‘Afternoon Tea’ (or High Tea/ Haute Tea as we know it as) is a British tradition derived from the Duchess of Bedford’s desire to curb her hunger by eating a light meal made up of tea, cakes and sandwiches, between lunch and dinner. This practise became so popular that it developed into a social occasion among the higher classes and remains popular today.
Afternoon Tea Etiquette tips:
1. What is the dress Code?
Most venues have a relaxed ‘smart casual’ dress code these days unless otherwise stated.
2. What is the proper name?
Cream Tea is usually scones served with tea
Afternoon Tea is traditionally sandwiches, scones and a variety of cakes served with tea
People outside of Britain usually refer to a British Afternoon Tea as a High Tea. This term was traditionally used to describe a meal that the lower class would have, comprising of more savoury foods.
Royal Tea is an Afternoon Tea with a glass of champagne for a special occasion
3. Is it acceptable to dunk biscuits into my tea?
NO. Unless you are in the privacy of your own home.
4. Does the Cream or Jam go first on a scone?
Cornish as well as Devonshire people claim to have invented the Cream Tea. Both place these toppings in opposite order. The Devon tradition is cream first then jam, while the Cornish people do the opposite. The order comes down to you own preference.
5. How should I stir the tea?
The correct way to stir your tea is to move your spoon from a six o’ clock position to a 12 o’ clock position without hitting the sides of the cup. Don’t forget to place the spoon on the saucer when done.
6. How long for brewing?
This is a matter of preference, however the longer the tea is brewed the higher the level of antioxidants called flavonoids. It is recommended that tea brews for 3 minutes to 6 minutes and no longer to avoid damaging the flavour of the tea.
7. What type of tea should I use?
There are many kinds of tea which suit different tastes, however loose leaf tea enhances the flavour of the tea and the overall Afternoon Tea experience.
8. Should I lift my pinky finger when drinking tea?
This is not recommended. There is a misconception that the pinky finger stretched out balances the cup when taking a sip, however this is not true.
9. How should I eat scones?
It is recommended to slice your scone in half and top each section with the desired preserves and cream.
10. Milk or Tea in the cup first?
There is no definitive answer for this and it is a matter of preference however it should be noted that some of the top hotels pour the tea first and add the milk afterwards
Remember that a High Tea experience is supposed to be fun, so don’t worry too much about proper etiquette!
Mangwanani African Spa has two High Tea Rooms in the Country. One at Sibaya in KZN and another at our Winelands branch in the Cape. These High Tea rooms offer amazing, affordable High Teas made up of canapés, cakes, savoury and tweet treats and tea or coffee.
Mangwanani’s High Tea rooms are magnificently decorated to give you a feel of ultimate indulgence plus you are able to couple your High Tea with a deserved therapy treatment which is an added bonus.
If you are looking for a venue for a Birthday celebration, a Baby Shower, a Bridal Shower or an Anniversary, Mangwanani High Teas rooms are the perfect place.