5 Reasons Why it’s Better to Drink Tea in Small Cups

why it's better to drink tea in small cupsIf you’re drinking tea from a mug, you might be missing out.

A mug’s capacity is often 8 to 12 fluid ounces, while traditional Chinese or Japanese style teacups can range from 1 to 4 oz (30 – 120 ml).

Here are my reasons why it’s better to drink tea from small teacups.

1. It makes it easier to concentrate on the tea’s taste

There’s a big difference in gulping down tea as opposed to slowly sipping it. When you have a small cup, you’re more likely to take your time and savor your tea.

I think that there might be some psychological explanation behind it. If you serve tea to someone in both a small teacup and a bigger one without telling him that it’s the same tea, the smaller one appears to contain a more precious tea because the quantity is less.

In Japan, the more expensive gyokuro and sencha are usually served in smaller teacups than the cheap bancha and houjicha.

2. You can share tea with more people at once

If you have many guests, it’s difficult to find a sufficiently big teapot to prepare the tea if everyone is drinking from a large teacup.

But with small teacups, it is almost effortless. Sure, the guests will finish their tea quicker this way, but preparing more tea is part of the fun.

With my 360 ml (12 oz) kyusu, I can quickly serve tea for six people by using the 60 ml (2 oz) cups.

3. You can enjoy multiple infusions without becoming full

A green tea like sencha might give you just three infusions in total. Oolong and dark tea, however, can be infused quite a good number of times.

The best way to enjoy all of the infusions is by drinking from smaller teacups.


This is also advantageous in the case that you will offer different teas at your tea party. You don’t want your guests to become full after they drink the first tea.

4. Small teacups are easy to clean and store

Small teacups are easy to clean. Not just because of their size, but because they are lighter.

Also, most of us suffer from a lack of space. I would rather have more small teacups than a few large ones.

Small teacups can often be stacked on top of each other with no problem.

5. Tea in small teacups cools faster

I don’t like to burn my tongue with hot liquids. This usually happens to me while drinking from a large teacup or mug.

Small teacups cool much faster. If you brew a tea with boiling water and serve in a small teacup, it will be at a pleasant temperature when you drink it.

No need to wait too long, or to blow on your hot tea to cool it down.


  1. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
    January 12, 2018

    I generally drink black teas, and I think it’s definitely better in a small (about 5 ounces), thin teacup than in a big mug.

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      January 12, 2018

      Thank you for your comment Jean.

      As you can imagine, I mostly drink green tea.

  2. Boba Box
    January 19, 2018

    Tip number 2 is our favourite one here at Boba Box…’cause “sharing is caring”, right? Great article!

  3. LaMonte Heflick
    June 12, 2018

    I enjoyed your information about the 5 reasons to drink loose-leaf tea from smaller cups. Yes, I agree. The total experience is enhanced when one uses smaller cups. I encourage my friends to serve tea (and premium sake) in beautiful ceramic cups. The visual and tactile attributes of the pottery coupled with the aroma and taste are welcome additions. Even the sound of pouring tea (and sake from fine 酒器 shuki) is much appreciated. Facebook “Sake Friends.”

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      June 13, 2018

      Hi Lamonte

      Thank you for your comment. I also like sake, it’s very interesting as well.

  4. anna
    January 18, 2024

    I have learned that the quality of the cup is as important as the size. Real porcelain gives the tea its full flavour, while tea in a cheap mug or cup tastes flat and less flavourful. I imagine it has to do with the glazes used.


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