A Better Understanding of Tea Etiquette

There are several reasons why tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right after water. Tea drinkers consume tea with a lot of pleasure, not just because of the taste but because of the overall zen and relaxing experience of having tea. Conversations are more pleasant when they are had over tea. Tea is also very cheap, but it has a lot of health benefits.

For a fun tea time, observe proper tea etiquette.

Whatever your reason is for having tea, you can agree that there are certain unspoken rules that should be observed when consuming it, especially when you are doing it with someone else. Knowing the proper way of behaving when having tea prevents you from having a tea faux pas or your companion never inviting you again for tea.

It’s not necessary to be so constrained and particular when drinking tea. Knowing the basic proper etiquette is enough to help you get through most of your tea sessions with no problem.

What are the things you need to know before doing tea sessions?

You must know the occasion

When somebody invites you over for tea, you should ask the host what the occasion is, so you would know just how to comport yourself. Even if it is just a casual catch-up, there are certain things that you should keep in mind.

Always dress appropriately, so you wouldn't ruin the mood. | Photo from Life Cherish

Knowing what the occasion is will help you determine things like what to wear, what to bring, and even how to talk to the host. Dress appropriately, as your clothes impact the experience more than you think. Keep it simple and modest so as not to distract the people you are with. Getting invited for tea time in a luxury house is an honor, so dress to impress, but don’t overdo it.

For afternoon tea, you can expect the tone to be more casual. Afternoon tea etiquette is more relaxed, and the focus is more on conversation and socializing. Food is expected to be light, like bite-sized chunks of pastries, so you can have lunch before this if you’re worried about getting full.

Full afternoon teas may also be served, which include heartier dishes like sandwiches and scones. It’s still polite to eat with your fingers at afternoon tea, but don’t daintily pick at your food–take hearty bites! And of course, enjoy your cup (or pot) of tea. There are many different types of afternoon tea, so make sure to try a few while you’re exploring Britain. Cheers!

Tea is perfect for different occasions. | Photo from iStock

High tea is a more formal tea session. The original purpose of high tea is similar to that of the Filipino merienda. High tea is generally defined as a light meal that will keep you from getting hungry when it is still too early to have supper. The focus is more on the food, such as tea sandwiches and sweets. Some hosts even serve three courses and different teas for high tea to accommodate the guests’ preferences. China will more likely be made of tougher porcelain.

Imagine having people over for tea in beautiful townhouses and luxury property in the Philippines. If you are looking for a luxury house in high-end residential property, consider Brittany Corporation. Check out luxury real estates like the Swiss-themed Crosswinds Tagaytay, Italy-inspired Portofino Alabang, and old English Brittany Sta. Rosa. Tea is a whole new experience in thematic residential real estate.

Try to keep your drink simple

What goes into your tea cup should not be at all complicated. It helps to know what goes with what, so you wouldn’t look clueless when you are preparing your cup. Milk, for example, is mostly just for black tea. You do not combine milk with lemon juice, so you won’t end up with clotted cream.

Don't be confused by all the food and flavors on the table. Keep it simple. | Photo from Etiquette Scholar

You should know which add-ons go with which tea because not everything goes together, like ketchup does not go with the soup. When in doubt, have your tea plain, so all that you have to do is pour some hot water over your teabag, and that’s it. Do not experiment when you are with other people. Having tea in the most luxurious properties in the Philippines and the most beautiful houses in the Philippines commands the best tea etiquette.

If you do not know what to put in your cup, stir in a circular motion to make sure that the saucer stays as dry as possible. Also, keep in mind that add-ons are meant to be added when the tea finishes brewing, so remove the teabag after around two minutes of steeping time and then add whatever flavoring you want.

Be in the moment and enjoy that cup of tea

For people who value tea time, being in the moment is important. | Photo from teambuilding.com

Perhaps the most important tea etiquette tip is to stay present when having tea. Tea commands respect, and your host and companions deserve it, too, so give it to them. Listen to what the other people have to say and look at them when you are not having a sip.

You did not go to some high-end residential property just so you could go online and scroll on your phone. Observe the surroundings and the beauty of the luxury house of your host. Treat drinking your tea like it’s the most important thing at the moment and make polite conversation. Being rude ruins the experience altogether, and you can only hope to be invited again for tea in the most beautiful houses in the Philippines.

Listen to your host with utmost respect, no matter how casual the session is. | Photo by Alberto Bogo via Westend61

In making conversation, avoid topics for small people like gossip and other people. Talk about things that concern you and the host of things that can actually lead somewhere, like business, investment, ownership of properties and buildings, sales prices, economic growth, and luxury real estate transactions.

