The UAE, home to as many nationalities as member states at the United Nations, is using its position as a bridge that joins cultures to welcome the Arab world’s first tea etiquette guide.
In this region, Arabs have for generations valued face-to-face meetings with business associates. They cherish time together drinking tea while discussing business ventures and catching up with family and friends.
After 150 years in the Gulf, the British may have left, but people held on to the British love of tea.
“The Middle East has historic links to tea, and in the modern day we see people from all walks of life and of all ages really enjoying this wonderful drink – whether it is with friends and family or simply enjoying a relaxing cup on their own in the afternoon,” said Mike Taylor, part of the communications team at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts- the brand behind the creation of the etiquette guide.
Tea drinking is seen as a sign of good hospitality, and Emiratis love to play the host so the tradition fits in perfectly with the culture of the region.
There is much that divides nations, that separates cultures, but afternoon tea brings people together and emphasises those traditions we share.
“Afternoon tea is a worldwide institution and a tradition that Fairmont seeks to take to as many people as possible,” Mr Taylor said.
In the UAE, tea is second only to water as the most consumed drink, according to one recent industry report, with close to 20,000kg of tea consumed in the emirates daily.
“We looked at the information on tea, from facts and figures to etiquette, that was available in Arabic and decided to help spread the message even further. Researching and designing this tea guide was great fun for everyone involved and we hope to convert as many people as possible to tea and educate those who already drink it even more.”
The etiquette guide explains the do’s and don’ts of tea drinking, specifically why the milk should be added before the tea, how to hold the cup and why you should never hold the body of the cup in the palm of your hand.