It’s Time To Par-Tea For National Tea Day

Celebrate National Tea Day this Saturday 21st April – Sunday 22nd April 2018 at Chiswick House and Gardens

This weekend sees the biggest Par-TEA of the year, The UK’s only dedicated tea festival – National Tea Day with a show-stopping agenda, packed full of everything you can imagine to celebrate our nations favourite drink; TEA.

To celebrate, we’ve been lucky enough to talk to tea expert Lady Nadine, owner of a Gloucs tea room, who reveals the correct way to take tea, with her personal advice on the etiquette of taking tea.

Although the story of tea begins in China, us Brits have been drinking tea for some 350 years, since its introduction into London coffee houses. Although a less formal affair today, tea is the nation’s favourite drink, with Brits consuming over 17,031 cups over a lifetime.

To celebrate National Tea Day, TOAST.Life  has been speaking to tea room owner and etiquette expert Lady Nadine Sampson-Carr about how to take tea in the traditional way, sharing her advice on accepting an invitation, table manners, how to hold your cup, and what not to do when drinking your tea as well as top tips on hosting a tea party.

Tea Festival


Always RSVP
Always acknowledge and respond to an invitation.

Table Crockery
As a guest it is impolite to move any items of crockery on the table

Drinking Your Tea

First and foremost, never hold your cup with your little finger extend. This is improper and in most social settings is considered rude. Place your index finger into the handle of the cup up to the knuckle while placing your thumb on the top of the handle to secure the cup. The bottom of the handle should then rest on your third finger. The fourth and fifth fingers should curve back towards your wrist. 

Stirring Your Tea

Be careful not to clink your spoon against the cup Gently switch the spoon back and forth without touching the sides of the cup. Never take a drink of your tea without removing the spoon first and never, ever sip from the spoon.Holding Your Tea If seated at a table, do not lift the saucer and when taking a sip of tea do not look around at other guests, but lower your eyes so you can see what you are doing so you don’t spill your tea. If standing, lift your saucer with the cup.

Scones are a traditional part of proper tea. Split the scone with a knife and once used, lay gently on the side of the plate. Clotted cream is usually placed on the scone first and then topped off with just sufficient jam or curds so as not to overflow the scone. Be sure to take small bites so that you can participate in conversation without a full mouth.

Resting Utensils
You can rest utensils when you’re taking a break from eating. You simply put your fork and knife in the centre of your plate with the tips facing each other in an inverted V or rest your knife on the top right of your plate, diagonally, with the fork nearby. These two resting positions, signal that you’re not ready to have your plate removed. When each course is finished, your knife and fork should be placed on your plate side-by-side diagonally (at four o’clock if your plate were a clock face), the blade of your knife should face inward. 

Pick up the napkin unfold it and place it on your lap. If you must leave the table for any reason, simply lay the napkin in your chair and not on the table. Never blot or wipe your lipstick with linen or cloth napkin and never use your napkin as  a handkerchief. 

The End Of Tea 
The hostess will signal the end of the tea by picking up her napkin. Eveyone else will then pick up their napkin by the center and loosely lay to the left of their plate.



Invitations Are a Must 

When inviting friends to an afternoon tea. This gives the hostess the opportunity to instruct her guests on what to wear or bring to the tea. Other items for the tea table will depend on what is being served. If scones are offered, knives will be needed or forks for cake. Small bowls of jams, curds, and clotted cream will be necessary along with a serving spoon for each bowl.

The Table 
An intimate gathering with just a few friends allows for all the guests to be seated at one table. China is used but the pieces do not have to match, and bone china is not necessary. A nice tablecloth is essential along with cloth or linen napkins. Of course you will need cups and saucers , plates, tea spoons, sugar bowl, sugar tongs, tea strainer and a lemon dish.

Pouring The Tea
Once everybody is seated, the hostess pours the tea and always ensures that each guest's cup is full, but not overfilled. The hostess then offers milk (never cream, since it is too heavy for tea), sugar, or lemon. Milk and lemon must never be added to the same cup, since citrus instantly spoils the milk. 

Tradition states to pour milk into the cup before the tea. This was done to prevent the glaze on delicate tea cups from cracking. We do not have that problem today, so add the milk after the tea so that you can judge how much to use based on the colour change.

Each place setting should have a napkin. Sometimes it is placed on the tea plate and other times beside the plate. There are several layouts for the napkin, buffet style teas often have the napkins stacked beside silverware. 

Lady Nadine is attending the National Tea Day festival at Chiswick House from the 21st April – 22nd April 2017. For tickets, head over to their website now: www.nationalteaday.co.uk

National Tea Day  (1)


Posted in Inspire Me

by Inspire Me
on on 18 April 2018

  afternoon tea, tea, tea party

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