Tea Party Etiquette Continued

As the next segment in our series of posts on tea party etiquette, I wanted to offer a few tips on drinking tea when attending a formal tea party.  Mind you, this is for a formal tea party.  If you are hosting an informal tea party, watch for cues from the host as to what level of formality you should employ.  


  • If you like milk in your tea, be sure to  add it to the teacup before the tea is poured.
  • Do not use lemon in your tea if you are also using milk to avoid curdling of the milk.  (Gross!)
  • It's important to hold the handle of the teacup using your thumb and your first one or two fingers. There is no need to stick out your pinky.  This is an exaggeration of how people sometimes tilt their pinky upwards to balance the cup and is considered rude in some circules. Do not loop your fingers through the teacup handle or cradle the side or bottom of the cup with your hands.
  • Take small, quiet sips of your tea. Do not blow on the tea if it is too hot.   (check out the Colbert clip below!)
  • When you are not drinking tea, be sure to place the cup back on the saucer.
  • Make sure to place the napkin in your lap and never on the table; if you leave the table put the napkin in your seat.
  • It is fine to eat most of the foods with your fingers, taking small bites; however, use a fork when trying to eat messy foods.

Here's what not to do with your pinky finger, courtesy of Steven Colbert--