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Bad tea etiquette – The Difinitive Guide

Cup of teaSocial protocals and the rules of good taste must prevail if like me you aspire to live your life by the principals of Good Tea Etiquette. No God fearing woman of good standing should forget that the art of tea making is a barometer by which she will be judged by all and sundry. Many a woman’s reputation has been made or lost on her ability to make and serve ‘a nice cup of tea’. Rituals surrounding the making of tea are of the utmost importance in polite society. One little Faux Pas and you could find yourself on the next train to Pariahsville.

Rules of Good Tea Etiquette:

  1. A guest to your house must be offered tea before anything else. ‘Will ye have a cup of tea Mary… put the kettle on Mick’ should be the first words spoken before ‘Welcome/How do you do’. Remember the priority here is ensuring that the kettle is on.
  2. Choose porcelain cups, bone china if possible. Never mugs, mugs are solely for the great unwashed.
  3. At breakfast, tea should be served in a breakfast cup which is slightly larger cup than normal. The breakfast cup is strictly for morning tea, never afternoon tea. Serving the wrong cup at the wrong time could result in social exclusion.image
  4. Always allow your guest to add their own milk and sugar. If your guest takes more than two spoonfuls never invite him/her back again. They are out of their depth socially and you can’t risk their inferior habits and poor life choices reflecting badly on you.
  5. Never spill some tea into a saucer and slurp from the saucer. Even if you are living in a gutter or in an underground sewer, standards must be maintained.
  6. Pinkies up! Optional for men but essential for ladies. An angle of 45 degrees from the ring finger with a slight curl of the little finger is preferable.image
  7. Never ever pour milk into the cup before the tea. In order to gauge the correct milkiness of the tea you must add the milk slowly to the poured tea. When it comes to the colour of the tea, nothing less than perfection will do. I recommend #FF6666 if you want the exact pantone reference.
  8. Before proceeding to pour a full cup, always pour a small amount into the cup and check with your guest if the strength is ok. “How’s that for ye Mary – Schtrong enough?” Although the perfect hostess will always know how their guest likes their tea, nevertheless, you must ask. Even though a private investigation may have been carried out in advance to ascertain how a guest likes their tea, you still must ask.
  9. It is permissible to accompany your tea with cucumber sandwiches (only cucumber), on white bread, neatly trimmed and presented on a china plate. Add a little water cress to garnish.
  10. Always offer tea repeatedly to your guest. Don’t take no for an answer. “Gwan,gwan gwan, ye will, ye will, ye will” , sure it’s only a little drop”.image
  11. Once your guest has consumed three quarters of the contents of the cup, you must jump up and immediately offer a ‘top-up’ . Again, this must be offered repeatedly until your guest is beaten into submission. Force may be necessary. Only when your guest has had at least four ‘top-up’s’ can they be considered ‘done’.
  12. It goes without saying, deny all knowledge of ‘foreign’ teas. Oolong, Yellow, Green, Herbal, Roobush exist solely in the tea caddy’s of the terminally naff and would never appear on the shopping list of a lady of good standing.image
  13. You may want to offer refreshments of a stronger variety at this point. “Will ye have t little drop of the gold stuff, the ‘uisce beatha’. It’ll soothe your throat after all that hot tea”. This can be offered regardless of whether there actually is a drop of the gold stuff in the house. The chances are your guest will be dying to get the hell outta Dodge at this point and will decline the offer.