(Not) My Cup Of Tea

Meaning:

Something that a person finds to be agreeable to their tastes; delightful.

If something is your cup of tea, then that means you like it. If something is not your cup of tea, then that means you do not like it.

​Example: We couldn’t decide which movie to watch, so we ended up settling on a comedy. Half-way through the movie, I concluded that its humor was not my cup of tea.

Synonyms / Related: it’s (not) to my liking, I’m (not) a fan

The Saying: Not My Cup of Tea

The Origin of ‘Not My Cup Of Tea’

Most people have a preference when it comes to the kind of beverage they like to drink. For many people, that beverage is tea. In fact, tea is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world, next to water. It has a variety of flavors that people enjoy, including green, apple, and ginger tea. And of course, there are plenty of flavors that people dislike.

So for this phrase, the idea is that things are being likened to a cup of tea. If something is in line with a person’s tastes, then it’s ‘their cup of tea’ (it’s a flavor of tea they enjoy). If something is not in line with a person’s tastes, then it’s ‘not their cup of tea’ (it’s a kind of flavor they do not enjoy).

So… what’s the origin of this phrase? From what I’ve found, it doesn’t look to be that old. The earliest I could find this expression appearing in print is the 1930s. For example, in the Syracuse Post Standard newspaper, February 1935, it’s used similarly to how we use it today, to describe things we like or dislike:

“As Margie always says, ‘Saving energy is great, but taking the hassle out of window cleanin’ is my cup of tea.'”

The word ‘not’ is often added to the front of this phrase (e.g. that brown shirt is not my cup of tea). I guess people like to share how much they don’t enjoy something! Anyways, the earliest example I could find of this saying with the word ‘not’ in the front comes again from the 1930s. This time, it is in a literary work by James Agate, published in 1939:

“For assuredly immersion in medieval legend is not my cup of tea.”


Example Sentence(s)

  • A friend recommended me some music, so I listened to his suggested songs. While usually his recommendations are great, the songs he chose this time are not my cup of tea. (In other words, I don’t like them.)

Related Example:

  • I know everyone’s talking about the latest superhero movie, but I wasn’t a fan of it.

Note: There’s a lot more sayings on here for you to read about if you want. You can find more phrases by using the menu at the top, or by searching for them. We have hundreds on here for you to explore. You can learn what their meaning is, or possibly where they come from. Exciting!


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