Tea time is universally enjoyed today and has been throughout history. While tea time is ubiquitous with Britain, it actually has its origins in China—according to the UK Tea and Infusions Association, tea came to Europe from trade and began as a beverage only enjoyed by those with wealth, but eventually made its way to Britain when Queen Catherine popularized it because she loved it so much. The practice of drinking tea soon became a cultural tradition and the pots used to pour the tea, as well as the cups used for drinking it, became an essential part of the experience. Teapots and teacups, which began as ceramic vessels with no handles, evolved into matching sets of fashionable porcelain that graced the tables of high-class ladies and royalty in the 1700s, thanks to a man named Robert Adams.
Today, the trend of drinking tea in pretty cups is a long-held tradition. Once tea was accessible to the masses, tea service also grew in popularity until it was commonplace for a family to have at least one fine tea set that could be passed down through the generations. Collectible teapots and teacups garner their value in their rarity, beauty, and uniqueness. Quality tea service sets will withstand the test of time (with proper care, of course), and many collectible sets are made of fine porcelain or ceramics. Floral designs often come to mind when we think of a tea service set but other designs and styles make great collectibles as well. Here, browse some of the best and sip your favorite blend.
This classic china pattern made original its debut in 1962, and it's just charming today. The lovely tea set features a pattern of Old Country Roses on bone china and includes a teapot, sugar bowl and creamer.
Shop Now: Royal Albert "Old Country Roses" Three-Piece Tea Set, $180, macys.com.
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is brought to life in these beautiful ink drawings by British designer Rory Dobner. This is a complete set with a teapot, sugar bowl, creamer, and teacups and saucers.
Shop Now: Rory Dobner Tea Collection, from $39.95, williams-sonoma.com.
Royal Copenhagen is a favorite of Living editors. Peony flowers—in that iconic blue—pop against the white porcelain. Whether for a garden party or tea for two, this lovely set should do the trick.
Shop Now: Royal Copenhagen "Blomst" Porcelain Drinkware, from $115, ross-simons.com.
These handmade ceramics will bring springtime to your tea parties no matter the season. Relax and enjoy the beautiful Alpine Flowers design on a sunny (or a rainy) day, or any time you need time to yourself.
Modern classic Juliska offers the perfect tea ritual for self-care: A thread of berries adorn this collectible tea set. The teapot, cup, and saucer are also stackable for easy storage and display.
Shop Now: Juliska Berry & Thread Tea for One Set, $93.75, nordstrom.com.
Coralina is a new tableware set based on the one of the most highly reputed designers of haute couture: Oscar de la Renta himself. Buy one item or create your own set in the new Coralina collection. Floral motifs in a warm coral shade are inspired by a dress he designed for Vogue in 2006.
Shop Now: Vista Alegre Oscar de la Renta "Coralina," from $33, vistaalegre.com.
This stoneware teapot is hand-painted with bright flowers that would look gorgeous in a natural meadow as well on your table.
Shop Now: Anthropologie "Botanica" Teapot, $54.40, anthropologie.com.
Wedgwood is a mainstay in tableware. This tea set is rimmed in gold and showcases vintage pink flowers on bone china for an aesthetic that's both classic and modern.
Imagine a premium porcelain tea set that's also dishwasher- and microwave-safe? Here, you have this Villeroy and Boch collection in a blue Moroccan-inspired design.
Shop Now: Villeroy & Boch Tea Passion Medina Collection, from $19.99, macys.com.
Originated by Scandinavian designer Jens Quistgaard, this dinnerware collection features items that are perfect for a tea party, cups shared between friends, or everyday use. This set by Dansk has midcentury flair.
Shop Now: Dansk Kobenstyle Porcelain Dinnerware, from $30, food52.com.
Baroque-inspired tea cups with colorful handles are the hallmark of this set. Choose from five different handle colors.
Shop Now: Seletti I-Wares Porcelain Tea Cup Set, $48, 2modern.com.
Sometimes, you just need time for yourself, and this tea-for-one set offers a pop of coral to brighten any mood.
Shop Now: Tea Too Blushing Blends Tea For Two Coral Set, $72, t2tea.com.
Part of the John Derian collection, the rose motif is inspired by 19th century designs. Each teapot is handmade and engraved with the initials of the master artisan.
Shop Now: Astier de Villatte Small Rosa Centilolia Teapot, $405, libertylondon.com.
Spode's expertise in the Blue Italian print which features a beautiful countryside will inspire fantasies of drinking tea in a charming town in Italy.
Shop Now: Spode Blue Italian Blue Italian Teacups and Saucers, $64.95 for four, amazon.com.