The features of a great coffee cup depend on how you like your coffee served and does not necessarily mean that it is called a coffee cup. It may be called a teacup, mug or something else. The extremes in the variety of a great coffee cup may surprise you.
Coffee has been served in different types of cups since it was first served. The first great coffee cups were slightly bigger than a thimble. They were made of different materials including copper. Drinkers sipped the coffee through their teeth to keep out the grounds that were in the cup. Later, they were made the same size, but of glass. These were great coffee cups, because of the way the guest used his cup of coffee. Each way it was used created a message to the host. For example, if the cup was left untouched, it meant that the guest wanted to talk to the host privately.
Once coffee reached Europe, they became a teacup because most of the populace were tea drinkers. Those who could afford a set for coffee use insisted that they continue to be called teacups. These five ounce bone china cups were made by companies like Spode and Wedgewood and known for their high levels of whiteness, translucency as well as very high mechanical strength and chip resistance. These, too, had another message; we are a part of the prim and proper part of society.
Other companies at that time made them out of silver, porcelain and pewter. Some of the fired ceramic cups were often painted with designs similar to the bone china cups. Each of these left a message similar to the wealthy. It said, in a way, we also have our own great coffee cups.
During this time, coffee drinking had expanded all over the world. Many countries that had been drinking tea for centuries became coffee drinkers. In Japan, for example, a great coffee cup was made very differently than the taller teacup that didn’t have a handle. Their cup was made of porcelain, was fairly shallow, had a handle and was elaborately painted.