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Coffee Services

The history of the coffee service is indelibly tied to that of coffee, which first emerged in the Arabian Peninsula around the 1500s. Its drinking spread to Western Europe around 1600, where coffee experienced immediate success. The rapid popularity of coffee drinking meant that elegant entertainers needed more fancy services with which to treat their guests, so soon, ceramicists and potters were generating coffee services complete with pot, creamer, and sugar bowls along with associated cup and saucer sets.

As the great porcelain producers including Meissen and Sevres came into acclaim in the 18th century, coffee services became increasingly elaborate works of art, a tradition that continued to evolve as artistic and decorative tastes changed. Today, there is a remarkable range of coffee services that can work with any design aesthetic.

Quick Facts

  • So rapid was the adoption of coffee as a beverage that, between 1600 and 1650, hundreds of coffee houses opened in the city of London alone
  • When the Mayor of Amsterdam visited the French King Louis XIV in 1714, he brought the gift of a coffee plant
  • A recent record price for a coffee service occurred at a Christie’s auction in 2014: a marvelous Russian silver gilt and cloisonné enamel set sold for $351,567, not including cups and saucers

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