Australia's Biggest Morning Tea ambassador Jo Hayes.
Australia's Biggest Morning Tea ambassador Jo Hayes. Contributed

Etiquette expert shares how to be a high tea connoisseur

Is there a proper way to eat a scone? Why yes, there is!

Cancer Council Queensland has teamed up with one of the state's top experts in tea etiquette, Jo Hayes, to help Queenslanders fine-tune their skills, including step-by-step instructions on how to eat a scone, ahead of Australia's Biggest Morning Tea on Thursday, May 23.

Ms Hayes, founder of Etiquette Expert, has completed a Master's research thesis on afternoon tea etiquette and delights in sharing her love for modern tea etiquette, so it's no surprise her teacup collection is impressive.

She suggested Australia's Biggest Morning Tea hosts take her lead and use fine bone china teacups at their event to add a touch of elegance.

"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," Ms Hayes said.

And to pinkie or not to pinkie? Absolutely no pinkies up, said Hayes.

"Raising your little finger while drinking tea is a very common myth - but it's actually considered rude and should be avoided," she said.

Regarding the food, Ms Hayes said it was important to remember that particular foods were best complemented by certain teas.

She suggested pairing green tea with spicy foods, sweet desserts like cheesecake with a fruity tea, and scones, jam and cream with a bold black tea, like English Breakfast or Earl Grey.

If scones are the main event, Ms Hayes said the table should feature small serving containers filled with clotted cream and preserves.

Ms Hayes prefers the traditional Cornish method for serving scones - spread jam on first, followed by cream.

Also, pronounced "sconn" and never "scoan", a huge no-no is making a scone sandwich by putting the two halves together with the cream and jam in the middle.

Since Australia's Biggest Morning Tea began in 1994, millions of Australians have come together over a cuppa and a bite to eat in support of those affected by cancer.

In 2019, the official day to host a morning tea is Thursday, May 23, however participants can register to host at any time throughout May or June.

By hosting or attending a morning tea, you will help Cancer Council continue their lifesaving cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support programs for people affected by cancer.

To host an event, or donate, visit or call 1300 65 65 85.

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