Tea in the Window: Etiquette 101

Pinkies Up? How to Sip in Style at ‘Tea in the Window’ this Summer.

Tea in the Window, our unique take on the classic afternoon tea tradition, is back by popular demand – but only until the end of September. This exclusive dining experience in the hotel’s street-level window display on West Georgia Street offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a luscious afternoon tea all while enjoying a different perspective of the city. This unique and untraditional setting allows you to see, and be seen! With that in mind, we’ve put together a few fun tea etiquette tips to have you sipping in style. Not only can it help you feel more elegant and confident as you nibble away at your dainty delights, but it’s also good to have these tips in mind if you were ever invited for tea with the Queen (you never know!).

First things first. Dress the part. Looking neat and put together is always in style, so we invite you to dress for the occasion! Also, we know you will want to capture a photo or two, but if possible, try to put away your phone and really savour the moment. Not only is it good manners to keep your personal items off the table, it will make for a more enjoyable experience allow yourself to take it all in! When you sit down, show that you’re well versed in the art of dining etiquette by instantly draping your napkin on your lap with the crease facing towards you.


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Tea in the Window | Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Tea tower for Tea in the Window | Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Next, let’s chat about the tea. It’s best to fill the teacups up to three-quarters of the way (never overfill), so that you allow room for milk, lemon, or sweetener, if desired. Also, it’s best to pour the tea into an empty teacup rather than pouring milk in first. When it’s time to stir, rather than stirring in a circular motion, gently move the teaspoon up and down (6 o’clock to 12 o’clock motion), 2-3 times silently, then set the spoon on the right-hand side of the saucer. Perfect, you’re a pro already. When you’re ready for a sip, hold the teacup with your thumb and index finger on the handle, and rest your middle finger from your other hand underneath it. Try not to hook your finger through the handle. Unless you’re feeling super fancy (which is fun too!), there’s no need to stick your pinky up. Sip your tea elegantly, and try not to slurp or gulp your tea. Also, good posture is always a good idea.


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When it comes to food, always eat the savoury items first, followed by scones then sweets. Just follow the tea tier from bottom to top. Don’t worry about using your fingers to eat; it’s all part of the afternoon tea experience. For the scone, first, break it in half by hand or enjoy small bite-sized chunks by breaking them off – no need to cut the scone with a knife. Spread the jam and cream, in any order you like (cream first, then the jam is the Devon way and the reverse order is the Cornish way). Use the napkin draped over your lap and wipe your fingers after touching any food. To remove any crumbs that might arise while you enjoy your treats, bring an edge of the napkin towards your mouth, dabbing your mouth gently before putting it back on your lap.

And now for the most important tip of all…have fun, relax, and enjoy your experience!

For more tips on how to drink tea like a Royal, watch this video filmed at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver


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