If you are into luxury property in the Philippines, check out Brittany Corporation for some luxury real estate, high-end residential property, and the most lavish houses in the Philippines. Real estate and real estate investments are good things to talk about over afternoon tea.

Get off that mask and start learning why tea etiquette is important

Even after you read every tea etiquette article on the internet, there may still be some things you do not know, and that is fine. Do not pretend to know what you don’t. Also, do not perform pretentious actions such as raising your pinkie finger (nobody does this anymore) and drinking your tea with your teaspoon (tea is not soup).

Leave the pretense to the wine drinkers. | Photo from Getty Images

If there is something you do not know, just ask the host or just do as he does. It is classier this way, and really, tea should not be stressful. Armed with basic tea etiquette, tea will be a fun experience for you, your host, and your other companions.


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teacup on book beside pink flower decor

A Guide to Perfect Tea Etiquette

What is tea time?

Teatime is a mid-afternoon light meal typically consisting of sandwiches, cakes, and other light snacks. The tradition originated in Britain during the Victorian era, when Anna Maria Stanhope, the Duchess of Bedford, is said to have requested a light meal be served to her during the late afternoon. Since then, teatime has become a popular social ritual in many cultures around the world.

black and white ceramic tea cup on saucer

When is the best time to drink tea?

While four o’clock is the traditional tea time, any time between two and five o’clock may be appropriate. Whether enjoyed with friends or family, teatime is a cherished tradition that is sure to delight everyone involved.

person pouring tea on white ceramic teapot

What equipment should I have for afternoon tea?

A silver tray and tea service are not required if the tea is informal. If you like your tea light, a teapot, creamer, sugar dish, and pitcher of hot water should be included in your porcelain tea set. You can also use a wooden or tin tray to serve lemon slices if you like.

white flowers on black ceramic vase

How to set up a tea table?

  • Put the tea tray, and china tea set at one end of the table.
  • On the right, place the right number of cups, saucers, and teaspoons.
  • On the left are the plates, silverware, and tea napkins.
  • A variety of sweet treats can be served, such as tea sandwiches cut into unique shapes, nut bread, cakes, and cookies.

pastries display on rack

What is the correct way to hold a teacup?

  1. Put the saucer holding the cup in the palm of your left hand and slide it forward until it rests on your four fingers.
  2. Hold the saucer steady by putting your thumb on the edge. A person who is left-handed just does the steps backwards.
  3. When you hold a cup with a handle, you put your index finger through the handle, your thumb just above it to help you keep your grip, and your second finger below the handle to give you even more security.
  4. The next two fingers naturally curve in the same way as the first two. Even a small raise of the little finger is a sign of arrogance.

white-and-multicolored mugs filled with tea beside fruits

What is the correct way to stir a cup of tea?

To stir a cup of tea gently and quietly, move the spoon back and forth in a small arch in the middle of the cup.

  • Don’t let the teaspoon touch the cup’s sides or rim.
  • Take the spoon out from the cup and set it on the saucer behind the cup so that its handle points in the same direction as the cup’s handle.
  • Place the saucer on the face of a clock, and place the handles of the cup and spoon at four on the clock.

When it comes to etiquette, afternoon tea is often thought of as a very proper affair. However, the key to enjoying afternoon tea is simply to relax and have good manners. This means you should be aware of your surroundings and treat the people around you with respect.

If you don’t want to slurp your tea or talk with your mouth full, it’s polite to take a small sip and enjoy the taste. Be aware of how loud the conversation is, and try to keep it at a normal level.

By following these basic guidelines, you can enjoy a delightful afternoon tea without feeling intimidated by the “proper” setting.


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selective focus photography of cup of bowl beside brown teapot

Enjoy an afternoon tea in your own Brittany luxury home

Having tea is one of life’s most pleasurable forms of socializing. While people do not have to and should not be stiff, there is some tea etiquette that should always be kept in mind.

Check out Brittany Corporation for some real property, single-family homes, and real estate investments where you can have a fancy afternoon tea with your family and friends.

Luxury living in Brittany

The available real estate properties of Brittany Corporation are strategically located in Tagaytay, Laguna, Alabang, and Sucat Muntinlupa. Lots for sale are available in all premium properties as well as luxury homes for sale. Condo in Tagaytay is also being offered for everyone who prefer a condo living. Check out Brittany Corporation’s luxury real estate developments: