What is this steaming hellstorm of clashing wills, this juggernaut of camellia infused violence, this brittle ride around a broken tea cups edge that we call TEA DUELING?
Tea Duel: a chance for civilized men and women to gather in high fashion, enjoy each others company while supping on small treats, and then tear into their enemies, both real and imagined, with vicious rhetorical glee. All while enjoying tea and biscuits!
A tea duel is a short but spirited contest- two people face off over cups of hot tea, and test their skills, nerve and, when appropriate, trash talking.
At a tea duel two contestants sit down to a pre-set table. Between them will sit a platter with a selection of biscuits. The Contestants each choose a biscuit, and when given the sign, dunk their biscuit into their cup of tea. After a count of five, the biscuit is removed and held aloft- and here is where the nerve and skills come to play. The winner of the duel will be the last person to place the now tea softened biscuit into their mouth cleanly.
The goal is to transfer at least 94% of the moist biscuit cleanly into the mouth of the duelist. The last person to do this wins. Given the nature of cookies dipped into hot tea, the structural integrity of the biscuit aloft is compromised. The slightest movement, or draft of wind- could lead to several defeating occurrences. The sweet morsel collapsing onto the hand of the duelist (a “Splodge”), falling into the tea cup (a “Splash”) or, God forbid, onto the floor or table (a “Splatter”) all confer loss onto the offender.
Cleanliness is, in a sense, the goal here; the longer you wait, the harder it is to carefully move that morsel to your mouth cleanly. And though decorum reigns in the Victorian obsessed Steampunk world where Tea Dueling exists, there is nothing clean about the language and goading that goes on between gentle people engaged in this most civilized of sports. Boasts, jibes and open questioning of an opponent’s parentage have all been heard over tea, all in order to “shake” the person on the other side of the biscuit and force a splodge, inducing a giggle or a wince.