Travelers to the Far East and the New World brought back three new hot drinks to Europe during the 1600s: tea, coffee, and chocolate. By the middle of the 1700s, these drinks had become part of the daily life of the aristocracy and wealthy bourgeoisie, requiring new serving vessels from which to pour them. Chocolate was considered a breakfast drink, tea was drunk in the afternoon, and coffee was taken after dinner.
Porcelain was the favorite material for tea, coffee, and chocolate services, as it did not crack with heat and remained fairly cool to the touch, unlike silver vessels. This tea service, consisting of two cups and saucers, a covered sugar bowl, teapot, and tray, displays Rococo shapes and Neoclassical-style painted decoration. The pierced and lobed tray, with ribbons entwined around the handles and latticework panels, is typically Rococo; in contrast, the use of neat, symmetrical arrangements of floral garlands and arabesques is a Neoclassical trait.