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Tea Etiquette

Tea etiquette

Tea Etiquette: Tea dos and don’ts

Tea etiquette

An unwritten tea etiquette (until now). Have you ever wondered what is the correct way to drink tea? Have you ever looked at others and thought ‘they shouldn’t be doing that!’ or even (embarrassingly) others looking disdainfully in your direction whilst you are enjoying tea in a grand hotel. What follows a list of tea dos and don’ts when drinking tea.


  • Use a teapot: tea to share – and more tea when you want it.
  • Use fine china or glass – it takes less heat from your tea.
  • Use loose leaf tea – it gives a more balanced flavour and there are no soggy teabags to deal with.
  • Put milk in first – it saves stirring your tea.
  • Try green or oolong tea or even other black teas. There are so many teas with distinctive characters.
  • Take a break – watch the world go by and talk to others.


  • Stick your little finger out when drinking from a fine china cup. But then you wouldn’t would you?
  • Slurp your tea. Did you forget just now?
  • Put sugar in your tea. It really does spoil the flavour. And it’s not good for your teeth is it?
  • Dunk biscuits in your tea. Really you aren’t going to admit to that one are you? And in public …
  • Drink tea when it’s not tea, unless it’s an herbal infusion with a recognised health benefit. They are an expensive fad.
  • Rush. Take your time when drinking tea. Enjoy it, savour it and take a lesson from the Chinese and Japanese culture of tea drinking.

So now you know! Of course you may have many additional rules in your household when drinking tea or, God forbid, none at all! We invite you to contribute your own observations of enjoying tea. This may include attempts to enjoy tea at an hotel for an ‘afternoon tea experience’. Was it the experience you were bargaining for? Tell us!

Now you’ve read the rules it’s safe to buy some decent tea!