I have collected tea cups and tea pots for years. Now, I adore all of my tea china, but there are one or two tea cups and pots that really stand out as favorites. Each time I make tea in my favorite pot – a simple 4-cup cedar green pot – or sip from my favorite cup – a bright pink cup with gold trim with a matching saucer – it reminds me of having afternoon tea at Liberty in London.
Not only does drinking tea from my favorite cup bring back great memories, but somehow, I’ve always thought that the tea I drink in my favorite cup, made in my favorite pot, always seems to taste better, especially when someone is sharing it with me. This feeling becomes quite apparent when I drink my tea from a plain mug at work (on those sad days where I’ve left my favorite cup at home). In those rare instances, the tea just doesn’t have the same taste or give me the same warm, cozy, and relaxed feeling. I also have many other, more expensive and fancier teapots and cups, but they don’t seem to meet my expectations like my little pink and green tea team.
And I know I’m not the only one who has a favorite tea or coffee cup. Where I work, people are very territorial when it comes to tea and coffee cups. I’ve seen the hard stares that co-workers give one another when the tea/coffee cup line has been crossed. I’ve also read emails from desperate colleagues asking if anyone has seen his or her favorite cup and can almost see the person’s teeth grinding as they ask politely for the teacup borrower to “kindly put it back in the kitchen when you are finished with it.”
As crazy and mundane as this sounds, having tea in your favorite cup could really make your tea taste better. In fact, new research from the University of Sheffield in the UK shows that a person’s brain may be trained to believe the daily ritual of making coffee or tea, including what cup you serve it in, must be done in a certain way in order to maximize enjoyment.
“Drinking tea and coffee is very ritualistic and people become very addictive to the way they want their brew made,” said study author and psychologist Tom Stafford. “The long association with the delivery of a morning cup of coffee or tea people genuinely think it tastes better out of a particular cup.”
I’m not sure about Americans, but research shows that 65 percent of Brits have a favorite cup or mug they use for their morning tea.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Starbucks any day of the week. But for those stressful moments when I need a mental and physical break, the green potbelly pot – filled with Harney and Sons Paris Tea – and the little pink lady teacup are all I need. Top this off with a lemon scone with raspberry preserve and I’m in afternoon tea heaven. By the way, for all of you who covet the little pink lady, don’t even think about using that teacup when I’m gone on vacation – believe me, I will know!