I love a good cup of tea. Something about the warmth of a cup allows for a breather and a chance to enjoy conversation. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures (and Krrb’s selection of tea sets) to gather friends for a tea party. Whether you keep it simple or deck the table with towers of mini pastries, etiquette makes for a polished experience that’s fun for your guests.
1. Pinkies down.
Fight the urge to extend your pinky while drinking tea. Who knows where the idea began that pinkies out is the correct way to hold a tea cup? Both your ring and pinky fingers should curl in gently, resting in a relaxed position.
2. Go 60% of the way.
When filling your teacup, leave plenty of room for the extras like milk, sugar and lemon. It seems obvious to avoid filling it to the brim, but I’ll say it anyway. It’s much easier to drink from a tiny teacup with finesse if you’re not sloshing about. Plus, with less tea in your cup, you won’t have the problem of it getting cold before you drink it.
3. Spoons are for stirring only.
First off, let’s be clear about stirring versus swirling. With tea, you stir in lemon, milk or sugar gently, you don’t swirl. Keep your movements light and easy. Once you’re done, carefully remove the spoon and rest it on your saucer, parallel to the handle of your cup. Don’t use your spoon to sip your tea, this isn’t soup!
4. Eyes up.
When you’re drinking tea, don’t look into your cup while taking a sip. Instead look out, over the cup. It sounds silly but think about how tea is a social drink therefore your eyes should remain on who’s talking.
5. Get handsy with your finger foods.
Tea originated as a sort of snack time to hold you over till dinner. Because it was suppose to alleviate the trouble of a proper table setting, silverware use is minimal. Don’t fret! Most tea accoutrements are bite-size so treat them as such. If you need to spread cream or jam on your scones, use the utensils provided. Whatever you do, don’t dunk your food into your tea—it’s not cookies and milk!
6. Your napkin is your buddy.
Whether you’re gathered around a low table or one at dining height, keep your napkin on your lap at all times. When you first sit down, fold it in a triangle shape and lay it across your lap with the point facing the table. If you need to get up, fold it in half again to hold any crumbs from spilling and leave it on your place.
7. Keep conversations light.
Tea time is for social chatting, avoid politics and religion. Embrace topics such as travel, reading fodder and hobby activities. Deflect gossip or “one-up-man-ship” conversation to make the whole experience enjoyable.