You are not going to believe this.
In my search for Truth and Knowledge about The 7 Kinds of Soup Bowls, I discovered that there are 7 Kinds of Cups (not counting the boy-playing-sports kind which I plan to ignore today). There is also the Four Cups of wine theory but not talking about that today either.
Because I am That Kind of Mom, I simply couldn’t leave you not knowing about the 7 Kinds of Cups. So without further ado (oh, who am I kidding? With me, there is generally more “ado” than not), I present to you the Seven Cups.
Let’s start with the most interesting, the Chocolate Cup.
It will probably distress you to know that (in this case) the chocolate cup is not made of chocolate, taking what could have been a Very Interesting Discussion all the way down the Ladder of Interesting and stashing it behind a dusty chair.
Once upon a time there was breakfast which is just about the best thing ever especially when paired with Once Upon a Time. Hot chocolate was made (for breakfast) using unsweetened chocolate mixed with cream into which sugar and hot frothy milk were poured. Because it was quite delicious, cups were big (although they weren’t made out of chocolate). But if you were going to have chocolate at afternoon tea (which is counter intuitive but whatev), then you would drink it from a small cup that would leave you wanting more which you couldn’t ask for because that would be tacky. See how much better chocolate cups made from actual chocolate would have been? Then instead of following strict social standards around tea time behavior we could be discussing how to get chocolate stains out of frocks a la SueAnn Nivens (extra points all around even if you don’t get the reference).
Bottom line. There is such a thing as a chocolate cup (and saucer). We don’t have any in our house. Just grab a mug. Everyone will be happier.
The breakfast cup (and saucer) was invented because drinking coffee out of a thimble is somewhat frustrating. The breakfast cup (and saucer) is small than a mug, so as far as I’m concerned mugs are the way to go at breakfast.
Then there is the coffee cup (and saucer) which is good sized but not as big as a mug or breakfast cup and is used for serving coffee at times other than breakfast and after dinner. We have coffee cups (and saucers) in our house but they have never been used. Just grab a mug.
The after dinner cup (and saucer) is smaller than a coffee cup but bigger than a demitasse cup. It was invented to allow etiquette experts to feel superior since no one else can figure out when to use them. If you were to guess that we don’t have any in our house, you’d be correct.
After a formal dinner, one should serve a low-caf or decaf coffee in a demitasse cup (and saucer). Demitasse is French for “so poor we couldn’t afford a real serving.”
The formal teacup (and saucer) is slightly shorter and wider than the formal coffee cup (and saucer). According to Official Etiquette, tea is too delicate to serve at a formal dinner and is only served at formal luncheons upon request. Clearly, I come from much less delicate stock because as far as I’m concerned (and I’m pretty sure a fair number of people will agree with me), tea can be served at any time. In a mug.
Mugs range in size from “good sized” to slightly smaller than a horse trough. Mugs are used only for informal dining—except in our house where we feel strongly about serving size.
Those are the seven kinds of cups. All the other kinds of cups you see apparently just don’t exist.
Now you know.