Landa Teen International Blogger:History of Tea Time + a bit of etiquette.

The Chinese legend of how tea was first made is as follows: Shen Nung, an ancient chinese emperor, was walking out in the gardens with his servants. As he grew tired, he sat down under a tree while his servant was boiling water to refresh him. Leaves from the trees above him fell into the water and turned the water brown. Once Shen Nung tasted the water, he was instantly refreshed. Being a herbalist, he began infusing tea from then on.

Tea was originally part of Chinese and Japanese culture before it reached any other part of the world. It wasn’t until about the 16th century that tea had reached Europe through Dutch and Portuguese traders. As it’s popularity and abundance grew, by the early late 17th century, tea was popularly available throughout Europe.

The popularity of tea in England can be mostly attributed to the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza, a portuguese princess and a lover of tea. As the popularity of this “China Drink” rose from the royal family to the common folk, the East Indian Trading company sent plentiful shipments of tea all around Europe until it became available in corner stores at a reasonable price.

Now that you know the brief history of how tea came to England, on to a short lesson on the etiquette of “tea time”.

Time for tea:

  • Between 3 and 5pm

Common type of tea:

  • Earl Grey or English Breakfast

Rules about tea time:

  • Don’t use your tea to wash down your food; Drink tea, then take a bite
  • Try a little of each type of food that is served
  • Spread cream first them jam
  • Don’t put lemon and milk both in your tea for the acidity of the lemon will cause the milk to curdle
  • Look into, not over, your tea cup when you sip to be polite

How to properly hold the tea cup:

  • When there is no handle, place the thumb at the 6 oclock position and the index and middle fingers at the 12 o’clock.
  • Slightly tilt the pinkie upwards for balance
  • When there IS  a handle, do not put your fingers through the handle, but put one’s fingers in the front and back of the handle.

The extreme importance of the difference between “afternoon tea” and “high tea”:

  • High tea, or “meat tea” is dinner, not an actual tea time.
  • Afternoon tea is the lighter tea that takes place in a sitting room with a small collection of scones and sweets. It’s also called low tea because of the small quantity of food and how it takes place in the late afternoon.


Ale, 16 yrs

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