Tea is an aromatic beverage steeped in tradition and is enjoyed around the world for its delicate flavours and calming effects. While the act of brewing and consuming tea is a practice in itself, the way it’s served can elevate the experience into a delightful ritual. This article focuses on the etiquette of serving tea, focusing on the use of elegant pieces available.

Selecting the Perfect Teacups 

The selection of tea cups and saucers plays a significant role in the overall tea-drinking experience. These delicate pieces enhance the beverage’s visual appeal and influence its taste and aroma. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the perfect pieces.


Tea cups and saucers are traditionally crafted from porcelain, a fine china known for its delicate appearance, smooth texture, and excellent heat retention. Porcelain tea cups allow the tea to stay warm for longer, ensuring a delightful experience from the first sip to the last. Other popular materials include stoneware and bone china, each offering unique aesthetic qualities and heat retention properties.

Size and Shape

The size and shape of teacups can vary depending on the type of tea being served. For instance, delicate black teas are often enjoyed in smaller cups, while full-bodied teas like oolongs or pu-erhs may be better suited for larger cups. The shape of the cup can influence the taste as well. Cups with wider rims allow for a more direct experience of the tea’s aroma, while those with narrower rims concentrate the aromas for a more focused experience.

Design and Style

These pieces come in a wide variety of designs and styles, from classic to minimalist. The choice of design ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired ambience. However, it’s generally considered good practice to ensure the tea cups and saucers complement each other visually and create a sense of harmony on the table.

The Art of Serving Tea

Once you have chosen the perfect pieces, it’s time to focus on the art of serving tea. Here are some essential steps to follow.

Warming the Teacups: Before pouring the tea, preheat the teacups with hot water. This helps in maintaining the tea temperature and ensures a more enjoyable drinking experience. Simply swish a small amount of hot water around the cup and discard it before pouring the tea.

Positioning the Teacup and Saucer: The teacup is traditionally placed on top of the saucer. The saucer serves several purposes: it protects the table from spills, provides a stable base for the cup, and offers a convenient place to rest your spoon after stirring.

Straining the Tea: When pouring the tea, use a strainer to remove any loose tea leaves from the beverage. This ensures a smooth and pleasant drinking experience.

Presentation and Posture: When presenting the tea, hold the saucer with one hand and the cup’s handle with the other. Offer the tea to your guests on the saucer, allowing them to comfortably pick up the cup. While enjoying the tea, maintain good posture and avoid slouching.

Taking a Sip: Pick up the cup by its handle and take small, delicate sips. Avoid blowing on the tea, as this is considered impolite. If the tea is too hot, wait for it to cool slightly.

Savouring the Experience: Tea drinking is a mindful experience. Savour the aroma and flavour of the tea with each sip. Take a moment to appreciate the delicate porcelain cup and saucer in your hands.

Following simple guidelines to use elegant tea cups and saucers, you can elevate your tea drinking into a sophisticated and enjoyable ritual. So, the next time you steep a pot of tea, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the teaware and create a memorable tea-drinking experience for yourself and your guests.


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