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What kind of cup is best for drinking tea? Does tea taste different in different cups?  Is tea better in a cup or mug?

What kind of cup is best for drinking tea? Does tea taste different in different cups? Is tea better in a cup or mug?

Dec 5, 2021

In most cases, a teacup is picked on its appearance, which can be exciting when there are so many different and wonderful sets to choose from. However, a lesser known fact is that choosing the right tea cup to drink your tea out of is almost as important as choosing the tea variety itself. 

That’s right! The type of cup that you use can actually have an impact on the flavour itself. Although, when you really think about it, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Have you ever noticed that drinking coca cola from a glass bottle somehow feels like a different experience than drinking it from a can? Or similarly, drinking a lager from a pint glass, rather than a bottle / can? 

But, in this article, we’re going to talk about what kind of cup is best for drinking tea, and why it can taste different depending on the cup you choose. 

What kind of cup is best for drinking tea?

So, what kind of cup is best for drinking tea? Of course, everybody will have a different opinion on this and ultimately that decision comes down to you. However, if you are looking for a little inspiration, we’ll take you through the various types of cup that you can choose and how they might influence your tea drinking experience. 

Let’s look at the various materials for tea cups and how they might influence the flavour of your tea: 

  • Ceramic: Ceramic tea cups are often favoured for their aesthetic appearance above all else. And whilst ceramic is excellent for retaining heat, it’s also a relatively porous material. That said, drinking from a ceramic mug, especially if it is high-quality, shouldn’t affect the flavour of the tea in a negative way. 
  • Porcelain & Bone China: Porcelain and bone china are among the most popular materials for making tea-ware. Scientists believe that the nature of the smoothness of the material prevents the tannin present in tea leaves from sticking to the inside of the cup and thus preserving the body and overall flavour of the tea itself. That, and these delicate materials can be fashioned with some gorgeous designs. 
  • Glass: Glass cups are actually very good for serving tea. The heat retention of the tea will depend on the overall thickness of the glass however. So, if you do buy glass cups for serving tea, you are better off opting for a thicker glass. Again, the smoothness of the glass, particularly of borosilicate glass is ideal for maintaining the overall body and flavour of the tea. 
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel cups are the most durable, however, if you scratch them then you risk leaching iron and nickel into the tea. In addition to that, they heat up incredibly quickly and can often be too hot to handle (pun intended). 

As to which is best, it all depends on what you are looking for. If you want to get your hands on high-quality teaware with stunning designs, check out Yvonne Ellen teaware in Australia

Does tea taste different in different cups?

It really does! Certainly, to the uninitiated, unless you know any different, drinking tea in whatever receptacle you are offered is going to be a pleasant enough experience. However, yes, tea really does taste different in different cups! 

Why does tea taste better in different cups?

So, why does tea taste better in different cups? Well, the easiest way to understand it is based on the texture of the inside of the cup itself. For example, if the material on the inside of the cup is porous, then it will naturally retain some of the flavour and aromas. This can essentially “dilute” the overall flavour of the tea. However, when drinking from a cup with a perfectly smooth surface inside, all of the flavour and aromas will escape from the cup, thus enhancing the overall sensation when you drink from it. 

Science is pretty weird like that! But believe it or not, it’s the truth. 

Is tea better in a cup or mug?

Is tea better in a cup or a mug? Again, this comes down to preference. You see, tea mugs are typically bigger, whereas cups tend to be much smaller. 

Mugs provide an ideal experience if you enjoy slow sipping – especially herbal teas. Whereas a tea cup is more suitable for a formal occasion, such as proper tea parties, or experiencing specific types of tea. 

A mug will almost always have a handle, whereas tea cups don’t necessarily need to have one. This can be seen in many Asian countries, where they drink herbal tea from small teacups that look more like shot glasses than they do anything else. 

And whilst you can buy “tea mugs” they usually do not vary to a “coffee mug”. Essentially, a mug is a mug. 

Again, whether drinking tea is better from a cup or a mug is entirely down to your preference. If you want to have a giant mug of a tea and sip it over a longer period without having to continually fill it up over and over, then a mug is ideal. However, if you enjoy the short sips and the frequent pouring from the mug, in a more social setting, then a cup will provide you with a better experience in that case. 

With Cristina Re teaware in Australia, you can choose from a wide variety of different teaware options, from cups, mugs, and pots, all of which boast modern and dazzling designs. 


And there we have it! As bizarre as it all sounds, the type of cup, shape, size, and material can all influence your tea drinking experience. If you’d love to get you and your friends booked in for a high tea experience, or would love to learn more about tea etiquette in general, then check out a reputable and long-established Australian tea house

We hope that this article has been both helpful and inspiring and wish you all the best with your tea-drinking escapades!