E – Afternoon Tea Etiquette The English Way

Welcome to letter E and to this year’s Theme:

 The Glories of Tea With Stepheny

I know I will date myself when I say I am still appalled at the ‘straight from the gym’ appearance people wear on an airplane. It is a far cry from the hat and gloves I wore when  I first traveled. I give thanks that children are still being taught to say, ‘please and thank you.’ I like knowing that my children and a few grandchildren were taught to set a table properly; something that will stand them in good stead long after I am gone. I believe that applying some simple etiquette when having tea adds to the refinement that is another part of the glories of tea. After watching this video, more than once if need be, should the Queen invite you to tea, you will be at your ease knowing how to stir your tea and that you are holding your cup properly. Have a lovely time!

A Short Video with William Hanson, Etiquette Coach and Broadcaster, will put your right.

In giving his etiquette tips, William Hanson talks about using loose leaf tea as opposed to tea bags. Loose tea needs a tea strainer. This suggests another quest, looking for beautiful pieces like these below. I find teabags less troublesome, but still, I have a gorgeous antique sterling tea strainer that my dear friend, Margaret, gave me years ago. It is a treasure that one day will be returned to her children. I have kept it safe and sound and loved it.

Beautiful china tea strainer

A beautiful china tea strainer

Beautiful China Tea Strainer

Antique Gorham Silver Strainer

Antique Silver Tea Ball

A pewter tea strainer


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge -2020 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to E – Afternoon Tea Etiquette The English Way

  1. lmeyer59 says:

    loved it and remember having high tea in England when I was there yearsago. Believe it or not my biological mother taught me all that about tea, or coffeeexcept to stir back and forth, I don’t remember that.  Thank you dear Stephenyfor making my day and sharing your knowledge with us. 

  2. Unishta says:

    I completely agree with you about serving tea the proper way. I hate tea in mugs and have visions of using my sterling silver tea service but sadly, the custom of inviting someone over to tea has itself died out. Infact people prefer meeting over coffee in some coffee bar. Ugh. I love your tea strainers. My mom has one just like your last one

  3. scr4pl80 says:

    Agree with you about the etiquette. I usually use tea bags but love the look of those pretty strainers!

  4. Kathe W. says:

    lovely strainers and yes I have one, but now near as nice as your! I’ll remember the back and forth 6 to 12 and dabbing my mouth-not wiping! Cheers! Til,tomorrow!

  5. I must confess I use teabags (and mugs) most of the time because I’m just making a cup for me. Laziness, I suppose. But when I make a pot, even for iced tea, I prefer loose tea, and then my grandmother’s battered fine mesh tea strainer continues its long life of service. I don’t have any china tea strainers, though they might be more practical (easier to clean) than the mesh strainer. Hmmm….

  6. (The Following comments are by way of my Eldest Daughter on your strainers)
    She is now in her room watching the video and link and very excited. She would, I am sure, happily accept an invitation to tea with you.

    • How fun. I would love it. Tell your eldest daughter that we have a date. She must close her eyes, come through my garden gate, and I will be waiting. We will talk the afternoon away, tell stories, and keep refilling the teapot.

  7. jazzfeathers says:

    Taking tea should be a ritual, not just drinking some tea. There’s more to it than just drinking.
    When an American friend of mine came to visit and had coffee with me and a friend, she told me, “Sarah, for us Amerinca, having coffee is just about the caffeine. But now that I’ve had coffee with you and your friend, I see. Coffee for Italians is a ritual.” And I never though about it, but she’s probably right.
    Tea for English people must be the same.
    I really really enjoyed the video.

    The Old Shelter – Living the Twenties

  8. Robert Welch says:

    Ms. Houghtlin,

    Dressing well is for me a ritual of order, composure, and self-respect as much as it is respect for those I may meet in a day. For me that extends far beyond official business. It’s the non-verbal message conveying not just if I respect another person but if I respect myself as well. I was raised to take on an ambassadorial role while traveling as to reflect the absolute best version of myself.

    Mastering Afternoon Tea shows another who has also mastered it that I am at their level. While there are business etiquette courses focused on luncheons and dinners, I consider Afternoon Tea the flagship event for showcasing impeccable etiquette which as it is non-verbal messaging can establish a feeling of another’s character.

    Loose leaf tea of course and even if it’s between myself and a business connection, business is off limits in that context. I wish to discuss travel, food, wine, landmarks they’ve visited. It’s my way of connecting with the whole person.


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