1. DRESS CODE
Perhaps it’s wise to understand the origin of High Tea to see what dress code fits best, it may not be what you think. At the mention of ‘high tea,’ many imagine 18th century ladies-of-leisure sipping tea in fabulous English manors. That most certainly did happen, however, we have the working class to thank for high tea first. The working class developed high tea as a filler between their two daily meals (breakfast and a late dinner). They scoffed scones down either standing up or sitting on tall stools, hence the term ‘high tea’.
The bourgeois soon followed suit and said a no-frills high tea just won’t do so they dressed to impress forming the tradition from then on.
So what’s the modern dress etiquette now? Dress to impress…although you can leave your hooped dresses and waist coats at home…that’s a bit much.
2. TO CREAM OR TO JAM FIRST…THAT IS THE QUESTION
Let’s talk scones. They are fluffy and delicious and cause much debate about what gets smothered on first – the cream or the jam. Both the Cornish and Devonshire people lay claim to inventing the scone topping tradition. The Devon tradition is to apply the cream first and then spread the jam on second. The Cornish way is to slather the jam on first and top it off with clotted cream. So, we can only assume that this all started when a lady from Cornish and a lady from Devonshire sat down for high tea together and scorned over scones. Each adamant their way was best. So, for the love of scones, it’s perfectly good etiquette to cream and then jam or to jam and then cream.
3. STIR IT RIGHT
The biggest no-no when stirring your cup of tea is to ‘clink’ the spoon against the sides of the cup and so must be avoided. In terms of the stirring technique, it can get technical. Ideally, you place your spoon in a 6 o’clock position in your cup and fold the tea gently towards the 12 o’clock position. When you have fully stirred, remove your spoon from the cup and place it on the saucer to the side of the cup.
4. MILK OR TEA FIRST?
This is a hot topic. Many great tea connoisseurs have argued this tea enigma and whilst the definitive answer is debatable we believe the logic behind our favourite trumps. Put your milk in first. It offers a better combination of the two liquids and allows the creaminess of the milk to filter through your hot tea in a more harmonious way. If you add milk second, the hot tea can overwhelm the milk and release less flavour/ creaminess in your cup. Also, traditionally, adding cold milk first protected delicate china from cracking from boiling tea.
Voila, here you have it.
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Brought to you by the High Tea team that work while Mary Eats Cake.