FREE set of Calamityware Coasters with orders of $75 or more

FREE set of Calamityware Coasters with orders of $75 or more


How to Fill a Mug

Here on planet Earth, mug filling is a basic skill that you will use frequently. So, it is worth the effort to understand mug-filling basics and achieve mastery of this vital expertise.

1. Orientation

Before attempting to fill any mug, make sure the mug is oriented with the open side up. Mugs that are oriented with the open side down are extremely difficult to fill and the contents will seldom remain in the mug. 

If you have difficulty remembering which direction is "up," it is always away from the source of gravitational pull...the center of the planet—what we call "down."

A correctly oriented mug should look like this.


The importance of this step is captured in the traditional rhyme...
   You better stop.
   Locate the top.
   Or you'll need a mop.

2. Pre-pouring

There are two pre-pouring steps. First, make sure the mug is empty. Attempting to add content to a mug that is already full or partially full can result in a condition called "over fill." This term refers to the case when the contents of the mug exceeds the capacity of the mug to contain contents. Very messy.


Worse, attempting to fill a mug that is already full or partially full can result in the mixing of contents that should never be combined, such as coffee + tea, cocoa + beer, lint + margarita, hot toddy + pencils, etc. These obnoxious combinations can range from aesthetically revolting to explosive.


The second pre-pouring step is to locate the substance that you intend to pour into the mug. A popular choice is coffee, but some prefer tea, milk, juice, brandy, water, or a kryptonite shake.

No pouring can begin until that filling substance is available. Caution: obtaining the substance you intend to pour can require "shopping," "cooking," and "mixing" steps. The scope of these activities is too complex to cover in these instructions. But be aware that some of these efforts can be extremely time consuming. So plan ahead.

3. Fill

Finally, you are ready to pour. Assuming the substance you are pouring is liquid or semi-liquid, you can let gravity do most of the work. Position the container with the filling content over the open end of the mug and gradually allow the substance to descend into the mug. In some situations a funnel can help.


Important! Stop pouring before the mug is fully full. In most situations, you can consider the mug to be nominally "full" when it is at 90 percent of the mug's capacity. This technique allows a precautionary margin that will help reduce inconvenient spills caused by jiggling, high winds, earthquakes, and so forth. A mug that is filled to its absolute capacity is vulnerable to irksome sloshing. Overfilling a mug is a sure sign of inexperience that differentiates novice fillers from seasoned veterans.


Tip: If you are working in conditions of zero gravity, it will be necessary to make adjustments to your mug-filling techniques. These will be covered in a future lesson (How to Fill Your Mug in Zero Gravity).

Please let me know if you found these instructions to be useful.

Frequent practice of your mug-filling skills will soon lead to mastery. You’ll undoubtedly find this capability useful every day.

Don—Pittsburgh, February 17, 2022


Imagine my surprise...I thought I was going to use the word "indubitably" in this blog, but things just didn't work out that way. 

48 Responses

Anne McClary

September 05, 2022

Very funny post – definitely made me laugh – thank you!
It also made me think of some videos on this subject that have also made me laugh – google: “uncle helps niece pour things” should find it. You’re welcome!
Love all your things – artistic and writing!!


July 24, 2022

I tried mixing Guinness with juice in an effort to make it taste better. Experiment definitely explosive.


May 02, 2022

Now I know what I was doing wrong!! Thanks for the extremely informative instructions. You learn something new every day


April 25, 2022

Overconfidence upon successful pouring leads to overfill. I am currently battling this step. Filling a mug to 100% capacity leads to a situation of needing to place your mouth at the mug rim level and slurp while your mouth hovers over the liquid. This produces slop and annoying burns and dribbles down your chin. Practice makes perfect! I am hopeful.

Hexin Hoosier 67

April 03, 2022

I’m really hopeful the legislation to ban Kryptonite shakes won’t pass. Kansas, you do not rule us all!

