How to plan the perfect Tea Party

"A bath refreshes the body, tea refreshes the mind."
(Japanese proverb)

It’s true, teatime, as well as refreshing the mind, is chic, elegant, so charmingly British! Afternoon teas are an excellent way to entertain elegantly.

To organize a perfect tea party just gather a few people, friends you love to gossip and catch up with! Meeting time 4:45 p.m. at your place: tea will be served at 5 o’clock sharp. According to British etiquette latecomers will not postpone for half a second the usual tea-time.

In this time of the year a garden will be perfect to serve tea, otherwise you can use your cozy living room, never the kitchen.

Use linen tablecloth and napkins, and a China tea set, mugs are banned. Carefully set the table: a dessert plate with a fork and a napkin, a tea cup with saucer and teaspoon positioned on the top left. The napkin, placed to the left of the place setting, should be folded with the closed edge to the left and the open edge to the right.

Other must-have are: milk, slices of lemon, sugar, biscuits, scones and lots of flowers, azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias or simply wildflowers.

Make sure you boil the water to serve tea at the correct time; the hostess should be the pourer. Once tea is served, you shall offer milk, lemon and sugar.

Other dos and don’ts: never fill your cup to the rim – it will only spill onto the saucer creating a dilemma. Never stir so others can hear it. Do not allow the teaspoon to touch the sides of the cup. Quietly stir in a little figure-eight motion and place the spoon on the front-side of your cup.

Guests shouldn’t blow on the tea, nor make noise while sipping it; while chatting tea will cool by itself.

Pinkies up? Absolutely not. Outstretching ones little finger has certainly become one of the afternoon teas most common faux pas.

[photo: Raffaello 3 table, Raffaello 2 and Ghirigori chair.]

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