You can treat your friend or family member to a classic British combination of tea and cake, and dress and eat like the Queen does when she has her Afternoon Tea. Alex Ion from BrewSmartly.com has shared the essential dining etiquette for attending Afternoon Tea with Express.co.uk. According to Mr Ion, there are five tips on etiquette for consuming afternoon tea.
What to eat first?
Afternoon Tea is usually served on a three-tiered cake stand, providing sandwiches, scones, and a selection of cakes with tea.
There is an official order for eating the provided cakes and sandwiches during Afternoon Tea, and the Queen reportedly makes sure her guests follow the appropriate order.
A good rule of thumb is top to bottom. The top tier of sandwiches should be approached first followed by the scones below and then lastly, the selection of cakes or pastries.
There is, of course, the endless debate whether you apply the cream first onto the scones or the jam.
In the case of Afternoon Tea, it is entirely up to the consumer.
The Devon way is cream first and then jam, however, the Cornish way is jam spread first with cream on top.
The Queen’s pastry chefs have revealed they follow the Devon pattern – cream first, then jam.
So if you want to eat a scone like Queen Elizabeth, then the Devon method is the one to choose.
Another popular debate amongst Brits is the order in which to make the perfect cup of tea.
When pouring for the table at royal events, tea takes precedence so that the company can add milk to their preferred taste.
Cutlery and crockery dos and don’ts:
The food served during Afternoon Tea, many would assume, can just be eaten without cutlery.
But the royal etiquette surrounding cutlery and crockery is another rule to take note of.
Once you have used a knife or spoon in a royal setting, they must not return to the table but to a plate.
Your spoon also must not be put into your mouth after stirring and doing so would be met with a sign of disapproval.
When you are ready to drink your tea, your saucer must remain on the table and not be moved towards your face with the cup.
In the comfort of your own home dunking a biscuit or two is acceptable.
However the etiquette of an Afternoon Tea, especially with the Queen, dictates that you must never dunk.
Keep mobile phones out of sight:
Nowadays going for an Afternoon Tea is an event where many will take pictures for social media or to remember the occasion.
But within the Royal Family, the individual members cannot just post a picture of their Afternoon Tea with the Queen for example on their Instagram page without the institution’s permission.
If attending a fancy Afternoon Tea this week, once you have taken your pictures it is advised that you put your phone away and do not leave it out on the table.
It is one of the most basic rules of table etiquette to be in the moment and not to ignore your company.