The Dos & Don’ts for your next Tea Party

1. Get the name right

Afternoon tea and High tea are not the same thing. Afternoon tea is served traditionally between 3 and 5 p.m. with tea, crust-less sandwiches, scones, and desserts. High tea is more like an early dinner, served around 5 p.m. and would likely have a meat dish component.


2. The saucer stays on the table

Don’t hold it in your hands while enjoying tea. You only hold your saucer and tea cup together if you are standing or sitting with no table in front of you.


3. Don’t wrap your hands around the cup

A cup of tea isn't a cup of coffee! A coffee mug allows you to loop your thumb and put your index on the top of the handle. With tea, you should pinch your index and thumb between the loop of the handle and then put your middle finger along the bottom of the handle to support it.


4. Mind where the handle points

The handle of the tea cup stays at 3 o’clock, unless you are left-handed and then you turn it to 9 o’clock.


5. Don't over stir

Never create a whirlpool when stirring your tea (either clockwise or counter clockwise). Instead, stir your tea from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock.


6. First tea, then milk

 The hot liquid goes in first followed by the cold (milk).


7. Don't expect a tea bag

Always use a strainer to pour loose leaf tea from a tea pot.


8. Keep the set together

If someone is pouring tea for you and asks you to pass your tea cup to them, pass with both the saucer and teacup.


9. Eat your food in the proper order

The correct order to enjoy the food that accompanies afternoon tea is savory to sweet: sandwiches first, then scones, and sweets last. You can use your fingers to eat all three courses. To eat a scone, you simply break it in half with your fingers. Put the clotted cream on first, followed by the berry jam or lemon curd provided on top if you wish.


10. Never put your pinkie out!


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