Small petite wonders of beautiful porcelain, demitasse {pronounced-“dem-i-tas”} cups originated in mid 19th century France to serve strong Turkish coffee after dinner.  The French word “demitasse” translates into half cup, which is exactly what these diminutive cups are.

Fashionable hosts and hostesses liked to serve small cups of {very strong} coffee after dinner in delicate, beautifully made petite cups and saucers.  These little jolts of caffeine were intended to show that the host or hostess was not only fashionable, but able to afford the best coffee.

And…the side benefit was that it signaled to the guests that it was time to “wake up” for an evening of music, card games and other amusements to come.


Silversmiths even produced small-sized spoons to stir in little lumps of sugar and/or cream to go with these small demitasse sets, most often these were quite grand and elaborate.

The porcelain demi tasse cups and saucers were not part of the extensive dinner services used by well-to-do hostesses. Instead, they were supposed to be “special”, a little more ornate, colorful and fun than the dinner service, a way to really show personal taste and personality at the table.

Demitasse cups are meant to be a little flamboyant, they are statement makers!

These days, collectors love to assemble a collection filled with one-of-a-kind demitasse cups, one a little more flashier than the next.  Demitasse cups are a little quirky! That’s what we collectors adore about them. Their mix-and-match capability make them the less serious party guests of the table-setting.

Some collectors place these prized possessions in a cabinet, and don’t use them. But you can!

After dinner, serving a tiny cup of coffee to go along with the delicious dessert course is quite au courant.

Or you can do what the fashionable hostesses did in the 1800’s and serve the tiny cups of caffeine after the dessert course, in the drawing room.

No matter when you serve it, giving each guest their own, individual cup which is completely different from all the other cups on the table is a total conversation starter!

Each demitasse will have its own stories to tell, its own personality, and it’s own lively pattern. What better {and witty!} way to end a successful dinner party?


1. Select cups for their quality. As much as you can, buy the best possible porcelain cups within your budget. The luxury makers of porcelain all made demitasse sets, Limoges, Minton, Royal Crown Derby, Dresden, Rosenthal and more. It’s better to begin your collection with one, and then perhaps add one special demitasse set for each birthday or holiday.

2. Select cups that are marked.  Again, the high quality cups were meant to last for a very long time, and they have. The hand painted good ones are all signed on the bottom. Most of the antiques demitasse cups I sell will gladly be at your beck and call for another 100 years!

3. Select cups that you LOVE! These little gems come in such a wide variety of designs, each one more beautiful than the next. Collect the ones that speak to your heart. Perhaps they remind you of your mom, your grandmother, or the colors go with the color scheme in your dining room. Whatever the reason, these are little works of true art. Each was carefully crafted and painted with amazing skill.  There is sure to be one {in my case many more than one!} that you will love and want to adopt.

You can see all the demitasse cups I currently have for sale HERE.

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