Tea etiquette expert shares tips ahead of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

Do you add milk first or last when making tea? Is your pinky meant to stay up or tucked in when taking a sip?

Queensland’s top expert in tea etiquette, Jo Hayes, has all the answers, and ahead of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea next month, she has shared her top tea tips.

Whether you are hosting an event, or attending one, here’s a few things Ms Hayes wants you to remember:


1. Pair your tea with the right food.
When planning out what tea and food to serve at your event, remember that just like wines complement particular foods, so too does tea. With so many tea flavours available today, there is a tea to suit every cuisine. For a traditional afternoon tea, pair a bold black tea, like English Breakfast or Earl Grey, with scones, jam and cream. If you prefer fruity tea, preferably a black tea flavoured with natural essence of fruit, pair this with sweet desserts like cheesecake. Alternatively, green tea is the perfect accompaniment for Asian or spicy foods.

2. Use fine bone china teacups.
To add a touch of elegance to your Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, use fine bone china teacups. If you don’t have any, borrow some off a friend or a relative – or drop by your local op shop to pick up a pre-loved set. Add to your collection each year so that you’re never in short supply.

3. Keep your pinky tucked in.
After you’ve served your tea, it’s important to drink it correctly. Raising your little finger while drinking tea is a very common myth – but it’s actually considered rude and should be avoided. For a fun challenge, share etiquette tips like this and challenge your friends and family attending your Biggest Morning Tea to polish up on tea etiquette together.

4. Always pour milk in after the tea, not before.
If milk is desired – there’s a right way to do it. Once the tea has been poured, pour in the milk gently and noiselessly, moving the teaspoon in a small arch back and forth in the centre of the cup to blend it in. Avoid clinking the sides of the teacup. Your teaspoon should then be placed back on the saucer before you start drinking – and remember to sip, not slurp!

5. Enjoy your tea with no distractions.
The tradition of an afternoon or morning tea goes much deeper than simply drinking tea – it promotes civility, relationships, slowing down and taking time out to relax, and enjoying the simple things in life. Whether you enjoy this tradition with a few close friends, or your wider community, turn off your phone and simply connect and refresh over tea.

For more information on Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, visit biggestmorningtea.com.au or call 1300 65 65 85.