The first small cups specifically made for drinking the beverage tea when it was newly seen in Europe in the 17th century were exported from the Japanese Port of Imari or from the Chinese port of Canton. Tea bowls in the Far East did not have handles, and the first European imitations, made at Meissen, were without handles, too. At the turn of the 19th century canns of cylindrical form with handles became a fashionable alternative to bowl-shaped cups.
The handle on a teacup was an explicitly German invention in 1707, by Johann Friedrich Bottger, to solve the freshness issue.
Data Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teacup
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