So sad! ["Tarnished" Cup Cleaned - Help?]

I am – quite without exaggeration – heartsick. We had company over yesterday, who are much like family, they’re so dear to us. While they were here helping us celebrate one of the children’s birthday (15), we had several pots of tea. I took down my favorite teacup, as usual, and had a couple servings through the night.

There is a well-worn rule in this house – I “wash” my OWN tea ware. My pair of cups and pot were a very special gift, and I would rather (should something happen) I be the one responsible. I’m very particular, anyhow, and prefer them simply rinsed in hot water and left to dry on the rack – no soap and no sponges. I’ve spent almost a year and a half building what I see as a beautiful patina inside the pot and one cup. My profile picture doesn’t do justice to the depth it took.

One of our friends, wanting to help, had been going into the kitchen on occasion and washing a few dishes by hand; rinsing others to be put in the dishwasher by us later, so the party wouldn’t be a complete burden on us.

I didn’t notice my cup was gone from the dining room table until it was in the draining rack. She didn’t know the rule, I’d always before had my cup taken care of before it was time to clean up. She was so proud of how clean she’d gotten it, polishing every bit of stain out with a soapy sponge (two things that never touch my gold-accented ware) while I’d been busy saying goodbye to another guest..

Apparently, she’d earlier scrubbed out my roommate’s identical teapot; when she saw my face on seeing the shiny snow-white inside of my cup, her face fell. I tried, but I hadn’t been able to keep all of it off my face. She apologizes profusely and I did all I could to make her believe it was okay and no big deal, but.. Over a year. Every sit-down with my Partner. Every family tea time. So many friend events. All of them obliterated.

She filled it with the dregs of the pot before she left, by way of apology, but hours later, all it’d done was leave a ring.

Does anyone have a recommendation for quick-stain or a sure-fire patina start? My cup doesn’t look like itself anymore, or feel the same.

6 Replies

I always clean my cups well once that happens because the grungy stain grosses me out and makes me feel like I’m drinking out of a dirty cup. So, can’t help, sorry! :/

Login or sign up to post a message.

Uniquity said

I can’t think of any way to speed up the process. Use it more frequently, or give it many dips even when you’re not drinking but it seems like the sort of thing that would take another year of love and care. On the plus side, it is clean rather than broken! One of my beloved cups was accidentally broken by my cat shortly after my grandmother finally gave it to me for my birthday. She only broke the handle so I still use it but it was very upsetting. Enjoy getting it ‘dirty’ again is about the best I can offer.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Ysaurella said

maybe prepare a very high tanin tea, with a very long steeping time (30 mn) and leave it in the cup all night long and every night and just rinse it in the morning. It should accelerate the patina process.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Lala said

I have had this happen before. It takes a while but the patina will build back up. I know its frustrating to start over.

Coffee will give it a good stain, if you are willing to put that in your cup.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Thank you, all, for your responses and suggestions. I’m definitely going to be switching it to my morning coffee cup, and trying the high tannin tea. I am so grateful that it isn’t broken – we made the “clean your own” rule when my partner was cleaning the identical teapot our roommate had bought on the same trip.. They’re Alice teapots and have little Bread-And-ButterFly handles for the top. Well, rinsing hers, the tip of the BBF’s head tapped the faucet ever so lightly.. and snapped right off. She’s kept it in her jewelry box for future repair, and didn’t see any fault with him when it happened, but that day I sat down with everyone in the house and suggested the rule.
I would have been my own worst enemy if luck had placed me at the sink with her pot.
I’m so glad I found this site and one other tea forum – I’m on my phone at the moment, can’t remember what it’s called – because without them I’d never know about a technique of repair called kintsukuroi. I plan on surprising roomie with a kit at some point so she can not only repair her pot’s lid handle, but have it “more beautiful for having lived”.

Login or sign up to post a message.

Forgive my ignorance, but from the photo it appears to be a porcelain or other sort of glazed teacup, white inside and not porous clay. Perhaps even with a painted design on one side. I was always under the impression that the one of the main virtues of porcelain or glazed teacups was impermeability to liquid, unlike porous clay like Yixing which absorbs liquid. That being so, the coating on the cup would be just that: coating and of no value. Why keep it on?

Login or sign up to post a message.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.