Why The Perfect Cup of Tea Needs English Fine Bone China: The Art and Science

With the prospect of a lazy bank holiday looming tantalisingly large, here at Halcyon Days we’re looking forward to a long weekend filled with life’s simple but sacred pleasures. We’re referring to snoozes on the sofa, leisurely al fresco breakfasts (a break in this interminable rain permitting) and, being English, we’re of course referring to endless cups of tea. 

As we all well know, how the perfect cup of tea is made is a subject of national contention and passionate debate. There are those who favour milk first, and those who favour none at all. Those who opt for Everest-like mounds of sugar, and those who are sweet enough already (sorry - it had to be said). Then we get to questions over painstakingly precise pantones, brew times, loose leaves, tea bag shapes, temperature, and we haven’t even got started on brands.

How do you take yours?

One thing that there can be no debate on, however you take your tea, is that drinking it from an English fine bone china cup makes the experience infinitely more enjoyable. The reasons for this are both aesthetic and practical; a fine combination of art and science.

Fine bone china is a material synonymous with luxury, and its visual elegance results from meticulous craft techniques. Our English fine bone china is handmade in the same way it has been for centuries, so sipping from one of our cups is to drink in a long history, proud heritage, and a continued championing of excellent artisanship. Staffordshire potter Josiah Spode is cited as the founding father of fine bone china as we know it today, and he favoured a mix of animal bone ash and clay minerals. From Spode’s initial production of it in 1790 up until the second half of the 20th century, bone china was an exclusively English product with its craft effectively localised in Stoke-on-Trent. The town remains the hub of the industry and is where our factory stands today.

These days, we no longer use real animal bones in our production processes. Instead, our pieces are made with natural crystalline minerals containing a high calcium content. Our own secret recipe sees a blend of natural materials that give the subtle transparency but considerable strength and longevity that characterise fine bone china of the very highest quality. 

The final flourish comes in our varied, often hand-painted, decoration. From our recent ultra-chic collaboration with Nina Campbell to the charming Castle of Mey collection and our contemporary-feeling Parterre range, English fine bone china can take on an array of appearances to match all tastes and fashions. 

Our Bespoke Service can cater to all your fine bone china needs

Aesthetics aside, there are reasons why this much-coveted material makes a practical choice for tea drinkers too. The thinness of the rim on an English fine bone china teacup allows for maximum exposure of the liquid to your taste buds, so you can enjoy a full blooming of your tea’s flavour. Also, unlike earthenware and porcelain, fine bone china is non-porous. This has twofold benefit as, first, it most effectively contains the aromas and flavours in your cup, and secondly, the cup doesn’t absorb flavours from previously contained drinks so the essence of the tea won’t be tainted in any way.

These effects mean an ever crisp and fragrant taste, essential for satisfying the shrewd sipper. The final scientific perk of English fine bone china comes in its ability to conserve temperature far better than other available materials, leading to a prolonged and more leisurely drinking experience.

In the diverse, divided world of teatime, drinking from quality English fine bone china is a unitive, unchallenged pleasure. Now, go and get that kettle on, the weekend has begun.