Afternoon Tea Etiquette

 

As with all things ritualistic, afternoon tea does inspire certain behaviour and there are certain etiquette dos and don’ts to be aware of while enjoying your sandwiches and scones.

  • Don’t Call it High Tea
    High tea is something a little different and more of a hearty meal eaten at the end of a long day at work. Afternoon tea is lighter and bite-sized, with all the fun and frolics we have come to expect.

  • Do Dress Up
    Part of the fun of afternoon tea is that it is a little bit special. Tradition suggests this is the perfect opportunity to make an effort with your outfit, so feel free to don that blazer or dress, and leave the trainers at home.

  • Don’t Add Milk First
    This can be a tricky one, as it is sometimes believed that you should pour the milk first. That’s because tea was often too hot for the delicate porcelain of days gone by, but this is no longer an issue for more modern materials. To this end, we recommend you pour the tea first so that your guest can add as much milk as they wish.

  • Do Play Host
    If you are the host, use afternoon tea as an opportunity to make sure your guests are looked after. Of course, the venue is critical to looking after all of you, but it’s still good etiquette to take charge of pouring the tea and making sure the pot is topped up. Serve yourself last, and always leave room in the cup for milk or lemon.

 

  • Do Use Your Fingers

    This may be controversial by other etiquette standards, but we promise we’re not making this up. At afternoon tea, sandwiches and scones can be eaten with your fingers – so dig in! It’s expected you will use a knife for the cream and jam, of course – just don’t worry which order to apply them to your scone. Jam first and cream first are both completely acceptable!

 

  • Don’t Clatter Your Cutlery
    They say silence is golden, and that is certainly true when it comes to using your cutlery at afternoon tea. Aside from silencing your knife as much as possible when adding jam to those scones, remember not to bang your teaspoon against your cup. Instead, use a neat up-down motion that will mix in your milk and sugar without making a sound.

 

  • Do Enjoy the Moment

    Yes, there is etiquette associated with afternoon tea, but it really shouldn’t impact your experience of a wonderful afternoon of fun. Shift your focus from how you should behave, to the delightful conversation with friends and deliciousness of the food. Then everything will be just as it should be!

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