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Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.

-Catherine Douzel


it may shock you to know that i collect tea cups. not that i have a very extensive collection, but i very much enjoy having a number of differently designed tea cups. i have something like 80 tea cups, ranging from vintage french demitasses from my father (for serving sipping chocolate) to japanese and korean style tea cups. my favorites are english style bone and fine china tea cups. i got the idea from a local tea house, which serves tea in only vintage bone china cups, which i found out, are mostly donated by patrons of the establishment. while a well-matched table setting is elegant in its own course, sometimes i prefer the variety of a number of interesting and pretty cups for tea!


royal daulton manufactures this pattern exclusively for fairmont hotels. i bought this tea cup on my honeymoon as a souvenir of the empress hotel in victoria, bc. i love the bright colors, and the warm gold rim, as well as the crown inside the cup. i love tea cups designed so that the pattern goes inside the cup and can be seen while drinking out of it!


my mother has a full set of this pattern by paragon, only in yellow. she gave me a couple green tea cups which she had picked up here and there. paragon was later bought by royal daulton, and no longer produces china, however, this older style tea cup has a hand painted floral pattern in the bottom of the cup that is a little bit different from the others in the set, so that even a “matched” set would have some diversity in pattern. it’s also a great way to tell one’s cup from another’s!


this “l” tea cup i inherited from a family friend, grandma lena. this was her cup, and was markedly so with the numerous “l”s! i love the lacy saucer and the gold details, and the little footer. it’s an elegant little cup without excessive floral design.


this tea cup comes from my wedding set, oberon, by wedgwood. i like it for the colorful design, asian flair, and the clean lines. since it is a set meant for myself and my husband, i enjoy that it is still feminine, but not overly feminine, and not something my husband would be embarrassed to use. it’s a good pattern to fit the both of us.


another inheritance from grandma lena was her china set, from the 1960’s. this design by rosenthal is known as “paris spring.” it is a great set for spring and summer brunches, with a very stylized shape. i like the sharp lines and the simple girlish pattern and the spring colors.


this cup was a gift from my mother-in-law’s trip to ireland, from the beleek china factory. the design “harp” is meant to incorporate many irish symbols, the shamrocks, harp handle, and the seashell pattern. the top of the cup is shaped like a shamrock as well. it is a very cute and unique addition to my collection!

tea cups remind me of when i was in third grade and my mother would invite me to take tea with her and her friends at our kitchen table. at the time she had only a few pieces of china, picked up here and there from garage sales. we brewed the tea in a blue willow tea pot, and had biscuits and cookies out of a tin. we always took our tea with honey, and no milk. i don’t remember much about these evenings, because i was focused, mainly, on drinking sweet tea with honey and eating cookies. but it was always a very pleasant, and very warm time. when i felt insecure later in the year, when my mother was very ill, i called her friend and invited her over to tea, so that we could sit together and i felt a little comforted. it’s a very pleasant memory.

if i had my way, i would collect tea cups until i was totally out of room. my husband, as it is, has forbidden the futher accumulation of tea cups in our home until we have a little more space. fortunatly, i’m at no loss, as i could easily serve fifty or sixty people tea as it is.