Food & Drink

The Etiquette Behind Afternoon Tea

In our busy, time-poor lives, what is nicer than momentarily stopping for a scone and a pot of tea? Afternoon tea gives us a break in the rush of modern life, just like it did back in the nineteenth century, when the custom originated.

Afternoon tea has been around for many centuries, but became popular in the 1840s by Queen Victoria’s best friend, Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who suffered hunger pains during the long afternoons between lunch and the late evening meal. She would have scones and tea in her boudoir to satisfy her cravings, and it soon became the it thing to do, eventually turning into a social affair among the English aristocracy.

Recognizing that we all live in a world where it is too busy to make time for one another, a group of women from all over the Fraser Valley got together and planned an afternoon tea event to share the significance of reconnecting with one another. Held last weekend on May 28, 2016 at Fleetwood International Church, the elegantly intimate afternoon was a stylish opportunity for nearly one hundred women to sip on sponsored Tega Teas, nibble on savory sandwiches and sweet treats, and just be girls again.

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Top 10 Do’s & Dont’s for Afternoon Tea:

1. It should never be referred to as “high tea”. High tea is a hearty, simple, sit-down meal that the Industrial Revolution workers of the 19th century originated. The workers came home in the late afternoon from the fields, factories and mines starved after a long and hard day of work. Traditionally, the high tea meal was served in the late afternoon. It was set-up family style with tea to drink and meat to eat, now known as a supper buffet.

2. Sit up straight. Posture is everything.

3. Hold the cup by the handle and bring it up to your mouth — avoid leaning forward to drink. Never cradle the cup in your hands and avoid raising your pinky finger!

4. Take small sips and don’t slurp, and/or blow on the hot tea to cool it. The cup is put down on the saucer in between sips.

5. It is usual to enjoy two cups of tea; one is never enough and three is too excessive.

6. Savories are to be eaten first. These include your tea sandwiches, followed by the scones. Desserts are to be consumed last.

7. All of these accompaniments are put down on the plate in between bites, and eaten with the fingers, never a fork.

8. It is never pronounced “skōn”, but “skɒn”. The scone is to be broken in half lengthways by hand.

9. The purpose of this meal is to socialize. Talking about money is off limits, and similarly you would not ask someone what they did for a living. Opt for light conversation topics as you are there in a social capacity, not a professional or business capacity.

10. As expertly done by her Majesty herself at the end of meals, it is perfectly acceptable when in the company of everyone to quickly reapply lipstick while at the table.

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Why tea?

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, has more health promoting properties than coffee, has more variety and diversity, and herbal teas like Tega Organic Rooibos teas are non-addictive and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

All teas, whether green, white, oolong, black or herbal, contain powerful antioxidants and health promoting properties. Tega Organic Rooibos teas are naturally caffeine free, calorie free and are smooth and delicious.

Unlike teas which get bitter when steeped too long, Tega Rooibos teas won’t get bitter. Not only does it maintain its smooth, rich flavor, but it is de-stressing.

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Looking for a clear alternative to unhealthy and non-organic beverages? Voted #1 for Canada’s Favourite Fairtrade product in both 2012 and 2014, you can order their tea online, or find it at your local grocery in Save On Foods, Urban Fare, Whole Foods, SPUD and Nature’s Fare, just to name a few.

There is nothing to lose by kicking the caffeine and drinking a good ol’ fashioned cup of tea. Brew your batch now and begin experiencing all the benefits of this healthy beverage.

See more photos of the event below.

Getting ready for your Spring afternoon tea? Here's the top 10 do's & dont's! Click to Tweet
Krystele Chavez
Krystele was born and raised on the beautiful island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Although from a tiny community, she was already traveling to North America at the age of 12 to compete and champion international public speaking competitions. Her global perspective has helped her branch out to discover new opportunities when she moved to BC seven years ago. At just 21, she has received a B.A. in Communications from SFU and has already worked for numerous organizations including Metro Vancouver, Canadian Cancer Society, Special Olympics BC, and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association to name a few. She is an entrepreneur, and handles social media for reputable brands. Krystele's passion is to help others find their voice and be heard, as well as inspire others to make the world a better place.
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