Social consciousness and tea are a great combo, since I have always considered social consciousness to be an important aspect of my tea enjoyment. Knowing how to properly prepare, pour, and enjoy tea in a social setting is something we all need to be conscious of. Many, unfortunately, seem to be socially unconscious while trying to enjoy their tea, a real problem if they are within ear- and eyeshot of anyone else.
First, there are the slurpers. They lift the teacup to their lips and — sssllluuurrrppp! — they produce a sound that makes nails on a blackboard sound like the sweet tweeting of birds in the Spring time. What causes this slurping sound? Usually, people are trying to drink their tea when it’s too hot. To avoid scalding lips and tongue, they inhale a bit of air with the tea. Not only can you not enjoy the flavor of your tea when it’s too hot, you could burn your tongue and not be able to enjoy the rest of the cupful nor any of the goodies you are having with it.
Let the tea cool. Slurping problem solved. Social consciousness improved.
Next are the pinky pointers. Somehow, pinky pointing has come to be seen as a sign of refinement and good manners, that is, social consciousness. That’s what these people think they are portraying. They are trying to display their social consciousness while drinking tea by raising the pinky of their cuphand as they lift the cup to their lips. If you do this and are one of the people I’ve seen around with very long designer fingernails (one was a cashier — how in the world she managed to press the register buttons I don’t know — thank goodness for those bar code scanners), a quick call to 911 might follow your first sip, accompanied by a cry of “Ow, my eye!”
No pinkies raised during sipping your tea. Another teatime faux pas avoided. Social consciousness and tea once again in harmony.
Last are the “saucer coolers.” Some people pour a little tea into their saucer to cool it. This is an old practice. I’ve even seen it in black-and-white movie classics on TV. These people combine this act with the offense mentioned earlier of slurping as they suck up the tea from the saucer. There are also the inevitable drips that result from trying to pour tea from the cup to the saucer.
Again, let the tea cool for a moment or two in your teacup. Your host and/or hostess will not take offense and will most likely applaud your social consciousness while enjoying tea.
As for me, I never slurp, point my pinky skyward while sipping, or do the “saucer cool down.” Well, almost never. I guess that means I get a gold star for my social consciousness and tea. Maybe just a teacup Salute!
Happy tea drinking!
Author’s note: A bit of tongue-in-cheek fun inspired by theteascoop’s article “Social Consciousness and Tea.”
Check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, for more advice on living what she calls the “tea life.”