Do You Drink Tea Like a Royal?

British Tea Traditions

Grant Harrold had been a butler for Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and other senior members of the Royal family for seven years. He is now a British etiquette expert, and broadcaster.

After having broken rank with the royals, Harrold settled the great British argument about whether the Queen likes her tea made with tea in first (TIF) or milk in first (MIF) to make the perfect cuppa. According to the British tabloid newspaper Express, Grant Harrold revealed that the Queen definitely prefers her tea in first. Good for her. That’s what any expert would advocate, that is, if you MUST add milk at all...

It makes sense that the royals would go this route. Fine bone china doesn’t crack under intense heat, whereas cheap ceramics may. Porcelain and bone china have little to no air content, but lower grades of clay can have plenty of air pockets lurking. So the elite could pour the tea in first to demonstrate the quality and capabilities of their expensive china. People of lower classes who couldn’t afford such finery would probably prefer to put their milk in first, so as to not hit as high a temperature in the cup, thus helping protect their cheaper crockery from cracking.

Furthermore, Harrold shared that the Queen’s favorites are Assam and Earl Grey, prepared the traditional way, using loose leaf tea. The tea leaves are steeped loose in a teapot and then poured through a strainer into a fine bone china teacup. Explore our full British Tea Collection to start steeping a proper cuppa.

Queen Elizabeth drinking tea
Photo credit: EXPRESS.CO.UK

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  • Hey Debbie,
    It totally depends on what part of the world you are in, but all are correct! Cheers!

    The Tea Spot on
  • I was reading your article and I was wondering if you actually call it a cup of tea or a spot of tea or is it a spot a milk with your cup of tea? Sincerely, Debbie Slagley merry Christmas. Have a great day.

    Debbie on

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