Having recently expounded on some really BIG tea cups and mugs, I thought I would look at the other end of the size spectrum and showcase some really small tea cups and mugs. Immediately, though, I ran into a snag: the search results for “small teacup” popped up some unexpected results. I kept seeing links to stories about teacup poodles in the search listings. Tea time has gone to the dogs. Woof! Also, teacup kittens and teacup pigs showed up. Meow and oink!
Tiny teacups are out there, though, and I, your intrepid finder of such things, was determined to ferret them out (sorry, couldn’t resist another animal reference here).
One category of tiny teacups are the sipper cups that usually have no handles. I came across a set of 4 cups made of Jujube wood and measuring 5.5cm x 5.5cm. There is also a set of 12 cups with a pitcher — all carved out of a translucent stone (onyx or agate, according to the seller); the cups are a mere 2” tall. In my own teawares collection, my smallest cups are actually sake cups that I use for some of my sipper teas.
Another option is to repurpose those tiny espresso cups. They usually have handles and saucers, making them perfect for a tiny cuppa tea, something that you can steep in small quantities for several infusions. Have something tasty and much lower in caffeine than espresso (one cupful contains 502 milligrams versus about 47 milligrams in a cup of black tea).
How small can a teacup be and still hold tea? Good question and quite a tongue twister. The same question applies to teapots, like the teeny-weeny one made by master potter Wu Ruishen — it can sit on the tip of his finger with room to spare. And then there’s the world’s smallest tea set, consisting of a teapot with lid, 2 teacups with saucers, and 2 spoons. They all fit into a 1” capsule, which tells you how tiny they are. The pieces are in red, yellow, and blue plastic, and the set is made in Japan.
One final note seen in a tweet by Bill Lengeman: For Queen Elizabeth II of the UK in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee, artists Karen Griffiths and Peter Armstrong created a tea set in miniature for the fine china company Stokesay Ware. The set consists of a teapot with lid that stands 14mm tall, a milk pitcher, a sugar bowl, two cups with saucers, and a couple of dessert plates (per the photo). It is made of fine bone china, gilded in 22 carat gold, and carries a correspondingly high price tag of £137.
Well, it seems that tiny teawares options are out there after all. Seek and find!
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.