Usually, I try not to dwell on which cup I'm going to use when I brew my tea. The first teacup that comes to mind will very likely be the best choice. Besides, there are so many other variables involved in tea brewing that it's better, for me anyways, just to go into autopilot and get the job done. That being said, once in a while, if I'm drinking a very special tea, or I'm serving tea for a formal tasting or class, or if I'm just feeling extra indecisive, I'll start to give this gigantic subject some more consideration. Perhaps more than it even deserves.
Teacups come in so many sizes, styles and materials and I, for better or for worse, have many cups to choose from. Today I spent some time examining my favorite teacups and pondering the reasons I like them and the teas I normally pour into them. Here's what I came up with.
I will usually choose...
Teacups made in the same country as the tea I'm drinking.
Handled cups, such as mugs or porcelain cup-and-saucer-sets for strong black teas and masala chai.
Thin, delicate cups for lighter oolongs or green teas.
Porcelain cups with flared out rims because they feel so nice on my lips.
Small cylindrical cups because they feel so nice in my hands.
Finding good teacups at thrift stores.
Using rustic, handmade, pottery (especially for drinking roasted oolongs, aged oolongs, and puer teas).
I typically do not like...
Tiny teacups. Small is fine, but in my opinion, less than 50 ml is just a tease (pun unavoidable).
Glass cups (with the exception of tall water glasses or mason jars for drinking Chinese green teas.)
Cups with dark colored interiors.
I'm amused by, but not interested in owning...
Mass produced teacups with cats, flowers or Mr. T printed on them.
After all this pontificating I think I should state that I'm really not very picky when it comes to teacups and I will gladly drink out of whatever cup my host chooses to serve me with. These are just some of the personal biases I have developed over the past decade. How do my biases compare to your own?