Ten Teatime Etiquette Tips from Lisa Richey

Lisa Richey pours tea from a teapot into a gold-and-white teacup.

  1. What type of tea should I serve? Is it better to provide an option of teas or simply serve one?

If you really want to bring your occasion to the next level, serve loose tea. This will require the use of strainers. If you’re going to use tea bags, it’s best to serve in teapots to let the bags steep before pouring, so that guests don’t have to figure out where to place their used bag without creating a mess. Using several smaller teapots for this process allows a hostess to provide a variety of blends. But if only one will be offered, it may be best to provide a black tea, the flavor of which will complement any of the food dishes served.

  1. Who should pour the tea? Is there a proper way of doing so?

It’s an honor to be asked to pour tea, so don’t think of it as a chore! Customarily, the hostess will either pour tea for everyone herself or will ask a guest of honor to do so.

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