Where did all this tea come from?April 28, 2014
Springs, bags, saucers, gardens, infusers, cups, spoons, dances, pots, leaves, parties…
are you confused?
I’m talking about tea! The other day, I stopped at Health Naturally to get some advice on tea purchasing and tea things. They have a good bit to choose from and are so helpful to amateurs. So as a budding tea connoisseur, I did some digging:
Who What When Where
Tea was first discovered in China around 2737 BC and arrived in England in the 17th Century. At this time, King Charles II married a Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. She popularized tea as the drink of royalty. It was brought to North America by the Dutch shortly after that.
If you’re interested in historic tea events, stop by Prickett’s Fort to see how the American frontier revived this British ritual.
Why… so fancy?
The use of fancy silver and porcelain tea sets symbolized a lofty social status and comfortable finances.
Want a fancy tea set of your own? Sweet Memories Antique Mall has multiple sets to choose from, ranging in color and size!
So now it’s time to ditch the coffee mugs for smaller and daintier things.
- Elevenses — Morning tea and biscuit
- Low Tea/Afternoon Tea — An afternoon meal including sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, curd, a couple sweets and tea.
- Royale Tea — A social tea served with champagne at the beginning or at the end of the tea.
- High Tea — Often misunderstood for its fancy connotation, High tea is a meal enjoyed around 6 pm as laborers returned home. Items include meat, potatoes and tea. It was not exclusively a working class meal, but adopted by all classes.
If you’re looking for some fancy tea in a fancy setting at a fancy time, The Woman’s Club of Fairmont hosts teas all year. Plan an event with them or check out one of theirs.
- The proper order to filling your tea cup: Tea, sugar, then a lemon slice (not a wedge) or milk. (Oddly enough, there is much debate on whether milk goes in after or before the tea.)
- Don’t ask for cream. Tea is served with milk because cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea.
- Never add both lemon and milk. The lemon’s citric acid will cause the milk to curdle.
- Don’t swirl your spoon or hit the cup. Place your tea spoon at six o’clock and fold the liquid toward twelve o’clock.
- The spoon always goes behind the cup. Do not leave the spoon in the cup.
- Remove the teabag from the cup and place it on a side saucer or in a slop bowl. Do not use the string to squeeze the tea bag.
- Don’t loop your fingers through the handle. Also, do not hold the teacup with the palm of your hand. Do not put your pinky up.
- Do place your index finger into the handle of the cup up to the knuckle while placing your thumb on the top of the handle to secure the cup. The bottom of the handle should then rest on your third finger. The fourth and fifth fingers should curve back towards your wrist.
- Take small, quiet sips of your tea. Do not use your tea to wash down food.
- Do not blow on the tea if it is too hot.
- When you are not drinking tea, place the cup on the saucer.
- Eat savories first, scones next and sweets last.
- Scones should be cut horizontally (use your knife, not your fingers). Curd and cream is placed on the plate. Use the knife to put cream/curd on each bite. Eat with fingers neatly.
- Eat most of the foods with your fingers, taking small bites. Use a fork when trying to eat messy foods.
As you can deduce, the drinking of tea is serious business. Rules, manners, tradition— where does it end! (From what I can tell, it never does.) Plus, if you mess up there could be some serious consequences…
Always put sugar in your tea before the milk; do the opposite and you may never find love.
Only one person should pour the tea, otherwise it’s bad luck for all who pour.
The British made sure to get us in the end, didn’t they?
If you’re brave enough, try your hand at all this etiquette! Noteworthy Sweets has delicious tea and sweets, if you think you can handle it.
Find more information on the history of tea…
Find more information on tea etiquette…