January 5th, 2014

January is National Hot Tea Month: 7 Tips to Perfect Your Tea Etiquette

by Jacqueline Whitmore
This green tea from China was a gift from my friend, Lisa Wan.

This green tea from China was a gift from my friend, Lisa Wan.

January is National Hot Tea Month. I would rather drink a cozy cup of tea than a cup of coffee any day. It not only tastes great, but it also has many health benefits. Studies show that the antioxidant content in tea helps reduce the incidence of certain cancers and may help combat the risk of developing heart disease.

There’s no sign that the nation’s trendiest drink will fizzle anytime soon as tea’s been around for more than 5,000 years.  Here are some tips on the art of enjoying afternoon tea:

  1. Cream is never used – only milk and sugar.  It is important to note that the milk and sugar go into the cup after the tea, never before.
  2. It is important to execute little circular movements when stirring tea, without allowing the spoon to strike the side of the cup.
  3. When using lemon, be sure to introduce it after the sugar has settled.
  4. Perhaps the most flagrant and egregious mistake in tea etiquette occurs when the taker deliberately extends the fourth or “pinky” finger of his cup holding hand in an effort to exhibit sophistication.
  5. While partaking of afternoon tea, there are two ways to eat the sandwiches:  either treat them as finger food, or enjoy them “Continental” style, using a knife and fork.
  6. Eat the savory, sour things first, saving the most “decadent,” such as the petit fours, for last.
  7.  The most refined way to eat a scone is to break off little bits at a time, and apply the Devonshire cream and fruit preserve to each individual piece as it is to be eaten.  And remember: preserves go first, then the cream.

Visit my Tea Time Treasures page on Pinterest! What’s your favorite kind of tea? Leave a comment below!



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