Coffee has become a go-to beverage for so many in modern years. People use it as their first drink of the day to wake up and gain some energy for the workday. Many often stop by their local Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks before work to make sure they’re caffeinated before diving into their work pile. Additionally, you probably have a favorite brand of coffee makers or a favorite mug.
Well, things were a bit different back in the day. Most coffee sets came with a saucer that was used to hold the cup in place if it was too hot to hold by hand. People even drank out of these saucers! And it’s likely that back in your grandparents‘ prime, they, too, drank coffee from the saucer.
Did you or your grandparents ever drink coffee or tea from a saucer?
Drinking coffee from the saucer was often done as a way too quickly cool down the super-hot java. Coffee was served boiled, so it was extremely hot and, therefore, needed a method for cooling. Saucers were kind of like shallow bowls that people could hold in their hands and drink from. Moreover, it was more polite to sip coffee from a saucer rather than slurp it from a too-hot cup.
While it’s not clear where drinking from a saucer began, it is practiced in countries like Russia and Scandinavia. Additionally, in Sweden, they purposely overfill their cups so coffee spills into the saucer so they can drink from it. They would also hold a lump off sugar in their front teeth while sipping the hot drink. This is a tradition called “dricka på bit” or “drink with a lump.”
This has been a practice for ages now
The practice of sipping from a saucer dates back to the 18th century and plays a role in the government as well. The story goes on to say that Thomas Jefferson was in France during the Constitutional Convention. He had returned to the U.S. and asked why the delegates created two houses of Congress. “Why did you pour that tea into your saucer?” George Washington asks. “To cool it,” Jefferson responds. Washington then says, “Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”
The practice was even seen in the Little House on the Prairie books. In the bit “Farmer Boy,” Father Wilder is drinking tea out of the saucer. It seems like as time went on, only certain countries have really adopted the practice. We don’t see it much in the U.S., but perhaps next time you get coffee served with a saucer, you can try it for yourself!