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The 10 Commandments of High Tea

An expert guide to this age-old ritual

The St. Regis Atlanta knows how to brew an excellent cup of tea, but arguably more importantly, it knows how to serve an excellent cup of tea. The hotel’s Summer Afternoon Tea—which includes bold flavors of fresh berries, citrus and hints of melon—is overseen by Lukus Grace, the Director of Food and Beverage. Grace’s experience leading hospitality teams across the globe (from Chicago to Singapore) has provided him with unmatched expertise in proper teatime etiquette. Here, he shares his 10 commandments of teatime.

1. High tea always calls for high fashion.

2. The order of pouring milk and tea has been a long-debated topic for centuries, but the milk goes first! 

3. Never fill your cup to the rim.

4. Stir it right. Place the spoon at 6 o’clock in the cup and fold the tea towards 12 o’clock. It is important to not clink the spoon against the sides of the cup. 

5. Remember not to leave the spoon in the cup. After you have stirred your tea, place your spoon on the saucer beside the cup. 

6. Pinkies down. It is a common misconception that pinkies should stick out.

7. Do not blow on the tea if it is too hot. Simply wait for it to cool down. 

8. Never cradle the bottom or the side of the cup with your hands, nor loop your fingers through the teacup handle. 

9. When you are not drinking tea, place it on the saucer. 

10. When enjoying a scone, slice the scone in half and top each section with your desired preserves and cream. Breaking small pieces off can lead to a decidedly crumby situation.