I don’t drink coffee. While I absolutely adore the aroma, it seems to me that the aroma promises more than the taste delivers. Far more. In fact, I really don’t like drinking coffee at all.
I drink tea.
And I don’t like drinking tea out of the clunky mugs or heavy cups designed for coffee. No, I much prefer delicate teacups — with handles, without handles, and preferably made of glass. Because a large part of the enjoyment of tea is the visuals — the unfurling of the leaves, the play of light on tea liquor, and the multitude of colours that made tea encompasses.
Whenever I go into a tea shop, an antiques shop, a tableware shop, or any shop that has cups on offer, I’m immediately drawn to the one/s made of glass. Which is how, a good fifteen or so years ago, I came upon my first teacup that was really a coffee cup. I’ve since learned that its proper designation is cappuccino cup, with cappuccino being some sort of coffee affair topped with whipped cream. Inasmuch as I wouldn’t know a cappuccino from a concertino, I bought the tea cup and added it to my collection.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that teacups are generally tapered, with a smaller bottom opening to a wider rim. This is true of both Asian and Western style teacups. Unlike coffee cups, which normally have straight sides so the bottom of the cup is about the same as the top. I’ve been told that teacups have wider tops so the tea cools more quickly at the top; I’ve also been told that it’s so you can enjoy the aroma while you’re sipping. The cappuccino teacup is similarly small at the bottom and wider at the top, which is pretty much why I presumed it was a teacup.
It was immediately put into service to showcase the many shades of black teas, from ebony to chestnut to auburn to burnt sienna to topaz to gold. While I could have used it for any kind of tea, I tend to drink my black teas from a larger cup than other types of teas — greens, oolongs, white teas.
A few years ago I was shopping at a beautiful homewares shop in Bucuresti, Romania that specialized in Spanish and Italian imports. And there was a cup of the same funnel-like shape as my cappuccino teacup but about one-fourth the size. Yes! Now I had the perfect cup for my green, oolong, and white teas. Even if I have since learned that its proper designation is espresso cup — espresso, again, being some sort of coffee preparation.
The two cups are now amongst the most often used of my good-sized collection of glass teacups. I like everything about them: the size(s), the shape, the handle that lets me hold it when a glass handle, or a handle-less cup, would be too hot.
In my not-so-humble opinion, these cups were mis-named to start with, and I have in fact elevated their status by using them for tea rather than for coffee!
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All content Copyright 2013 JP Badarau; all rights reserved.
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