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Tea and Tea Sets

Tea has been sipped, slurped and sunk from cups, mugs and beakers for as long as any of us can remember. Tea is the most widely consumed drink in the entire world (after water, obviously). The popularity of Tea never seems to wane. And the best way to serve your tea is, without a doubt, a gorgeous Tea Set.

Introduction of Chinese Tea Sets to Europe

The first Tea Sets were believed to have originated in China during the 2nd century BC. At that time tea was considered to be an elixir of longevity and good health. Tea culture came to Europe after interactions between Chinese and Dutch traders in the 16th century. As tea grew more and more popular, Chinese traders saw the benefit of introducing tea sets in their shipments. Their cargos began to include bowls and pots, as well as tea. Some of these would be silver, some wood, but the majority would be porcelain. These ancient Tea Sets were elemental and not as elaborate as today’s Tea Sets.

Evolution of a Tea Set

The popularization of the drink in Europe created a growing demand for Tea Sets. The first European Tea Sets consisted of a teapot and tiny bowl-cups. As tea became cheaper and more widely available, the Tea Set began to develop as a product.

Many of the elements of a Tea Set were introduced at this time. It is believed that the Dutch were the first to put milk in their tea and the first to serve tea in taverns and restaurants. Items such as saucers, sugar bowls (originally known as sugar baskets) and milk jugs or creamers became more commonplace. Sometimes a China Tea Set would include up to 43 pieces. However it was hard to drink hot tea gracefully from Chinese Tea Sets as Chinese tea cups did not have handles. Only when the production of Tea Sets began in Europe, local manufacturers eventually added a handle to the tea cup to protect fingers from the transmission of heat through the delicate porcelain. The search for novelty and evolution of art styles influenced European potteries and porcelain manufactures and made them develop new shapes and decorations for Tea Sets.

Why porcelain is the best material for Tea Sets?

Porcelain china tea sets are valued highly for both their aesthetic quality and lasting value. Porcelain, derived from the old Italian word "Porcellana" or "cowrie shell", is named as such for its beautiful sheen and likeness to a polished seashell. What makes it the best material for Tea Sets? There are a few reasons for that: porcelain is able to retain heat for a long time and in the cup only the inner part is heated. Porcelain is durable and quite thin at the same time, so it allows creating beautiful shapes and real works of art. Porcelain Tea Sets are often created by firing the pieces in relatively low temperatures in a kiln. They are then glazed with glossy-quality materials and fired again at higher temperatures. This careful process creates the admired translucent quality that porcelain is so famous for. These Tea Sets are not only beautiful to look at, and of convenient design, but they are truly built to last.