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10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong

Here's how to be the perfect Cream Tea guest, by etiquette expert, Miss Sue Flay

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong

1. Pinkies away!

Hold your teacup with all fingers on the handle, but don't loop your fingers through or cradle your teacup.

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

3. Elbows off the table

This goes without saying. There's a great phrase; "All joints on the table must be carved"... When food is present at the Cream Tea table, your elbows must be off and your hands in your lap when not eating or drinking. 

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

4. Don’t send the tea into a spin

Stir your tea in a "6-12" motion on a clock, don't 'whirlpool' it round and round. Tapping your spoon or 'chinking' it on the side of your teacup is simply not good manners, no matter how tempting it may be. Drip dry your teaspoon over your cup and place gently behind the cup on your saucer when finished stirring. 

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

5. Never wipe!

Dab your mouth with your napkin, do not wipe! Place the napkin with the fold away from your body to avoid throwing crumbs over yourself. 

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

7. Always clotted cream on top

Forget what you’ve read about The Great Cream Debate, Cornwall Vs Devon. The Debrett’s guide to proper etiquette states that you should spread the jam first, followed by the clotted cream. From a taste point of view, the silky dairy notes of the clotted cream coat your palate, acting as a buffer against the sweetness of the jam and dryness of the scone beneath – creating the perfect, balanced taste sensation.

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

8. “Please do excuse me” 

If you need to excuse yourself from the table, simply say "please do excuse me". It is then good manners to place your napkin on your chair if you intend to return. There's no need to go into detail as to why you need to leave.

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

9. A time to be social

Mobile phones should be away from the table, however it can be very tempting to take photos of your deliciously enticing Cream Tea to post onto Instagram or Twitter…So personally, I say go for it! #NationalCreamTeaDay

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

10. Manners cost nothing

Thank you letters are completely underrated, we just don't write them as much as we should. A thank you text or email just doesn't quite have the same gravitas as a beautifully handwritten note, even if just a few words of thanks. This little gesture goes a long way and I urge everybody to try it, your notelet collection will soon grow when you realise what stunning stationary is available.

10 Ways You’re Doing Afternoon Tea Wrong
Image: Shutterstock

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