The Language of Teacup Design

Teacup designs have a language all their own, and when you learn it, you can enjoy your tea even more! Here is a handy chart (with mostly teacups from my own collection but one or two found online) to serve as your interpreter:


As you can see, this cup is large enough to hold a whole apple, just in case you have a hankering for some apple flavored tea! This teacup (or mug might be more appropriate here) says, “I’m serious about tea. No fooling around with sipping and sniffing the tea. Big, hearty, throat-scorching gulps are what I’m made for!” Check out this generously proportioned teacup.


Here is a wonderful porcelain teacup and saucer filled with Sylvakandy Estate Ceylon tea. This teacup says, “Tea is my refuge, my island of calm in a hectic-paced world.” It also welcomes just about any tea you prefer as your cuppa for that quiet, soothing tea moment. More porcelain teacups here.

VA teacupsAVirgin Atlantic teacups (Photo source: screen capture from site)

This one, featured in this article by Bill Lengeman, says, “I’m part of that hectic-paced world and love every minute of it.” After all, what’s faster than a jetliner for getting you from point A to point B on this planet (except spaceships)? Whether sipping or gulping, you will enjoy the tea more from a teacup like this!


And this sturdy one says, “I’m a no-nonsense tea drinker who drinks tea for it’s beneficial qualities (such as that morning wake-up boost or mid-afternoon pepper upper.” The Kambaa Estate tea in that cup is certainly an appropriate pairing.


Glass teacups like this one with its matching saucer give a modern, clean, yet delicate air to your tea time but also say, “I like to really enjoy the   sight of my tea!” This is a light Sumatra Oolong, very pale in color and   delicate in flavor. But you can enjoy just about any tea in a cup like this.


I’m trying to show the cups in their proper size in relation to each other but might have this one a little too big. This is a sipper cup and thus has no handles, which is how teacups were when tea first came to Europe. (Refined tea drinkers felt that adding a handle was better, and clever potters found a way to make them so the handle would stay relatively cool.) This cup, filled with a wonderful Keemun, says, “Savor every drop in me!” And that’s what you will find yourself doing, sip by wonderful sip.

Now that you have some idea of what those teacups are saying, listen carefully at tea time. You might hear something very interesting!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© 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.

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