Pick up your cup and saucer together – holding the saucer in one hand and cup in the other. The best way to hold a tea cup is to slip your index finger through the handle, up to almost the first knuckle, then balance and secure the cup by placing your thumb on the top of the handle and allowing the bottom of the handle to rest on your middle finger. Hold the cup lightly, by the handle – your pinky doesn’t have to be extended (Contrary to popular belief, the ring and pinkie fingers should not be extended, but should rest by curving gently back toward your wrist). Hold the saucer under your cup while you sip your tea (lest you should spill or dribble).
When stirring your tea, don’t make noises by clinking the sides of the cup while stirring. Gently swish the tea back and forth being careful no to touch the sides of your cup if possible. Never leave your spoon in the cup and be sure not to sip your tea from the spoon either. After stirring, place your spoon quietly on the saucer, behind the cup, on the right hand side under the handle.
Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.
When serving lemon with tea, use lemon slices, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server neatly place a slice in the tea cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon’s citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.