The Different Types of Tableware and Drinkware

The Different Types of Tableware and Drinkware

Sam Chun

Shopping for dishes sometimes seems more complicated than it needs to be. Between dinnerware, silverware, glassware, earthenware, and serving ware, you can find yourself confronted by so many "wares" that it can really "wear" you out. But you needn't be intimidated by these formal classifications. As you'll see, the different types of tableware and drinkware are more intuitive than you may think. So, today we thought of taking you through some of these main "wares" that you will need in your day-to-day lives and for parties to make your lives easier. 

Any meal begins with serving the food, so we'll start with serving ware, shall we?  

Serving Ware

Aren't plates serving ware? Technically, No. These are the vessels from which we serve meals rather than those we eat directly. For those casual weeknight dinners, we tend to omit these wares—we simply serve ourselves straight from the casserole pan, the pasta pot, or the pizza box. 

Pots and pans are serveware we are all familiar with. However, there are so many different serving vessels than just those two. The salad bowl, serving bowls, sauce boats, ramekins, tajines, soup ladles, trays, tureen, pitchers and carafes, and platters are some. Let us put it this way, serveware bridges the gap between kitchen and table for more formal occasions when aesthetics matter just as much as taste and nourishment. Serveware help in making food serving more pleasant and more accessible. Your dinner table would be much cleaner when you serve food in these.

Now that you have taken the food from the kitchen to your table, here's when dinnerware comes to play. And that is precisely what we are going to talk about next. 


While serveware is meant to bring food to the entire table, dinnerware is for serving the individuals seated there. Dinnerware is the bowls, saucers, and plates each person eats from. Dinnerware comes in many materials, as we'll examine later. (When china is the material of choice, we also refer to this classification of tableware as chinaware.). There are varieties of plates, like salad plates, dessert plates, dinner plates, lunch plates, and many more. Soup bowls, pasta bowls, dessert bowls, and fruit bowls are some varieties of bowls. 

We have figured out the wares for serving and eating the food. So what do you call the "ware" you eat the food from? That, my friends, is called flatware or, as we usually call them, cutlery. 


Just as crucial as the dinnerware is the flatware—another name for the forks, spoons, and knives that flank each plate and bowl at the table. We often use the term "silverware" for "flatware" (owing to the historical primacy of silver as the ideal material for dinner cutlery) no matter what the actual material in question is. This leads to people using strange and contradictory phrases such as "plastic silverware." The term "flatware" bypasses this and encompasses the cutlery of all compositions. A standard formal or casual table setting is only complete when you have flatware. Usually, flatware is placed on top of a neatly folded napkin, or the flatware is tucked into the napkin. To tuck flatware into the napkin, the napkin should be folded using a different technique. Or there is also a third method where the flatware is placed on either side of the plate, and the napkin is placed on the dinner plate. 

Different drinks are a significant element of a dining table when you are serving a meal. Drinkware is the container that is used to serve beverage items. Read on to know a bit more about drinkware.


The fourth classification of tableware is drinkware, which complements the dinnerware and flatware at each diner's setting. Drinkware includes teacups, coffee cups, glasses, champagne flutes, and anything else from which we drink our beverages of choice.

Now, depending on what drink you will serve, the glass used will also change. To drink tea, there are tea cups. To serve coffee, there are coffee cups. To serve alcoholic beverages, there are different glasses of different shapes. To serve beer, you would use a beer glass. For serving champagne, you would most definitely use a champagne flute. To serve wine, depending on the type of wine, again, there will be different shapes of wine glasses. To serve juice or water, you will be using standard glasses. The list goes on. As with silverware that isn't necessarily silver, drinkware also needn't be glass. Our plastic drinkware offers a durable and elegant alternative to fragile glass drinkware.

Tableware by Material

We can break down the different types of tableware and drinkware by phases of service and usage, and construction. All four tableware classifications can come in various materials, with many variations on ceramic. 

Earthenware is fired clay that tends to be in unpainted earth tones, giving the setting a rustic feel. 

Stoneware is the everyday standard for dinnerware. It builds upon earthenware by incorporating glass into the composition, making it more durable and decorative. 

Porcelain, or china, is made using a type of high-quality clay called Kaolin clay. Despite its reputation for delicacy, porcelain dinnerware resists chipping better than earthenware. 

Plasticware is tableware made using high-quality plastic that is BPA-free. The plastic used here is called melamine plastic. This plasticware is durable and sturdy. They are also suitable for serving hot food because they are certified non-toxic. Another benefit of these plates is that they are scratch resistant and can be put through a dishwasher machine. 

There is also dinnerware made using natural materials such as palm leaf, bamboo sheath, sugarcane fiber, birchwood, etc., that are eco-friendly and sustainable. 

With any of our single-use plastic or palm-leaf tableware and drinkware options, you can avoid chipping and shattering (and a sizable up-front investment), all while opening avenues for complimentary customization at each event. You can also wash them and reuse them if you want. With all these qualities, are our tableware expensive? Not entirely. All our wares are budget-friendly. Give us a call today to find out about yourself.


Party on, Smarties! With love, Smarty had a Party!

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