Tea Stories

Teacups and saucers November 14 2017

Teacups did not always have handles. Chinese tea bowls influenced the first European teacups. At first, the English made cups without handles in the traditional Chinese style. Not until the mid 1750's was a handle added to prevent ladies from burning their fingers. In Victorian times in England, the tea was sometimes poured into the saucer to cool it before sipping, this was considered perfectly acceptable.  This is what writers of that period meant by "a dish of tea."

Elitism November 12 2017

Since ancient Rome, a cultured person ate with 3 fingers, a commoner with 5. Thus, the birth of the raised pinkie as a sign of elitism. This 3 finger etiquette rule is still correct when picking up food with the fingers and handling various pieces of flatware. This "pinky up" idea descended from a misinterpretation of 3 fingers versus 5 fingers dining etiquette in the 11th century.

Tea party Etiquette November 11 2017

* Greeting/handshake

* After sitting down  - put purse on your lap or behind you against chair back.

* Napkin placement - unfold napkin on your lap. If you must leave temporarily, place napkin on chair.

* Sugar/lemon   - sugar is placed in cup first, then thinly sliced lemon, and never milk and lemon together.

* Superstition - To put milk in tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry.

* The correct order when eating on a tea tray is to eat savories first, scones next, and sweets last. 

* Scones - split horizontally with knife, curd and cream is placed on plate. Use the knife to put cream/curd on each bite. Eat with fingers, neatly.

*  Proper placement of spoon - always place spoon behind the cup, never IN the cup.

* Proper holding  of cup  - never put pinky "up." And look into the teacup whilst drinking, not over it. 


Times for Tea November 10 2017

* Cream Tea - a simple tea consisting of scones, clotted cream, marmalade or lemon curd and tea.

* Low Tea/Afternoon Tea  - an afternoon meal including sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, lemon curd, 2 - 3 sweets and tea. Known as "low tea" because guests were seated in low armchairs with low side tables on which to place their cups and saucers.

* Elevenses - morning tea or coffee time in England.

* Royale tea - A social tea served with champagne at the beginning or sherry at the end of the tea. 

* High tea - High tea notates an idea of elegancy and reality, when in fact it was an evening meal, most often enjoyed around 6 p.m. as labourers and miners returned home. High tea consists of meat and potatoes as well as other foods and tea. It was not exclusively a working class meal, but was adopted by all social groups. Families with servants  often took high tea on Sundays in order to allow the maids and butlers time to go to church and not to have to worry about cooking an evening meal for the family. 

The Duchess of Bedford November 09 2017

The ceremony of afternoon tea was referred to by Jane Austen in an unfinished novel in 1804, hinting that the tradition was established by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. She requested that light sandwiches be brought to her in the late afternoon, when she would experience a "sinking feeling" during that time, because of the long gap between meals. She began to invite others to join her, and thus the tradition was born.

Tea Gardens November 08 2017

During the 18th century, tea gardens became popular. The whole idea of the garden was for ladies and gentlemen to take their tea together outdoors, surrounded by entertainers. They attracted everybody, including Mozart and Handel. The tea gardens made tea all the more fashionable to drink, plus they were important places for men and women to meet freely.

Queen Anne November 07 2017

Queen Anne drank tea so regularly that she substituted a large bell-shaped silver teapot for the tiny Chinese tea pots. The earliest formal tea set dates from her reign.

Catharine De Braganza, wife of Charles II of England November 06 2017

In England, after her marriage, she invited her friends into her bedroom chamber to share tea with her. Tea was generally consumed within a lady's bedchamber and mainly for a gathering of females. The tea itself and the delicate pieces of porcelain for brewing and drinking it were displayed in the closet, and inventories for wealthy households during the 17th and 18th centuries list tea equip not in kitchens or dining rooms, but in these small private closets or boudoirs. In the 18th century, it was the custom for highborn ladies to receive callers with their morning tea while "abed and bare-breasted."Nice!

Tea Etiquette November 05 2017

There are many ideas about tea etiquette and when tea first became popular in England. Charles II grew up in exile at The Hague, and thus was exposed to the custom of drinking tea. He married Catharine of Braganza, a Portuguese lady, who also enjoyed tea. Catharine had grown up drinking it, as it was the beverage of choice in her country at that time.  It was said that when she arrived in England to marry Charles II, she brought with her a casket of tea. She became known as the tea-drinking  Queen. England's first.


John Osborne October 18 2017

"In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea."

Janice Dickinson October 17 2017


"I have to wake up and drink chamomile tea to slow down."

Hillaire Belloc October 17 2017

"Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had know that I would have left the vulgar stuff alone."

Phyllis Battelle October 16 2017

"A reporter discovers, in the course of many years of interviewing celebrities, that most actors are more attractive behind a spotlight than over a spot of tea."

Anthony Storr October 15 2017

"The professional must learn to be moved and touched emotionally, yet at the same time stand back objectively: I've seen a lot of damage done by tea and sympathy."

William Faulkner October 14 2017

"The scattered tea goes with the leaves and every day a sunset dies."

Josh Billings October 13 2017

"Old maids sweeten their tea with scandal."

Henry Fielding October 12 2017

"Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea."

Sheena Easton October 12 2017

"I'd make tea for Joni Mitchell or clean her car, anything to be in the studio and watch her work."

The late John Bonham October 11 2017

"I dare not drink before a gig because I'll get tired and blow it. So I have to sit drinking tea in a caravan."

Nikita Khruschev October 10 2017

"The people pay little attention to what we say, and prefer to read tea leaves."

Arthur Golden October 09 2017

"You know, the men go to tea houses with the expectation that they will have a nice quiet evening and not read about it next morning in the newspapers."

Ronnie Biggs (Great Train Robber) October 08 2017

"It has been rumoured that I was the brains of the robbery, but that was totally incorrect. I've been described as the tea boy, which is also correct." (I wonder what he really was then?)

Cynthia Payne October 07 2017

"My biographer said that my parties reminded him of a vicarage tea party, with sex thrown in."

John Stuart Blackie October 03 2017

"Wine is the drink of the gods, milk the drink of babes, tea the drink of women, and water the drink of beasts."