Afternoon Tea is an elegantly sophisticated affair enjoyed by people all around the
world. Associated with fine china, decadent treats and heavenly teas, there is something
for everyone! However, are you familiar with the etiquette surrounding Afternoon Tea?
We explore the do’s and don’ts of our favourite afternoon tradition!
Q: Should milk go in before or after the tea is poured?
A: Milk must always be poured last! This way, you can identify and control the
strength of your tea.
Q: How should you hold your teacup?
A: The correct way to hold your cup is by making your thumb and index finger
meet in the handle. The cup should then be supported by the handle resting on
your middle finger. Never lift your pinky finger! This is an Afternoon Tea no no!
Q: How should tea be stirred?
A: Do not move your spoon in circular motions, rather move the spoon back and forth,
as if to go from 12 to 6 on a clock face. A light flicking of the spoon above the cup when
finished is elegant. Hitting or tapping the spoon on the side of the cup is deemed impolite!
Q: How should your sandwiches be cut?
A: If you are serving tea sandwiches, they must have their crusts cut off, and present in
either the shape of triangles, rectangles, or as the royal household prefers, in small squares.
Q: How should scones be eaten?
A: You must never cut into your scone with a knife, it must be broken in half with each
side eaten separately. They should not be sandwiched together. When it comes
to whether jam or cream should be spread first, this is purely based on one’s personal
preference, however you must serve with clotted cream.
Q: How should you organise your cake stand?
A: The top layer of the cake stand will be for the cakes and sweets, and there are no rules
as to what should be served. They should be dainty and capable of being eaten in a few
mouthfuls with the fingers or with a small fork. The middle layer will hold the scones,
jam and cream. The base layer is for savouries and tea sandwiches.