Afternoon Tea Guidelines and More
Let us help you become an expert host/hostess for your next Afternoon Tea Party. Provided are helpful Afternoon Tea guidelines to properly prepare and store tea sandwiches, understanding tea etiquette and how to brew the perfect pot of tea.
Allow 4 to 6 cut sandwich servings for each person.
Choose the best-quality white or wheat bread as possible. Never serve end slices. Freezing the bread before cutting and then spreading makes for easier handling.
Bread slices should be lightly buttered not matter what the filling. Unsalted butter should always be used. Butter should be at room temperature before spreading. Sandwiches will not become limp and soggy as readily if you spread the butter to the edge of the bread.
Cut the crusts off the bread with a long, sharp knife after the sandwiches are filled. This keeps everything neater.
Since tea sandwiches should be delicate, cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal or into thirds or fourths before serving. Decorative shapes can be made with cookie cutters.
Making Sandwiches Ahead of Time:
If you need to make tea sandwiches in advance and need to keep them from drying out, cover them loosely with a sheet of wax paper and then place a damp kitchen towel over the wax paper (never place a damp towel directly on top of the bread because the sandwiches will become soggy). Refrigerate. When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator. Uncover sandwiches just before serving.
In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel of a cup with no handle is to place one’s thumb at the six o’clock position and one’s index and middle fingers at the twelve o’clock position, while gently raising one’s pinkie up for balance.
Tea cups with a handle are held by placing one’s fingers to the front and back of the handle with one’s pinkie up again allows balance. Pinkie up does mean straight up in the air, but slightly tilted. It is not an affectation, but a graceful way to avoid spills. Never loop your fingers through the handle, nor grasp the vessel bowl with the palm of your hand.
Do not stir your tea, with your tea spoon, in sweeping circular motions. Place your tea spoon at the six o’clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the twelve o’clock position two or three times. Never leave your tea spoon in your tea cup. When not in use, place your tea spoon on the right side of the tea saucer. Never wave or hold your tea cup in the air. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer. If you are at a buffet tea hold the tea saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the tea cup in your right hand. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer and hold in your lap. The only time a saucer is raised together with the teacup is when one is at a standing reception.
Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.
When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server can neatly place a slice in the tea cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon’s citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.
Guidelines for Brewing the Perfect Pot of Tea
Your tea will only be as good as your water. It is best to use filtered or spring water only. If you must use tap water, take water during the day time from a tap and leave it out overnight. Once the water as come to the boil, take off the lid of the pot, turn fire down to low and continue to heat for 5 minutes; This gets rid of any unpleasant smells the water may have.
Wait until the water is near boiling, then pour a little into the teapot and swirl it around. This warms the pot so that it is at an optimum temperature for holding the tea. Empty the pot.
To the warmed teapot add one slightly rounded teaspoon of a tea per cup plus one teaspoon for the pot. Or use one tea bag in the pot for each cup.
When the water in the kettle has reached a rolling boil, pour it in the pot and allow the tea to steep for three to five minutes. When brewing the tea, it is best to cover the pot or cup to keep in the steam and allow the leaves to unfurl more fully.
Tea Parties and More:
Articles, Recipes and Photos by Ellen Easton © 2017- All Rights Reserved
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Categories:Afternoon Tea Coffee & Tea Information