The Best Tea Cup, Mug, or Glass


Flowering Tiffany Rose Melody Green Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)
Flowering Tiffany Rose Melody Green Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

If I had to drink tea in a Styrofoam cup or one of those cardboard carryout cups with the molded plastic top that seem all the rage these days, I’d have to think long and hard about it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’d prefer no tea at all, and I haven’t done any research on the topic, but the evidence of my own tastebuds tells me that tea consumed in one of these vessels suffers greatly.

In a pinch these days I can make do with tea consumed from a proper porcelain tea cup or a mug, but I’d prefer not to. My preference is for a cup made of clear uncolored glass and nothing else will really do the trick. I won’t go into my reasons again since I already discussed them in an article that was published here a while back.

I was reminded of this subject a little while ago when I read an article at the Decanter Web site. Obviously, they’re a wine publication, but this particular article takes a look at tea and more specifically speculates on what might be “the perfect glass for fine artisan tea.”

It all took place at a London tea tasting sponsored by Riedel, an Austrian glassware maker, an event that was attended by sommeliers (presumably of the wine type) and journalists. While the glassware used for the tasting was limited to varieties made by Riedel, it was an interesting exercise nonetheless.

The winner, according to Riedel head, Georg Riedel, was the company’s O Cabernet glass. The tasters thought it “brought out the fruity element in the different teas,” which included varieties from Nepal and the Darjeeling region of India.

Now, if you’re hoping to one day see Riedel’s version of the perfect tea glass at your local glassware megastore, you’re probably in for a disappointment. Georg Riedel claimed that it would not be “economically viable” to make anything less than 40,000 units of a particular glass and is probably correct in assuming that there aren’t enough premium tea drinkers to make this feasible.

Not that Riedel is a great fan of tea anyway. He was forthright about this, saying that tea was an unknown quantity to him and “I would never drink it.”

To which I say, in the words of the great Steve Martin, “well, excuse me.”

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One thought on “The Best Tea Cup, Mug, or Glass

  1. While I disagree about never drinking from a rounded lip disposable cup- guilty as charged when I’ve been absolutely parched for a cup of tea. I have recently become partial to the clear glass cup for tea drinking and I would agree with the sentiments in your article!

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