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When ordering a pot of tea in Australia at a cafe is it OK to ask for two cups? A pot of tea is usually served with only one cup.

I like drinking tea but I only drink one cup and I realized that a pot of tea usually holds from 2 to 3 cups, and especially when traveling with someone, it's cheaper to order a pot of tea.

The reason I'm asking this is because I've received various reactions:

  • Some waitresses frown or make a face when I ask for another cup.
  • At one cafe the waitresses herself asked if I wanted another cup.
  • Once a waitresses said "I can get you a cup but that tea pot is for one person only" while in fact the pot had enough tea for two cups.
  • Once after asking for a cup the waitresses did not bring one or maybe forgot about it.

I usually get the first reaction.

  • 3
    Maybe you could mention the sharing thing during the ordering process? We'd like to share a tea pot – Hanky Panky Oct 14 '19 at 6:54
  • 3
    Where I used to work we would have different sizes of pots, for 1, 2 or 3 people (always holding more than just for those cups) and the prices all depended on which one you ordered, so if they do a similar thing I guess some could be annoyed you want the cheaper 1 person pot, for two people, but even then I think it can depend on your server, as I wouldn't have minded where as my manager would have just given them the 2 person pot – Uciebila Oct 14 '19 at 7:40
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    As a person who used to serve food to people, I guess the frowning was due to ordering the cup after you got the teapot, not while making the order. Instead of one trip, you gave the waitress two trips, one of them is just for a cup which you could have mentioned earlier. – Nean Der Thal Oct 14 '19 at 7:51
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    UK not Aus, but I'd always just ask for a pot of tea for two. Usually you can ask them to refill the pot with hot water as many times as you like (good quality tea leaves can be reused) and so cafes normally charge a little bit more to have a pot for two. I guess this is why it's frowned upon – Bee Oct 14 '19 at 9:38
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    If you are taking two seating places in a restaurant then you should pay for two servings just like in theatres and on trains. You are using the restaurant's seating, crockery, and possibly its toilet facilities, also perhaps denying room for a paying customer. In a busy restaurant they will frown at someone ordering a bowl of soup but occupying a whole table. It would be worse if two people ask to share a bowl of soup, on the grounds that it is a generous serving. – Weather Vane Oct 14 '19 at 12:05
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Yes, it's fine. Pots are most commonly ordered to share (and priced to match, so the restaurant doesn't lose any money), and I'm quite surprised there's a place where they're not meant to be. Often, particularly in Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants (in Australia, mind you), they'll bring cups for everybody even without asking.

I wouldn't read too much into the frowns. Yes, you should have ordered the extra cup at the same time, but Australian restaurants tend to be understaffed (because of high wages) and harried, surly staff are not uncommon.

  • This does depend on whether they have it on the menu as 'pot of tea for one' with options for bigger pots as well, or just as 'pot of tea'. – Willeke Nov 24 '19 at 6:22
  • 1
    @Willeke I have never seen this message 'pot of tea for one' anywhere – Nigel Fds Nov 24 '19 at 23:53

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