While afternoon tea originated in English noble houses around 1840, it is still a very popular social activity in capital cities around the world today.
Whether you enjoy afternoon tea in a fancy restaurant or hold a tea party in your living room, make sure to give the best impression and follow our etiquette tips !
The choice of tea
First of all, chose a tea you like. The traditional british tea is « earl grey », which is black tea flavoured with oil of bergamot. In France, flower tea is more popular.
When the tea is infused (2-3 minutes for black teas and 3-4 minutes for flower teas), pour it gently into your teacup, holding the top of the teapot with your other hand.
Do you like milk with your tea ? Then you should always add milk after pouring tea. You may also add sugar or lemon.
To stir your tea, use your tea spoon and instead of making a circular movement into your cup, make a vertical movement going back and fourth, without clinking the edges of your cup with your spoon.
When finished stirring, take out the tea spoon and place it behind your cup in your saucer, parallel to the handle.
Holding the cup
Make a pinch with your thumb and index finger to hold the cup by its handle and to bring it to your mouth.
The saucer should be brought together with the cup when you are standing, or if you are sitting a bit away from the table.
Traditionally, afternoon tea includes three distinctive courses: finger sandwiches, dry pastries (ie. scones in UK or macarons in France) and other desserts. You should have them in the same order.
For finger sandwiches and dry pastries, use your fingers to eat them. For cakes, use the side of your dessert fork (never with a knife !) to cut a piece from it. For mousses or creams, use a dessert spoon.
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