Posted in History & Literature

Tea Etiquette

The following are some etiquettes invented in Victorian England when the culture of tea drinking boomed:

  • Stir the tea with your spoon back and forth rather than swirling it
  • The spoon is placed behind the cup and never left in the cup
  • Hold the teacup by its handle between your thumb and fingers without curling your fingers in the hole
  • Holding out the little finger is not a traditional way of holding a teacup and can be considered rude
  • Never cradle the cup with your fingers, keep the saucer close to the cup instead
  • Sip instead of slurping
  • Never sip tea from the teaspoon
  • When drinking the tea, look into the teacup, never over it
  • When not drinking the tea, the cup should be placed on the saucer

The “pinky out” rule of fanciness likely came from a Roman tradition of a cultured person eating with three fingers, contrasting the commoner using five. It is likely that the “pinky out” rule is a misinterpretation of the “three finger” rule and a misguided show of elitism (or irony).

Of course, these “etiquettes” are merely arbitrary social rules imposed on what can be enjoyed however you like it, so unless you feel extra fancy, drink tea in whatever way you please.