely to spill coffee.” One caveat: You’ll need to wait until your drink has cooled down enough that there’s no steam to burn your hand.

Sounds like a good enough solution to help keep our caffeinated lives in check and cup balanced. Here are answers to more age-old coffee questions.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest