Basic Etiquette: Learning To Drink Tea 101


The weather is just right for indulging in tea because it is a great way of staying warm and hydrated at the same time improve the osmoregulation of the body.

However, it is important to note the basic etiquettes for drinking tea in order to exude elegance.

Below are a few guidelines you should observe whenever you are hosting, playing guest, or even just having a tea moment by yourself.

  1. Serve right: If you’re playing host, always serve tea in a teacup with a teaspoon placed on a saucer or tea tray.
  2. Serve it Hot: The hot water must reach its boiling point before making your tea. Never serve with lukewarm water.
  3. If you have a teapot, you can diffuse your tea in the teapot or put a teabag in your teacup.
  4. Avoid Spillage: Don’t fill to the brim of the teacup, you don’t want a spill out when you’re lifting your teacup. About one inch from the brim of the teacup is just right.
  5. Stir back and forth, not in circles: Move your teaspoon back and forth (6 pm and 12 am), gently folding in the sugar or milk.
  6. Avoid making noise with the teaspoon: Try and ensure that your spoon doesn’t clang and touch the sides of the teacup. Also, don’t tap your teaspoon to the side of the teacup.
  7. Never put the teaspoon in your mouth: The teaspoon is there to stir and shouldn’t go in your mouth.
  8. Take out your teaspoon: After you’ve stirred your tea, put your teaspoon on the saucer either on the right side or behind the cup. Don’t leave it in your teacup.
  9. Hold the teacup by the handle: Teacups are usually small in size for convenience. Hold it with one hand (righthand preferably except where there’s a limp right hand involved) by the handle. Avoid touching the body of the cup in order not to get hurt.
  10. Put your pinkie finger down: Gone are the medieval days when the pinkie finger was used to stir. We now have teaspoons now to play its role.
  11. Saucer stays on the table: When you’re sitting at the table, you don’t need to lift the saucer to drink from your teacup. You should only lift your saucer with you if you must move one foot or more away from the table.
  12. Don’t blow on the tea to cool it down: Let the tea cool on the table if it’s too hot before you take a sip.
  13. Avoid slurping: Drink your tea in small quiet sips and avoid slurping.
  14. Never! Never swish your mouth with tea, your tea isn’t a mouth wash.
  15. Tea is often accompanied by finger foods, you can ditch the cutlery for your fingers while biting in on your burger, sandwich, etc.
  16. Never dunk your bread into tea: Cut your bread (scone) in bite-size and chew. The mixture should take place in your mouth and never in the teacup.
  17. If in a restaurant where a wait staff is doing the refill, turn over your teacup when you’re done drinking to avoid having a refill. That informs the “teaboy/girl” that you’re done drinking.
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Enjoy your tea experience and…Keep it Classy always.

Writer: Etienying Akpanusong – a certified Civility Coach with expertise in Etiquette, Image Transformation, and International protocol. She was trained, certified, and accredited by both The British School of Etiquette and the International Association of Professions Career College. blog posts on our website.


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