Tea Set Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid
Tea Sets

Tea Set Faux Pas: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Etiquette

Knowing how to handle a tea set is key to making your event classy. By steering clear of errors, you’ll host a great tea party. Now, let’s see what not to do with tea sets, using expert advice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper tea set etiquette makes the tea time better.
  • Avoiding mistakes leads to a smooth tea party or meet-up.

Setting the Table: Proper Tea Set Placement

Hosting a tea party means you must place your tea set correctly. Doing this can make the gathering more special for everyone. Our team has gathered useful tips to help you set your tea set the right way:

Table Setting Tips for Tea Parties

When preparing for a tea party, these etiquette tips are very important:

  1. Use a lovely tablecloth to keep the table safe from spills.
  2. Put a small plate at the center of each setting.
  3. Always place the fork to the left and the knife to the right of the plate.
  4. The teacup and saucer go on the right side, with the handle at three or four o’clock.
  5. Put the teaspoon on the tea saucer’s rim or to the right of the knife.
  6. Set the napkin to the left of the fork, fold facing out, and the corner pointed toward the right.
  7. For seating, put place cards in the middle above each plate.
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Adding Decorative Elements

Besides the basics, certain items can make your table look better:

  • Keep a pastry fork or small spoon for guests to use with pastries.
  • Have a tea strainer ready for those who like loose-leaf teas.
  • Arrange water and Champagne glasses based on the type of event.
  • You can also add a salt and pepper set beside or in front of each guest.

Tea Party Delicacies

Devon Cream or Clotted cream and preserves/jam are a must at tea time. Make sure to put them in the right place:

Item Placement
Devon Cream or Clotted cream Put on the left with the spoon or knife toward the right.
Preserves/jam Also on the left, with the utensil handle facing the right.

Sugar, Milk, and Sugar Tongs

Near the host, place a tray with sugar, milk, and tongs for convenience:

  • Offer sugar cubes, a milk jug, and tongs for people to use in their tea.

These tea set guidelines will help you make a beautiful table for your event. Being detail-oriented and following proper tea etiquette will leave a positive impression on your guests.

Tea Drinking Etiquette

Drinking tea the right way is key for elegance, much like setting a table right. Here are key tips for tea lovers to enjoy tea with grace:

1. What should you call the tea-drinking occasion?

Use “afternoon tea” or simply “tea” for the event, not “high tea.” This highlights its formality and correct context.

2. How should you dress for a tea party?

Go for smart casual attire for tea parties. It’s about looking elegant and fitting for the event.

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3. How should you serve tea to guests?

Have one guest pour tea for everyone, making sure to use a strainer if needed. It keeps serving tea orderly.

4. What is the proper way to pour tea?

Pour tea for others into an empty cup first without serving yourself yet. This act shows good manners.

5. How should you stir your tea?

Stir tea silently in a cup with an up and down motion. Then, place the teaspoon neatly on the saucer’s right side.

6. How should you hold your teacup?

Grip the teacup’s handle with your thumb and index finger. Avoid sticking out your pinky finger.

7. How should you sip your tea?

Sit erect and drink tea elegantly, without any loud noises. It shows your refined taste.

8. How should you eat the food served with tea?

Start with savories and sandwiches before moving to scones and sweets. Use your hands for an authentic experience.

9. How should you eat a scone with jam and clotted cream?

Tear the scone in half and add jam and cream as you like. This way, you enjoy it your way.

10. How should you place your napkin?

Set the napkin left to the plate with its opening to the right. This makes using the napkin easy and fits with proper etiquette.

By keeping these guidelines in mind, your tea time will be filled with style and charm. Take in the tea’s taste and the refined ambiance that correct etiquette brings.

Pinky Down: The Truth About Tea Pinky-Raising Etiquette

Should you lift your pinky when drinking tea? Many argue about this. But, experts say raising your pinky is not the right thing to do. This habit started in the 17th century. Europeans first saw tea from China. Without cup handles, they could use fewer fingers, so as not to get burned. When handles were added, raising the pinky became a way to show off, especially among the rich.

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Experts like Emily Post say the pinky should stay down. They say it’s the correct way to hold a teacup. It might look elegant to raise your pinky, but it’s not. It’s seen as snobby. So, remember to hold your pinky down for a truly proper tea-drinking manner.

tea etiquette

Debunking Pinky-Raising Myths

Myth #1: Some think a raised pinky shows grace and class. But, it’s not true. People find it old-fashioned and off-putting. Keeping your pinky down shows you care about being respectful to others.

Myth #2: People believe the pinky helps balance the teacup. However, handles are there for a reason – to keep the cup stable. Just use your thumb and index finger for a steady grip.

The Proper Way to Hold a Teacup

Here’s the right way to hold your teacup:

  1. Place your thumb on top of the handle and your index finger below. Your other fingers should cradle the base. This way, you hold your cup securely without needing to raise your pinky.
  2. Don’t stick your pinky out. Keep it with your other fingers in a relaxed position.
  3. Always hold your cup gently. It shows grace, and you won’t risk spilling your tea.

Learning the proper teacup hold and skipping the pinky thing can make your tea times better. It’s about following tea etiquette well, not fancy moves.


Proper tea etiquette is key to hosting or attending tea parties with elegance. By following the advice in this article, you can make sure your tea parties are refined and enjoyable.

Start by setting the table right. Place each part of the tea set where it belongs. This makes your table look neat and elegant. Hold your teacup correctly, with your thumb and index finger on the handle. Don’t raise your pinky finger; it looks affected and snobbish.

Sip your tea elegantly, avoiding any loud or messy drinking sounds. Enjoy your tea with savories and sandwiches first. Then move to scones and sweets. Remember to enjoy every sip and bite with care. Sometimes it’s okay to use your fingers instead of cutlery.

Learning the right way to serve tea can really impress your guests. Use the tea etiquette tips to make any gathering special. Whether a formal tea or a small one with friends, tea etiquette will make it better. It adds grace and refinement to your tea experience.

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