Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Cup of Tea

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Although some might prefer coffee, tea is the most popular beverage in the world (and one of the healthiest). In many places, it's part of the culture and there's a certain expectation for proper tea-drinking etiquette. It varies from place to place, but here are some tips next time you're having a tea party in a faraway place:

  • England: Milk and sugar are common additions to tea in England. After stirring them in, make sure to place your spoon on the saucer of the cup. The handle of the spoon should face the same way as the handle of the cup. Also, please don't follow the lead of the lady above and walk on the table. 
  • Japan: Take a sip of your tea prior to adding any milk or sugar. It's not impolite to add these extras, but it's important for you to taste the tea in it's purest form first.
  • China: Your teacup should never run dry here, so you'll experience multiple refills. Express gratitude towards your server by tapping your index and middle finger on the table twice (very lightly) after he/she pours your tea.
  • Morocco: A shopkeeper or business owner might offer you a cup of tea. You can accept, but note that it is not appropriate to "talk shop" (i.e. no discussion of business of any kind) until your tea cups are empty.
  • Argentina: Your mate tea might come with a straw. It's tempting to stir the tea with the straw, but don't do it! The tea leaves on the very top are meant to stay dry.
  • India: If your host offers you tea, you should decline. Accept the tea only after they insist that you have a cup (you read that right: it's impolite to accept on the first offer).
  • Southern US: Sweet tea is a hallmark of the south. When you're visiting this part of the country, don't turn up your nose and request the unsweetened variety. Graciously accept and embrace the sugar!

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