10 things to know about tea
1. High tea is a hearty meal for the working class. Afternoon tea is primarily a ladies’ gathering, where the menu includes tiny finger sandwiches, exquisite sweets and cakes. Cream tea is generally tea and scones served with clotted cream and jam.
2. The traditional time for afternoon tea is between 3 and 5 p.m.
3. The pourer of the tea is never the hostess. It is the visiting cousin or another otherwise important guest. In England more than in the United States, the pourer is referred to as “Mother.”
4. Historically, milk was put into the cup before the hot tea to protect inferior china from cracking. Putting milk in last became a way for the upper class to demonstrate they had the finest china, which did not crack.
5. Do not use milk and lemon together. The citric acid of the lemon will curdle the milk.
6. Stir tea back and forth rather than in a circular motion, taking care not to clink.
7. Look into, not over, your teacup when sipping.
8. The only cutlery required for tea is a knife for spreading jam and clotted cream, unless a gooey cake is on the menu.
9. It is usual to enjoy two cups of tea. One is not enough and three is excessive.
10. The U.S. is the only nation where consumers drink more iced tea than hot tea.