is a small type of dishware
specifically for use with and for supporting a cup
- a cylindrical cup intended for coffee or a half-sphere teacup
for tea. Additionally, the saucer is a distant cousin to the plate. The saucer has a raised center with a depression sized to fit a mating cup. Saucers were originally used to cool the contents of the cup; the hot liquid was poured into the saucer, with the wider surface area cooling the liquid rapidly. No longer used for this purpose, the saucer is useful to protect surfaces from possible damage due to the heat of a cup, and to catch overflow, splashes, and drips from the cup, so protecting both table linen and the user sitting in a free standing chair who holds both cup and saucer. The saucer also provides a convenient place to place a damp spoon
, as might be used to stir the drink in the cup in order to mix sweeteners or creamers into tea
. Not only are saucers used by humans, they are also used by animals, e.g. cats may drink or eat from saucers.
Although often part of a place setting in a dinner set, teacups with unique styling are often sold with matching saucers, sometimes alone, or as part of a tea set, including a teapot and small dessert plates. A set of four is typical for a tea set. See also demitasse.