Legend says that the Chinese were the first to invent tea and also teapots. The first ones were made around the 8th century, and appeared during the Sung Dynasty (960-1270) and the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
These teapots were made of porcelain and were commissioned directly from Chinese artisans. They were very expensive as they were brought half way around the world which in those days took around three years to get there and back.
They were also quite a status symbol of the well to do, however, the desire of the middle classes to also enjoy a nice cuppa fuelled a huge new market for teapots not made in porcelain but other alternatives.
Now in the 21st century, we have some 300 years of European teapot tradition and innovation to draw upon. Our teapot, heritage runs from ‘Wedgewood’s Creamware’ to the many and varied influences of Victorian teapots.
Which do you prefer a mug or a tea cup and saucer?
Personally, I think both are appropriate in certain situations. You would give the builder a mug, and yourself one while sitting reading your favourite magazine. Although if you were sitting in a nice tea room or having a cup of tea with a friend, I’m sure you would probably prefer the cup and saucer.
The other problem is which one to buy? Do you go for Cath Kidston’s latest designer mugs, Tesco’s Spell Out Mug ‘ Home is where the Heart is’, or an antique china tea cup and saucer that is so delicate that you cannot pop it into your dishwasher.
Personally, I only like my tea or coffee from a ‘china’ mug and would buy both Cath Kidston’s designs as well as quirky ones from Amazon like this classic Lionel Richie one ‘Is it tea you’re looking for’.
As for the antique china cup and saucers, well, I have plenty of those and now tend to buy them for my daughter who has started collecting them but NONE of them will go anywhere near my dishwasher.