Afternoon Tea Etiquette – What are the “Rules”?

By March 9, 2020 No Comments
Afternoon tea setup on table

Afternoon Tea Etiquette

For the most part, afternoon tea can seem intimidating since it appears so proper but once you know basic tea etiquette, it’s actually a very relaxing and delightful affair. But, before we go any further, the first thing you should know is that high tea isn’t the same thing as afternoon tea. People like to call afternoon tea ‘high tea’ since they think it sounds fancy and posh but it’s simply incorrect.

What is Etiquette?

Etiquette is basically good manners. Afternoon tea etiquette is having good manners so you don’t offend or annoy people during tea service.

Having proper etiquette at afternoon tea means you’re not loudly slurping your tea, incorrectly using the saucer, or chewing with your mouth open while it is half-full. It also goes beyond that, there are little rules of how one should behave at afternoon tea. These aren’t the official rules, but they are what is considered proper etiquette and expected when enjoying an Afternoon Tea.

The “Rules”

#1: Keep Phones Off the Table

Phones, glasses, pocketbooks, and any other personal items shouldn’t be kept on the table. Instead, place them on your chair to the left or right.

#2: Keep Your Pinkie Finger Down

If they do it in the movies it has to be right, right? Not quite, the proper way to hold a teacup is to hold the handle with the pinkie finger down, not up.

#3: Hold the Teacup by the Handle

Don’t cup your hands around the teacup like you would with hot chocolate. The teacup should only be held by the handle with the pinkie finger down.

#4: Stir Up and Down, Not in Circles

This is an often forgotten rule that not a lot of people know. However, you should mix your tea by moving the teaspoon up and down across the cup being sure not to clang or touch the sides.

#5: Remove the Teaspoon before you drink

Great, you stirred your tea! Now it’s time to put your teaspoon down on the saucer and drink your tea.

#6: Don’t put the Teaspoon in your mouth

While smaller spoons are referred to as teaspoons, when you’re at Afternoon Tea the teaspoon is only for stirring tea.

#7: Keep the saucer on the table

When you are sitting at the table you don’t need to lift up the saucer to drink from the cup. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the saucer. For instance, if you’re moving to another table or standing up then you should use the saucer.

#8: Don’t blow on the tea to cool it down

Patience is a virtue, let the tea cool on the table if it’s too hot. In the meantime, snack on some of those fresh baked goods or delicious finger sandwiches.

#9: Take small sips of tea

Everyone knows this one, but you don’t slurp your tea! A common etiquette rule is doing things quietly and taking small, quiet sips is one of them.

#10: Use the milk and sugar only for black tea

With so many tea choices from Teakoe, it’s important to only use milk and sugar with black tea.

Looking for a full meal?

While we certainly do enjoy a lovely Afternoon Tea, if you’re on the hunt for a full-meal Lumber Baron Inn also provides a few other options:

    • Brunch
      Check out our menu! We are pleased to serve Brunch to the public every Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy bottomless Mimosas and high quality food in the Highlands. We have seatings at both 10am and noon, reservations are required. Please call 303-477-8205 for a table or more information.
    • Wine Dinners
      We source the freshest ingredients possible and offer a custom dining experience serving Chef crafted custom meals in the mansion parlors every Friday and Saturday evening. Seatings are by reservation only.  Please call 303-477-8205 to set a reservation, discuss dietary preferences and your level of adventure in dining.
    • Private Dining
      Perhaps rather than checking-in to the hotel only to head back out for dinner, you choose to stay in. Relax in your beautiful guest suite while our in-house Chef crafts a custom meal for two, and enjoy dining either in our fine dining parlors or outdoors in the gardens.Before your stay, call us to discuss your dinner menu. We delight in crafting custom menus for our guests, based on the freshest ingredients available, any dietary considerations, and the level of adventure in dining you do (or do not) desire.”