Linda Holloway

March 14, 2022

Wait, what? Oh……now I sea…..


February 23, 2022

So NOW I know what I’ve been doing wrong!!


February 22, 2022

Finally!! Clear instructions on a task many of us find challenging. Many thanks!

CG Phillips

February 21, 2022

Very detailed instructions which is important for successful mug filling. Can’t wait for the zero gravity post. A future topic might be matching the mug with the contents you intend to pour into it – indubitably!

Betty Shropshire

February 21, 2022

Please make t-shirts utilyzing these wonderful mug shots, especially the final one. I do so love it!


February 21, 2022

I can see someone is putting their SixSigma Green Belt skills to good use!

Karen Dannenbaum

February 21, 2022

Great, clear illustrated instructions. Could you possibly add instructions on what to do once the mug is full?


February 21, 2022

I’m torn between two poles – grateful for a mirthful morning and angry because my smile lines just got deeper! Thank you for the invaluable lesson! (And great illustrations too!)

Catherine Witherell

February 19, 2022

I love this post! Glad you remembered to slip the word in there.


February 19, 2022

I really appreciate this blog! Following these instructions made my morning so much better! Thank you!
P.S. Am looking forward to the shopping, cooking blog and the one I’m sure is to come: making a decision on what to put in your mug!

Marie Listopad

February 19, 2022

Thank you. This was very helpful for me from the third planet of Altair. Our gravity is quite different. We do not have the concept of “full” because our resources are limited. I am afraid that if I stay here too long I will resemble a sphere.


February 19, 2022

Wonderful! Thank you for this most excellent course on the theory of fillability.


February 19, 2022

But the explanation was indubitably accurate!!
Will there be an explanation of how to walk with a filled mug?
Many people seem to have troubles with this, especially when the mug is filled with beer or wine or other alcoholic substances.


February 19, 2022

…very helpful information.


February 19, 2022

I found the accompanying images both delightful and quite helpful for instructional purposes. Thanks!


February 19, 2022

Glad I finally got around to reading your blog. It is indubitably the happiest thing I’ve read today – and the most useful. The pre-pouring step has often been challenging for me. So, Thanks -s

Marie Sullivan

February 19, 2022

Not over filling the cup is key. I’ve overfilled my cups a few times, and I had to dump it all out in the sink, and start over.


February 19, 2022

I’ve overfilled my mug many times, plus sloshed many a time, knocked it over many times, and used instant coffe. Thank you for these tips. Indubitably..

Maggie S

February 19, 2022

Laughing so hard! Thank you for my morning laugher exercise this morning.

I have definitely been practicing filling my Calamityware 20 ounce mug on a daily basis. My current favorite fill substance is MycoBrew Cocoa by Fungi Perfecti. Nothing like a little fungi to get the day going. Seems fitting for the Calamityware mug.

Carin Weichler

February 19, 2022

Being from the burg myself, I’m sure you wrote gov. tech manuals for Westinghouse in a past life.


February 19, 2022

Yes, 90% full!! Don’t give me a partial cup of coffee. My biggest pet peeve.


February 19, 2022

Thank you so much! Great tips! I will put this on the refrigerator so we don’t forget. 👾👹👿🦖🦕


February 19, 2022

Very useful instructions! However, it is necessary to stress the importance of watching the procedure. It is easy to become overconfident after successfully filling a mug once or twice, and to look away (with as many eyes as one may have) during the fill, resulting in the dreaded Slop. This has happened to me on various occasions.


February 19, 2022

Thoughtful and well-researched content, Don. Don’t know what I’d do without you!


February 19, 2022

I was in hysterics. I work at NASA in coordinate frames and this blog is going on my wall 😂

Lin Z

February 19, 2022

Zero gravity will be an important lesson. Because I am older than the hill I live on gravity is overwhelming and I’m considering adding a zero gravity addition to my home. Thank you for gravity tips!


