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A tea (or coffee) on the run is all well and good, but drinking out of a cardboard cup is rarely an experience to be savoured. Whether it's a breakfast tea, herbal, matcha or another hot brew, sipping from a tea cup is a more satisfying way to indulge - at least, at home.
The benefits of ritual and slowing down are often touted in our fast-paced world. One way to introduce this is by bringing a sense of occasion to tea drinking with a tea cup.
Additionally, treating guests to your best tea cups when they drop in is a surefire way to make someone feel welcome.
Coordinate tea-ware to your best dinnerware sets or choose a special cup for your morning brew. Either way, we've rounded up the best tea cups from the best home decor stores, so you can sit back and relax.
Best elegant tea cups
With the looks and style of a far more expensive piece, this beautiful black striped, gold edged tea cup and saucer from H&M is fantastic value and will turn a quick pit stop into an elegant and enjoyable tea ritual.
Price: $210 set of 4
From design brand, Pols Potten, this cool and colorful tea set is crafted from glazed porcelain, in a mix of four colours and two different shapes. Adorned with elegant gold patterns, they will add a sense of occasion to everyday dining.
Best chunky tea cups
This stoneware cup and saucer from Ferm Living features a distinctive, two-tone mix of clays that create a marble-like pattern, each of which is unique to the set. The accompanying oversized saucer completes the look and even leaves space for a cookie or two.
Available in rose, off-white or caramel, the chunky stoneware Inka cup can be mixed with the other colors in the collection or enjoyed as a same color set. Either way, you may want to display this decorative piece on an open shelf between tea breaks.
Best quirky tea cups
Price: $72 set of 4
Inky octopus tentacles curl around your tea cup in this quirky stoneware tea set from Anthropologie. Embrace the under the sea theme even further with dinner plates, dessert plates and bowls from the same collection.
This iconic collector's piece from Italian design brand, Fornasetti is one for the display cabinet rather than the dishwasher. Inspired by the designer's favorite muse, opera singer Lina Cavalieri, the cup features her eye, while the saucer depicts her nose and lips.
Best rustic tea cups
Those who need a caffeine kick in the morning will love this large stoneware cup. The reactive glaze on the surface gives the cup a comforting feel, while it's generous 5" diameter x 3.25" depth ensures an ample brew to get you started.
Made in Portugal this black stoneware mug and saucer set is hand finished with a sponge glaze, so each piece has subtle variations. It holds a hefty 6.5 floz, so whether you lean towards a latte or a lapsang you won't go short.
What is the best cup to drink tea from?
For centuries, bone china has been considered the best type of cup to drink tea from. This is because bone ash (from animals) is added to the clay, which strengthens the material, so it is less likely to break than porcelain yet bone china has a more delicate and elegant appearance.
However, vegans and vegetarians may want to opt for porcelain or stoneware for obvious reasons.
The diameter of the cup is important too. A cup with the same diameter from the top to the bottom will keep your drink hotter than one with a wider brim.
'In a wide shaped cup the tea cools more quickly, in a tall shape it stays warmer longer,' says Louise Rosie, Head of Design at Wedgwood. 'A China or porcelain cup retains the heat better and usually has a finer rim to drink from.'
'Bone china is microwave safe, dishwasher safe and oven safe. The production of bone china and porcelain is essentially the same, except for the addition of bone ash to the bone china product.
'Porcelain is generally thicker than bone china, as it is forged at a higher temperature.'
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For style leaders and design lovers.
Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites
A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.
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