In India cups are made of low-grade clay used in the streets and quickly discarded of by throwing them to the ground where they break down to dust, a totally sustainable and recyclable product. At KS1-2 designing paper cups make a great short exercise. Air Force pilots have a small manual, which contains a special page (blank) for making a paper cup to drink from if they are shot down. At KS3, food technology students could learn how to make tea in a different country, ie England, Spain, India, China and then demonstrate to the rest of the class. KS4 students might try to design away the need for a saucer, how could a cup accommodate spillage without a saucer? KS5 students have the task of designing a cup for the blind. How does a blind person know when the cup is full? A small device that fits on the side?
For extra depth, make a cup of tea for each student and ask them to sit in silence and think of ideas.