4 Useful Afternoon Tea Etiquette Tips

The world famous Afternoon tea is an English tradition that goes back to the days of the Duchess of Bedford, Anna. She gathered her friends in her room for afternoon tea, supposedly to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. Since aristocrats originally practiced it, participating in an Afternoon Tea means following etiquette guides. Here are several of them.

  1. The correct way of saying it is, “I will have tea with my friend this afternoon”.

Do not interchange have with take. You don’t take tea; you have tea. Also, do not use high tea or British Tea, or even Afternoon Tea. Simply say tea. “I am having tea with my friends” is the right way to say it. Do not allow anyone to hear you saying you are taking afternoon tea with your friends.

Other terms aside from Afternoon Tea are Cream Tea (where you enjoy a feast of tea and scones with cream), High Tea (which is a hearty meal with tea), and Royal Tea (which is an Afternoon Tea variety that includes a glass of champagne).

  1. While afternoon teas started out as formal events, today’s dress code is more relaxed.

In the early days of the afternoon tea, the ladies and gentlemen who were invited to the event were required to dress up appropriately. As such, the gentlemen wore their best suits (with tie) while the women showed off their best formal dresses. Nowadays, though, guests can wear their favourite smart casual outfits. However, sneakers, sandals, and sports attire are still prohibited.

  1. A person is designated to serve the tea to all the guests.
image by : wikipedia

Every afternoon tea party has to have a designated pourer. This person is the one who pours the tea into the cups (not mugs!) of each guest. The pourer takes one cup, fills it with tea, and then passes it to the recipient guest. He or she should use a strainer when pouring the tea, especially when there are loose leaves.

  1. Each guest adds milk and sugar to their tea.

Milk should be added after the tea has been poured into the cup. Sugar is then added, and the tea is stirred in one circular motion (do not change directions!). Each guest does this to his or her own tea. After adding milk and sugar, the teaspoon is gently placed at the back of the saucer. It should be placed in a lengthwise positioned.


Top 5 Favourite English Dishes

When it comes to food, the English have interesting choices. When it comes to food favourites, though, their choices are narrowed down to traditional English dining must-haves. If you are planning to go on a foodie experience in England, these top five favourite dishes should be on your list of must-eats:

  1. Full English Breakfast

What’s a foodie trip to England without experiencing the world-famous Full English Breakfast? It will be incomplete! A Full English Breakfast is a complete meal that starts with orange juice, fresh fruits, some cereals, and bacon & eggs. Sometimes, it is also served with sausages, toast, marmalade, and tea. Typically, it is served during breakfast, but a lot of restaurants also offer it for lunch and dinner. A full breakfast is a special meal, so some eat it only during weekends or on special occasions.

  1. Afternoon Tea

The Afternoon tea is an English tradition that started with the Duchess of Bedford. It is a light meal that satisfies the hunger that comes in between lunch and dinner. An Afternoon Tea has sandwiches, a variety of cakes, scones, and of course, tea. It is different from the British Afternoon Tea of the High Tea, which is usually a more fulfilling (and heavier) meal.

  1. Fish and Chips

This deep fried special has been an English favourite for years. It is crispy inside and out and is served with chunky golden chips and peas, although some varieties also serve fish and chips with curry sauce and in some instances, even French fries. The English favour the Cod and Haddock varieties for this popular dish.

  1. Bangers and Mash

This traditional English meal combines fried or oven-cooked sausages with a lot of mashed potato. Some restaurants serve this dish with gravy and others go for friend onions. A lot of diners, however, prefer to take their Bangers and Mash as is. This comfort food is perfect when paired with red wine or beer.

  1. Roast Meals/Roast Dinner

The English like their meat roasted. This is why the roast dinner is popular. This is a complete meal that features roast/mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding along with roasted meat. It is a classic favourite and is said to bring families together. The roast dinner can be served on any day of the week.

Top 3 Dining Manners to Practice When in England

The British are quite serious when it comes to following and practicing proper dining etiquette. Whether you are dining in your favourite English restaurant, eating in a fast food with friends, or in a formal event, it is important to be mindful of proper dining behaviour. Here are three of the most essential etiquettes you should watch out for:

  1. Wear the proper dress code.

This may not be related to dining per se, but it is just as important. Following the proper dress code is a sign of respect to the person, group, or company who/that invited you. If the event is a casual one, then wear your best smart casual outfit. If it is a formal event, men should wear a suit and tie while women should be in their long dresses or gowns. Since it is a formal event, women should take it upon themselves to avoid baring their midriffs.

  1. Do not do the following:

Do not chew your food while your mouth is open. Do not talk when your mouth is filled with food. DO not use your finger/s to fix the position of the food on your spoon or fork. Do not put too much food on your plate, and do not put a huge serving of food in your mouth. When drinking coffee or tea, do not sip using a spoon. Likewise, avoid blowing on your hot drink or sizzling hot food. Especially in a formal setting, do not take photos of the food on the table or served to you. Finally, do not mix your food as if you were mixing drinks!

  1. Remember these things while seated on your place in the dining table:

Sit properly on your chair. Observe proper posture; do not slouch. Do not rock your chair; it is not a rocking chair. Take care and be careful so that your elbow does not touch the table. Do not comb your hair or apply makeup (or fix makeup) while seated on the dining table. This should be done in the bathroom/powder room. Likewise, smoking in the dining area is strictly prohibited.