Queensland tea etiquette expert shares all ahead of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

Cancer Council Queensland has teamed up with one of the State’s top experts in tea etiquette, Jo Hayes, to help Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea participants host an event in style!

Ms Hayes, founder of Etiquette Expert, has had a sweet spot for traditional morning and afternoon teas for as long as she can remember – and has an impressive teacup collection to match.

From setting up an event to drinking tea on the day, Ms Hayes has shared her top tips to help Queenslanders fine-tune their tea etiquette skills.

1. Pair your tea with the right food. When planning out what tea and food to serve at your event, remember that just like wines complement particular foods, so too does tea. With so many tea flavours available today, there is a tea to suit every cuisine. For a traditional afternoon tea, pair a bold black tea, like English Breakfast or Earl Grey, with scones, jam and cream. If you prefer fruity tea, preferably a black tea flavoured with natural essence of fruit, pair this with sweet desserts like cheesecake. Alternatively, green tea is the perfect accompaniment for Asian or spicy foods.

2. Use fine bone china teacups. To add a touch of elegance to your Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, use fine bone china teacups. If you don’t have any, borrow some off a friend or a relative – or drop by your local op shop to pick up a pre-loved set. Add to your collection each year so that you’re never in short supply.

3. Keep your pinky tucked in. After you’ve served your tea, it’s important to drink it correctly. Raising your little finger while drinking tea is a very common myth – but it’s actually considered rude and should be avoided. For a fun challenge, share etiquette tips like this and challenge your friends and family attending your Biggest Morning Tea to polish up on tea etiquette together.

4. Always pour milk in after the tea, not before. If milk is desired – there’s a right way to do it. Once the tea has been poured, pour in the milk gently and noiselessly, moving the teaspoon in a small arch back and forth in the centre of the cup to blend it in. Avoid clinking the sides of the teacup. Your teaspoon should then be placed back on the saucer before you start drinking – and remember to sip, not slurp!

5. Enjoy your tea with no distractions. The tradition of an afternoon or morning tea goes much deeper than simply drinking tea – it promotes civility, relationships, slowing down and taking time out to relax, and enjoying the simple things in life. Whether you enjoy this tradition with a few close friends, or your wider community, turn off your phone and simply connect and refresh over tea.

For more tea etiquette tips, follow Jo Hayes on Instagram at @etiquette.expert.

This year Cancer Council’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea will celebrate 25 years of raising funds for the cause, with more than 5000 people expected to host an event.

The official day to host is Thursday, May 24, however anyone can host an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea anytime throughout April, May or June.

To host an event, or donate, visit biggestmorningtea.com.au or call 1300 65 65 85. All hosts will receive a free host kit.

About Jo Hayes:

Jo Hayes is a Brisbane-based 4KQ newsreader and a reporter at 7 News Brisbane. She has completed a Master’s research thesis on ‘afternoon tea etiquette’ at Queensland University of Technology, and delights in sharing her love for modern tea etiquette with others. Jo is also a long-standing Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea ambassador for Cancer Council Queensland.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171