You’ve been stirring your tea all wrong! Etiquette expert William Hanson reveals the


There is perhaps nothing more quintessentially British than enjoying a cup of tea.

But etiquette expert William Hanson has some advice about how to stir one that may come as a shock to many Britons.

In a viral Instagram clip, William reveals that many make the ‘rookie mistake’ of putting the teaspoon in the cup of tea and ‘going round and round… creating a whirlpool’.

This method of stirring, he says, is ‘common’.

How to stir tea ‘correctly’? One should instead ‘go back and forth with the teaspoon’, explains William, moving to and fro between the six o’clock and 12 o’clock position.

Afterwards, ‘give the teaspoon a gentle flick above the cup’, says William, who adds: ‘Don’t bang the spoon on the edge of the cup, please.’

We asked William if his advice applies to all vessels, including mugs.

He said: ‘Yes, it does. For any drinking vessel, it is correct to stir back and forth instead of round and round.’

And does the same rule apply for coffee?

William said: ‘Yes, it does. Coffee and tea are stirred in the same way, and tea and coffee cups are held in the same manner, too.’

In a viral Instagram clip, William Hanson reveals how to stir tea

William explains that many make the 'rookie mistake' of putting the teaspoon in the cup of tea and 'going round and round... creating a whirlpool'

In a viral Instagram clip, William Hanson reveals how to stir tea, explaining that many make the ‘rookie mistake’ of putting the teaspoon in the cup of tea and ‘going round and round… creating a whirlpool’ 

William says that going back and forth with the spoon is 'more elegant'

William says that going back and forth with the spoon is ‘more elegant’

Is there science behind his advice?

William said: ‘There is a logic to it, as well as looking more elegant.

‘If you have added a sugar lump, the back-and-forth motion moves the lump and dissolves it quicker than a circular motion, keeping the poor lump at the bottom of the cup, with the hot drink swirling around it.

‘Also, if the cup is fuller, the back-and-forth motion means the liquid doesn’t splash, whereas a round-and-round motion makes it slop everywhere.’

And should one put milk in first when making tea?

William said: ‘No. Milk is added last, after sugar, if having. Hot milk for coffee, ideally. Cold milk for tea.’

For more from William visit his Instagram profile here. He can be found tweeting at twitter.com/williamhanson





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