High Tea Etiquette

High Tea Etiquette


  1. It was in 1840 when the 7th Duchess of Bedford requested that light sandwiches be brought to her during that sinking feeling in the late afternoon because of the long gap between lunch and dinner. She began asking others to join her and thus the afternoon tea tradition began. She wasn’t the only royal figure to engage in the afternoon tea ritual, Queen Victoria popularised and turned it into a formal occasion on a large scale known as a “tea reception”.
    Today, Queen Elizabeth hosts Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace in the summer. Hailing from such regal origins, it goes without saying that a real high tea experience requires the most polite persona and polished presentation. It is important to be on your best behaviour at all times.
    Good manners go a long way, not only just showing respect to someone but they give a polite person increased self-confidence and the ability to be at ease in most situations.
    “Good manners mean being kind and thoughtful to others, making allowances for their shortcomings and being considerate about their feelings. If we fail to place importance on these attributes, then we are the losers and the quality of our way of life is diminished too”.

    High Tea Etiquette Tips:

    1. Never start eating until everyone has been served unless, your host tells you not to wait.
    2. A napkin – not serviette, is folded along the diagonal and placed on your lap.
    3. Avoid picking items from the tower with your fingers, use your fork if servers aren’t provided.
    4. Never remove a plate from the tower.
    5. If you do have servers, make sure they go back on the tier so guests may serve themselves.
    6. Scones are like bread rolls and should be broken into manageable pieces with your hands, never cut with a knife and fork.
    7. Use serving spoons to add jam and cream to your working plate and use a knife if there are no serving spoons but never “cross-pollinate” the condiments.
    8. Stirring the tea in a back and forth motion. A light flick of the teaspoon above the cup when finished (to shake off the drips) is elegant. Tapping the spoon on the side of the cup is not.
    9. Chew your food with your mouth closed. Don’t wave your knife and fork around to make a point.
    10. When finished, fold the napkin and place to the side of your plate.
    11. Unless it is offered, don’t ask to take the leftover cakes home.

    Did You Know?
    Contrary to popular belief, extending your pinkie finger is not the done thing.
    During Victorian times milk was added first to protect the fine bone china from cracking.