Tea etiquette dictates two different ways to hold a teacup. When holding a teacup without a handle, place your thumb in the six o’clock position with index and middle fingers in the twelve o’clock position. At the same time, slightly raise your pinkie for balance and preventing spills. If you are holding a teacup with a handle, place your fingers to the front and back of the handle with the pinkie slightly raised. A faux pas of holding a teacup with a handle is looping your fingers through the handle and holding it with the palm of your hand.
Another formality of tea etiquette is the method of stirring tea. Place your spoon at the six o’ clock position and slowly fold the tea toward the twelve o’clock position two or three times. Two faux pas associated with stirring tea are sweeping circular motions and leaving a spoon in your teacup. When you are not using your teaspoon be sure to place it on the right side of the saucer.
While at a buffet tea hold the saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the teacup with your right one. If you are not drinking from the teacup, return it to the saucer and hold in your lap.
Another rule of tea etiquette concerns flavor enhancers. Milk is the preferred additive for tea, because cream is too heavy and camouflages the flavor. Also, if you choose to serve lemon with tea, take care to use lemon slices instead of wedges. Keep in mind when serving lemons to provide your guests with a small fork for squeezing the juice into their tea.
Remember these simple formalities of tea etiquette the next time you attend teatime and enjoy.
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