The Demise of the Teacup and Saucer?

Is the teacup and saucer disappearing from our arsenal of potable toters? Do we no longer have time for the more genteel and somewhat slower pace that lifting teacup to lips and setting it gently back down on the saucer practically demands? Or are we just so connected to dunking a teabag in a mug of hot water to make our tea that we have abandoned this emblem of a more civilized life? No idea.

Wedgwood Oberon Leigh Flora Teacup
Wedgwood Oberon Leigh Flora Teacup

What I do know is the other day in a large housewares store I asked where the teacups and saucers were and was told that they didn’t carry them any longer, that customers just wanted mugs. The store employee then proceeded to show me their wide array of mug choices, and quite an array it was! There were ceramic mugs in a rainbow of colors. Many were plain, but others had a variety of designs or product logos on them. Some had lids. Others had both lids and ceramic infuser baskets. Some had little “addendums” on the side for your spent teabag. Others had a “strainer lip” built in for us loose tea lovers. Some even came with little matching spoons.

Hm… maybe that employee was right! Mugs seemed to be dominating the store shelves. There were teacup/saucer pairs here and there, mostly in boxed sets. But they were rather unappealing overall.

Off I went to another store, one that carried lots of dishes, kitchenwares, etc. Unfortunately, their teacups and saucers were part of dish sets. I didn’t need four dinner plates, four salad/dessert plates, and four soup/cereal bowls along with four teacups and four saucers. In fact, I was only looking for another nice teacup and saucer set to add to my rather eclectic collection.

Royal Roses Bone China - Cup and Saucer - Single
Royal Roses Bone China Cup and Saucer

Thank goodness for online vendors and antiques stores!

Often, online vendors can carry items in stock that those large brick-and-mortar stores cannot. And antiques stores abound with odds and ends — their specialty! My guess is that the teacup and saucer are alive and well, serving their function of making you slow down just a bit, sip your tea a little more leisurely, and feel, even if only for that few moments, totally at peace with the world.

There is something about the ringing sound of teaspoon against bone china that says, “You are no longer a cave dweller.” And the very feel of that saucer in your hand and cup raised to your lips, then lowered and nesting on that saucer, seems to let stress ooze out of your mind and heart. To make things complete, that saucer is a great place to rest a slice of Bakewell’s, a Walker’s shortbread cookie, a McVitie’s digestive, or some equally scrumptious item you baked up from scratch as the perfect tea time treat!

Yes, I’m quite sure that the teacup and saucer have not demised. They are hanging out online and in the antiques stores, waiting for you to decide, “Time to get civilized!”

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17 thoughts on “The Demise of the Teacup and Saucer?

  1. Pingback: The Demise of the Tea Kettle? « Tea Blog

  2. I came across these Beautiful and unique Cups and Saucers,in a small
    gallery in Bradford On Avon Just before Christmas and I Bought two of them.
    I was pleased to see them on ebay whilst browsing for an antique cup and saucer to add to my growing collection.
    If you want a beautiful collectable, and a conversation piece whilst drinking your tea then I highly recommend these extraordinary sets.

    [link removed per blog policy]

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  15. What? Give up my teacup & saucer? I think not!! 😉 As my dear Irish grandmother would say, “Life is too short to drink tea out of a mug!” I will always be the one left scouring the antique shops, thrift shops, and any vendor I can find for these treasures. I love to think of who might have enjoyed tea in these precious beauties years before me & the stories these tea cups could only tell! 🙂

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