February 19, 2022

Very helpful! Thank you! 😺


February 19, 2022

I think I’d better go practice with more coffee. (*Sheri hears Don answer, ‘indubitably!’)

Sharon Cemashko

February 21, 2022

Have they yet registered with a political party?


February 19, 2022

Thank you for these instructions. I will find them very helpful when I receive my TCBW mug. Indubitably.


February 19, 2022

I’ll state it for you! This blog was INDUBITABLY funny and very amusing – in both content and illustration. Can’t wait to see the following lesson on filling a mug in a zero gravity situation… Got to find my steno pad to take notes!


February 21, 2022

If you are an optimist, filling a mug to 99.9 percent of it’s capacity is something you will have to deal with. Who wants a half full mug? Isn’t more better? You will find that over time you will become an expert at judging the slopability of the liquids in your mug based on their viscosity. Examples: Tomato soup is thicker than tea. Coffee with milk is thinner than coffee with a generous amount of heavy cream. Yogurt and ice cream are virtually unslopable. You get the idea. Filling your mug with solids is an optimists dream. You can mound cereal and still keep the milk in the mug while transporting to wherever you will be consuming it. I suggest not adding all the cereal all at once because adding the milk will raise the level of cereal past the ability of the mug to contain it. You can always top off the cereal after the milk to get as much mounded above the rim as possible without loosing too much during transport. This is where having dogs can be beneficial especially if you will be filling mugs and going any distance through the house. They learn quickly that when you say, “Oops” that is the cue for them to get to work. Dogs are optimists too and excellent at cleaning up spillage. Have you ever seen a plate when they get done helping? So shiny you can see your reflection. If you have hard floors you will never know there was a spill. My two dogs now see me with a mug and follow me just in case they will be needed. Cats are another story. Cats have a sense of humor and love to play tricks on their humans then look innocent while they are laughing at you. They can look like they are sleeping but they are really just waiting for you to be walking with your optimist mug. Then they silently dart out, get underfoot and retreat quickly to observe their work. Cats hardly ever get a slop on them in this process because they are nimble and quick. They are faster than the fraction of a second it takes the spillage to reach the floor. Optimists should take care while transporting mugs with cats in the house. That is why I have two cats and two dogs. I love the cats sense of humor and the dogs are happy to clean up after their pranks.


February 19, 2022

I love it when your creatures from another dimension come to visit! Please continue with their adventures on the earth plane! 😊

Valerie Martins

February 19, 2022

Totally Amazed, that for all the time I have been on earth, that never understood the importance of filing my cup/mug correctly. Appreciate your attention to detail. VLM

Kristen Holland

February 21, 2022

Super helpful tips! Quick question: Any plans to put the “unspecified sports team” design on a mug or hat for those who do not wear Tshirts? (The extra appendages get in the way, doncha know.)


February 19, 2022

I felt seen with this: “Worse, attempting to fill a mug that is already full or partially full can result in the mixing of contents that should never be combined.” I once accidently poured coffee from my cold coffee dispenser into my half-filed (with wine) wine glass. The box of wine was next to the coffee vessel, and they have a similar spout. No good.


February 19, 2022

A timely post for even the more seasoned mug filler. Sadly, I should have reviewed before the OJ/gravy debacle.

Corlis Robe

February 19, 2022

The red sentence about ‘Please let me know if you found these instructions useful’ isn’t a link. How does that work then?


February 19, 2022

I happily read this blog out loud in the kitchen in a droning voice this morning. From now on the family is bringing me coffee in bed to prevent further artistic and literary performances pre-dawn. So pleased.

Sam B

February 19, 2022

Turning on my phone before my first mug fill takes a lot of effort but this article made it all worthwhile.

Gloria Giffords

February 19, 2022

Coulda been helpful this morning.


February 19, 2022

So true!


February 17, 2022

I hate it when I don’t get to say “indubitably!”

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