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Sara Reyes | Best Tea Etiquette in Three Easy Steps

March 27, 2010

tea serviceOne of the burdens of being a coordinator for a book club that meets for a high tea is doing the research. Yes, the research of trying out new tea rooms or houses or restaurants touting their tea service. It’s a glamorous life you’d think but unfortunately because you can spell “tea” it doesn’t mean you can serve a “tea” I’ve found. Plus there is a price point that must be met as well. Our DFW Tea members have been meeting since 1995 and they, as I, have become very particular. There is nothing wrong with our tastes or our requirement that a tea shop delivers a great solid high tea. After all, we have a tea every month, it’s sometimes the highlight of our week, we enjoy meeting fellow members and author guests and we have FUN!

This week I tried out a new tea room by attending a class on tea etiquette. Even though I’ve gone to teas for a few decades it never hurts to learn the etiquette or see what I’m doing right (or wrong in case I stray from the rules). Our instructor Cindy was a true conessieur of tea drinking and gave us a fast overview of what to do a tea in three easy steps. She also covered the history of tea and some of its most famous incidents! She was so much fun I hope we’ll have her at our fall conference with Sherrilyn Kenyon, Readers ‘n ‘ritas. Although we’ll have a margarita happy hour, perhaps there will be time to imbibe a cup of tea!

Three Easy Steps to the Best Tea Etiquette
1. Tea is a social event so be prepared to be friendly and outgoing. The rules are thank the hostess for inviting you and move on. Compliment her on the table setting to show your appreciation. Once you are seated be sure to introduce yourself to every one else at your table and include how you know the hostess. In the case of our tea group I’d add what type of books I like the most or what I’ve read last.

2. Tea is communal. Practice your sharing. You’ll share a sugar dish, a jam jar, a Devonshire (clotted) cream bowl and possibly butter. Use the communal instruments with care simply to move a personal portion from the server to your plate or cup. After the portion is on your plate, use your own knife or spoon to place on the scone or biscuit. And your own spoon to quietly stir your tea.

3. As a tea is a bridge meal and a social occasion, your food is served in small sizes, so you may use your fingers to enjoy the sandwiches, sconces and miniature desserts. But try to take small enough bites so you won’t be surprised with your mouth full when you’re asked a question.

And basically, that’s it to a high tea. I’d personally add, have a matching brewed tea with each course and always include chocolate in the final course, but then I’m picky. Our teas have been going strong for more than a decade. I’ve become accustomed to checking out tea rooms in cities and towns that I visit across the country, and you’ll find someone in your area that loves to do “tea.” Just look around and make an excuse to spend an afternoon enjoying the company of friends or new acquaintances over tea. You’ll be glad you did when you discover the fun of “having tea.”

Oh, yes, that pinky raised bit, not necessary with a handled cup. There you go!

Sara ReyesUntil next time…

Get out there and READ a book…

Sara Reyes

DFW Tea Readers Group

Join us at Readers ‘n ‘ritas November 12-14, 2010! with Sherrilyn Kenyon and more guests

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