A saucer is a type of small dishware. While in the Middle Ages a saucer was used for serving condiments and sauces, currently the term is used to denote a small plate or shallow bowl that supports a cup – usually one used to serve coffee or tea. The center of the saucer often contains a depression or raised ring sized to fit a matching cup; this was only introduced in the mid 18th century. The saucer is useful for protecting surfaces from possible damage due to the heat of a cup, and to catch overflow, splashes, and drips from the cup, thus protecting both table linen and the user sitting in a free-standing chair who holds both cup and saucer. The saucer also provides a convenient place for a wet spoon, as might be used to stir the drink in the cup in order to mix sweeteners or creamers into tea or coffee.