Mustaches, once the hallmark of masculinity and style, have experienced a fascinating journey through time. Personally, when I think of that line of hair purposely grown above the upper lip, an image of Tom Selleck with his iconic chevron “stache” weirdly comes to mind.

Sporting a mustache has come in and out of trend many times in history. But the popularity has held in recent years so much so, that every November this facial hair trend intentionally comes back to raise awareness/money for men’s health issues. Most notably for prostate and testicular cancers, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

This important cause also known as Movember, came to fruition after two longtime friends jokingly planned on bringing this symbol of masculinity back to glamour in 2003. It began with just 30 men participating and not a penny was raised. However, this movement has now been embraced by 21 countries around the world and has raised more than 174 million dollars!

So you may be wondering, “what does this have to do with tea?”

Read on to understand the intriguing history of mustaches and their connection to tea!

Growing a MO during the Victorian era

The original, the pencil thin, the horseshoe, the gunslinger, the royale, the anchor, the chevron, the handlebar and the bushy walrus are what’s trending these days. But during the Victorian era, the mustache was not so much of a fashion statement but an essential component of the British Army uniform, as it was thought to command authority.

Back then, the perfect stache had to be firm, cut to an exact length, styled with a comb, sometimes dyed, and even waxed in order to achieve a flawless curly shape. Manscaping was taken very seriously but these elegant facial adornments were also the source of a common problem when the time came to drink their favorite beverage – tea!

Side note – As you might recall, drinking tea has been a tradition in the UK since Catherine of Braganza brought the first chest of tea to England back in 1662.

Disposable cups didn’t exist at that time and tea was drunk in fancy china cups.

How were these refined gentlemen able to appreciate the exquisite taste of tea when their waxed mustache floated into their beverage? Dripping wet mustaches and waxed flavoured tea was very much an issue until Harvey Adams (1833-1916) an English potter and innovator came up with the perfect solution – the mustache tea cup!

What was so special about it? The mustache cup had an inside ledge with a small hole to sip through which kept the gentleman’s mustache clean and dry. No more soggy staches while trying to carry on dignified conversations over a hot cup of tea!

Popular in the UK at first, the trend spread to Europe and made its way across the Atlantic to reach America where it was even sold at Sears and Macy’s. Mostly popular from 1860 until 1916, it became obsolete during the first world war. This decline of popularity had nothing to do with the rationing of tea, but purely because soldiers needed a clean shave in order to achieve a tight seal on their gas mask.

Mustaches and Tea in the 21st century

These days, wet mustaches are not so much of a problem. Teaware has been slowly replaced by disposable cups with sip-through lids which prevent the mustache from becoming a drippy mess!

A great solution for the mustache problem while on the go, but not as much for the environment.



Sarah + Chris

What do you think? Should the mustache cup make a comeback in our highly disposable world? Not just for the sake of mustaches everywhere, but also to the benefit of our planet? Let us know in the comments below.

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