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Demystifying tea service for international guests

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Tea service onboard can be anything from a simple cup of tea to an elaborate afternoon affair. It’s important to know what your guests expect before serving them.

It’s also important to at least have some knowledge of their tea culture so that when your Russian guests ask the samovar to be warmed up, you are not completely lost.

Formal English tea service

Traditional English tea is served between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., and it can be consumed as a light meal. You will need a kettle, a teapot, cups, saucers, beverage napkins and a multi-level serving tray for finger foods.

To prepare English Tea:

  1. First, rinse a teapot with hot water to ensure that the porcelain does not crack when boiling water is added. Add one teaspoon of loose leaves for each serving cup, plus one more for the pot.
  2. Pour boiling water into the teapot from the kettle.
  3. Place a tea cosy on the pot and leave to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Serve milk, lemon, sugar and honey on the side, unless they ask you to prepare it for them.
  5. Provide small portions of savory and sweet foods such as finger sandwiches, scones, biscuits and pastries.

Russian tea service

Russians drink tea any time of day and especially after meals. Every tea serving is also accompanied with sandwiches, candies and cakes.

Traditional Russian tea is prepared by using a samovar, a vase-like pot that boils water, either electrically or by using coal or wood. The teapot is placed on top of the samovar as the tea brews.

To prepare Russian tea:

  1. Make a dark tea concentrate (known as zavarka) by steeping a hefty quantity of black tea leaves in hot water.
  2. Leave the teapot atop the samovar for 5-15 minutes.
  3. Once steeped, pour the concentrated tea into a cup. According to the preference of the drinker, dilute the concentrate with boiling water from the samovar.
  4. Serve honey, jam and lemon slices on the side. Milk and cream are rarely served in traditional Russian tea service.

Saudi Arabian tea service

Even though Arabians live in a hot climate, hot tea is a staple. It is said to stimulate sweat glands and thus cool the body down, rather than warm it up. Traditional Saudi Arabian tea is normally a dark blend, similar to an English Breakfast.

To prepare Saudi Arabian Tea:

  1. Brew a dark black tea with sugar.
  2. Serve in tall glasses with sugar on the side.

American tea service

Unlike many countries, tea is not a daily ritual in the U.S., but it is still served in coffee shops, high-end restaurants and kosher hotels.

Most Americans drink tea from tea bags or instant tea powder, and though hot tea is often consumed in wintertime, iced tea is more common throughout the year.

To prepare American tea:

  1. Boil hot water in a kettle and either pour the water into a teapot or directly in a cup.
  2. On a tray, bring the cup, hot water, tea bag, milk, honey, sugar and lemon on the side.

Indian tea service

Indians drink Masala Chai throughout the day. They make it from black tea mixed with milk, sugar and tangy spices like cinnamon, clove, cardamom and ginger.

Japanese and Chinese tea service

The Japanese and Chinese drink black, white, green, pur’erh and oolong teas. Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies are a work of art.

Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from her blog, Savvy Stewardess, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Yachting. Contact her through www.savvystewardess.com.

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About Angela Orecchio

Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from blog, Savvy Stewardess, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Yachting. Contact her through www.savvystewardess.com.

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