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Jeruba's avatar

How should I offer tea to an Indian gentleman?

Asked by Jeruba (51540points) February 28th, 2019

Or would it be better if I didn’t because I can’t do it right?

I’d appreciate a second-best and third-best option because I probably don’t have the means to accomplish the first.

I’m aware that I’m making certain culture-based assumptions, but in this case I think they’re warranted. Let’s stick to the tea question, please.

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16 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m not sure I understand your concern. Are you nervous about offering tea, or is it about your ability to make tea to his liking?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m shocked that you would ask such a question. You’re what I consider the model for refinement hereabouts. Offer him the tea as you would anyone else. If he is indeed a gentleman—you’ll be just fine.

janbb's avatar

« Would you like some tea? How do you take it – with milk and sugar or black? »

stanleybmanly's avatar

She’s asking something beyond that, and I’m trying to imagine just what degree of royalty or diplomatic pomp would drive HER to consult others on matters of etiquette.

zenvelo's avatar

When in India, one would expect to have tea offered in keeping with Indian culture.

When in Japan, one would expect a very orchestrated serving of tea via ceremony.

When in the US, one would expect to receive a properly made pot of tea in a teapot served with a teacup and a tea spoon.

While sensitivity to cultures is very important, it goes both ways. A guest from India should expect to receive tea in an American manner.

I would tell a guest,“we in the US are not quite as educated about how tea might be served, so please enjoy this tea, and if you wish to tell me about how it is served in your home country, I would be delighted to learn.”

ragingloli's avatar

What type of indian?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Unless the event is an affair of state (in which case the actual “tea” performance should be catered by those in the profession of doing so) the actual mechanics of the “ceremony” beyond common sense and the manners your parents (or whoever in life) have left you will be sufficient. You have adjudged this man a gentleman and you obviously hold him in such esteem that you have the cheek to suggest that YOU might not be up to HIS standards. RUBBISH! The very fact that you regard him with such awe means that he MUST rise to YOUR expectations. Whatever it is about this man that drives you to hold our hands over the prospect of a mere teaparty, I am not prepared to allow you to deflate my expectations on your capabilities. You of all people here surely understand that it isn’t the ceremony that matters, particularly to a man. You’re at the top of the list of folks here that I would trot out at any social affair for an afternoon or evening of stimulating conversation, and you’re not allowed to shatter my illusions. Make the man as comfortable as you would any guest, and he will leave smiling if you serve him dishwater.

JLeslie's avatar

I would simply have a choice of a few teas, but I don’t know the official answer to your question.

I think he will understand you are “just an American”. Lol.

I’d have some water available and some fruit and cookies or small pastries out as well. I’m making assumptions, but for example the experience I had with people from Turkey they always had all of that ready for me any time I visited. Just a tiny bit of finger foods.

I think anyone with etiquette will appreciate any effort you make, whether it’s to their custom or not.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ragingloli That’s what I’m talking about. You aren’t on this side of the pond to to soak up shifting American idioms. But Jeruba wouldn’t be caught dead referring to a Native American as an Indian. Or maybe you’re asking if the man is a Sikh

Brian1946's avatar


“What type of indian?”

Good question.

If he’s a North American Native, then he might prefer Peyo Tea. ;-)

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I picture this as a cooking question. How can you make tasty tea for a guest.

An English friend of mine makes remarkable tea. Boil the water, let it cool two minutes, pour over tea leaves. Steep for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve.

Like any recipe, you need to practice yourself before the big day. Conditions vary, ingredients vary, tastes vary.

zenvelo's avatar

^^^^^My Scottish grandmother would be aghast if you let the kettle cool for two minutes.

Lift the kettle off the stove with the water at a rolling boil. fill the pot half way with with the hot water, warm the teapot. Discard water, put tea in teapot, pour water over the tea. Whole thing takes 45 seconds tops.

JLeslie's avatar


Look under “Consumption of Tea in India.” A few paragraphs down it talks about how they typically make tea in India.

jca2's avatar

I would do it the way you would do it for anybody else who is a guest. Whether you take the water right from the kettle or you put it in a teapot, that’s your choice. Whether you serve loose tea or a variety of tea bags, that’s your choice. Milk in a pitcher (never the carton on the table), and sugar and other sweetener in a bowl, just like for anybody else.

I believe that a guest anywhere is grateful and happy for whatever they get. It’s really not about the food, it’s about the company and the graciousness of the host.

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