• Rosa

Afternoon Tea etiquette- and the Tea Time way!

Hello #brewcrewyorkshire !

It's Afternoon Tea week!


One of our favourite subjects, there are many rules about Afternoon Tea etiquette, deriving from the high society beginnings of the whole ritual,(read more on that here!) which are often the source of some confusion. We get asked all the time about the right way to eat a scone, or what to eat first- so here's the traditional etiquette guidelines, and our take on them!



Afternoon tea is a huge part of what we offer, with not only delicious food and lashings of hot tea, but with a relaxed service that is a bit different to many people's perception of the traditional afternoon tea.


An Afternoon Tea Tray loaded with cakes


Firstly, Afternoon Tea is not the same as High Tea, as High tea is a more substantial meal later in the day, usually for children or after a long day at work. Therefore, in traditional etiquette, calling Afternoon Tea High Tea is completely wrong and a little embarrassing- avoid mixing it up if you forget the difference by just calling it 'Tea'


We offer a neat little bridge between the two with our 'not so dainty' Afternoon Tea catering option.

It is usually advised to dress 'smart-casual' when attending an Afternoon Tea at a hotel or restaurant, but we honestly don't mind how you are dressed (as long as you are!) when we cater for you! It's your party, your style!


The traditional order in which you eat Afternoon Tea is; sandwiches, savouries then cakes, scones and pastries. However, sometimes you just need to mix it up- who says you can't have your scone first? Just go for it, we think it's fun to just eat in whatever order you want.

Sandwiches are usually cut into fingers, crusts off. This is perfect for eating with your fingers, just remember to pass the plate around if they are served separately- no pinching all of your favourites!


Finger sandwiches served on vintage china



Let's talk about scones- in integral part of Afternoon Tea, quintessentially English and a source of much debate. Whether you prefer sweet or savoury scones- it is definitely pronounced 'skon'!

The main etiquette queries centre around the order in which you apply jam and cream to sweet scones:

The 'Devon' way is cream first then jam.

The 'Cornwall' way is jam first then cream.

The Tea Time way? Any way you want! A light smear of butter or pile it high, it's up to you!

Traditionally, and rather unexpectedly, the way to eat your scone is to break it either horizontally or into smaller pieces, and then apply your toppings to each piece just before eating. What you must not do is then sandwich the halves back together as then when you bite it, the jam and cream is going to squish out and get everywhere!


Scones prepared in the 'Cornwall' way, with jam then clotted cream on top

When it comes to tea, people often ask, milk or tea first? The reason people think milk should go in first is because back in the day, the adding of milk first would protect the china cup from the temperature change of the tea, but it isn't going to affect even our vintage china to that extent! We recommend pouring your tea first, and then you can judge clearly how much milk is needed to end up with the perfect brew.


Tea always tastes best in a proper tea cup!

That said, the correct way to stir your tea (and we've tested it!) is to move your teaspoon gently in a back and forth motion in the cup. This helps prevent you clattering against your cup, and also from splashing tea from the whirlpool created by over zealous stirring! Sounds a bit fiddly, but try it.

Pinkies out? The etiquette experts say no. It's really not the most comfortable way to drink your brew, but it makes for funny pictures!

And at the end of the day, that's what we want, for everyone to relax, have fun and enjoy themselves! We think that as long as you're enjoying yourself, don't worry about the 'correct' way to eat a scone or hold your teacup!


Until next time #brewcrewyorkshire!


Love,

Rosa and Kirsten x

Get in Touch

We are based in Thirsk, North Yorkshire

rosa@teatimeyorkshire.co.uk 

Tel. 07492750991 / 01845 523869