Facts on Tea Cups

Updated March 18, 2017

Tea cups, which can be used to serve tea or coffee, are an integral part of gastronomy throughout the world. From Britain to Australia, tea drinking is a widely celebrated custom and tea cups are a necessity for tea drinkers.


According to the YiXing Teapots Online site, which focuses on the history of the Chinese teapot, before teacups were used, much of the Eastern world drank tea directly from small teapots. “They would pour the tea from the spout into their mouths to drink it. It was not until it was exported to the West that people start to use teacup.”

Types of Tea Cups

There are countless styles and types of tea cups available for tea drinkers and collectors. Some people choose to buy tea cups in sets, while others prefer to purchase them individually to create a large, non-matching set. The two most common varieties of tea cups are the footed and the flat. Footed cups have a small pedestal-like bottom and are typically paired with saucers. Footed tea cups fit their saucers snugly. Flat tea cups have a flat bottoms. Tea cups, while most commonly made of porcelain or ceramics, can be made of any material, including stainless steal, glass and plastic.

Tea Cup Care

Storing and caring for tea cups should be done with care, as most tea cups are delicate. When storing or cleaning tea cups, they should not be stacked on top of one another, as they could break or chip. As a general rule, always hand wash china. As tempting as it may be, never put tea cups in the dishwasher – even if they claim to be dishwasher safe. Hand washing tea cups with dish soap and a soft washrag will ensure that they stay in great shape.

Bridging Cultures

Tea drinking is a ceremony practised by many cultures across the globe. From Britain to China, while different types of cups are used to serve tea, the culture of tea drinking connects the world. How do tea cups differ from culture to culture? In Britain, tea cups are crafted from delicate China and painted with ornate, flowery designs. In Japan, tea cups do not have handles, and are decorated with traditional Japanese art and symbols.

Telling Fortunes

According to Minetta, author of “Tea-Cup Fortune Telling”, “We, who find cheer in a cup of tea, may find additional stimulus in the message that it leaves with us.” While reading tealeaves has become a well-known method of fortune telling, for some readers, tea cups themselves are also a key element in these predictive readings. The tea cup is what reflects back the shapes and designs left behind by tea leaves. Analysing these patterns allows readers to “see” a person’s fortune.

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About the Author

Helena Cain began writing and editing professionally in 2002. Her work has been published in magazines such as "Better Living Magazine," "Playboy" and "Budget Living." She received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Cincinnati.