A team of tea lovers and ceramists has released a range of new tea cups specially designed to enhance the flavors of different teas, a trend that mirrors the concept of using specific stemware to maximize the flavor of particular wines and bubbly.
Tea Tasting Cups from 1660 London, which was named Best New Product at the 2012 World Tea Expo in Las Vegas this month, are designed by ceramics designer Peter Ting who has created chinaware for the Prince of Wales, and Tim D'Offay, a tea-smith who has blended teas for Harrods, Selfridges and Dean & Deluca.
The trio of tea cups, created to hold green, black and fragrant varieties, is designed to help release the full aroma and flavor of each tea.
Here's how each of the cups work:
The small diameter at the top of the cup captures and concentrates the tea's fragrance, intensifying aromas. The tulip lip gently opens these aromas, releasing them into the senses and palate. The shape retains heat, which leads to concentrated evaporation.
Best for teas like Jasmine, Osmanthus teas; floral herbal teas; Japanese roasted teas like Kyo-Bancha and Hoji-cha; Earl Grey, Chai; any oolong tea.
Green Tea Cup
The cup is gently curved on the sides, and its broad open lip allows for the smooth transition of the tea from cup to palate.
Good for Japanese and Chinese green teas; green oolongs like Baozhong and some Gaoshan oolongs; young Puerh teas.
Black Tea Cup
Deep vertical sides of the cup and slightly curved bottom concentrate heavier base notes, while the wide opening fully releases aromatic qualities of the tea.
To be used for all kinds of black tea.
Other tea trends identified at the expo included the growth in luxury tea boutiques, like DavidsTea in Canada, tea-based food spices, and cold-brewed green tea.