A Spoon Full of Sugar

First things first.  My sister-in-law recently treated me to a cup of Bellocq Tea Atelier No. 20 Kikuya tea, made in Brooklyn and sold in Bergdorf's.  It tasted exquisite.  Like roses.  And the packaging is so darling.  I think it'd make for a perfect Christmas gift, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with yarn.  Or left unwrapped with a contrasting colored velvet ribbon and a little gift tag like these ones.  

But today's post is for the tea drinker who is looking beyond chic packaging to a set of chic tea drinking maners.  I came across a funny little point of etiquette in Miss Manners (a temple of etiquette of which I devoured all 820 pages in a week) about tea drinking.  First is that "high tea" as we know it at places like the Plaza is all wrong.  It's a marketing ploy that misuses the word "high" to sound fancy and while it's certainly fun, its ostentatious reputation isn't based in any real history.  High tea is actually a casual tea service served in one's home in the late afternoon when it's "high time" that guests have a little something to eat.  For that reason "high tea" includes foods and drinks heavier than and beyond typical tea food fare, but doesn't amount to a dinner.

Second applies to tea drinking in the regular course.  Please pass the sugar dear, so that I can add it to my tea straight away.  Sugar should be added to a cup of tea first, before the milk. In fact, there was a rather cruel saying at the turn of the century for nannies and governesses or social upstarts who didn't quite understand the rules of the game.  'She's a rather milk-in-first type of girl, isn't she?', a society lady was apt to snicker.

And now I give you permission to snicker away!  ...Discreetly, of course.


PS - Bellocq Tea is also sold at Purl Soho, that little treasure trove I mentioned last week.