A Spot of Tea (Duelling): a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

Teapot ship

I am fascinated with the way that Tea and Absinthe seem to have become the tipples of choice for the Steampunk Community. I’m even more fascinated how tea and teapots are the inspiration for such Steampunk sports as Tea Duelling and Teapot Racing.

Cogpunk Steamscribe as the Tea Lady.

Cogpunk Steamscribe as the Tea Lady.

Tea Duelling is when two parties sit down with exactly the same type of cup and biscuits (in Australia we might use use Arnott’s milk arrowroot or Nice biscuits), and a pot of hot tea. The person presiding over the event if the Tiffin Mistress (or Tiffen Master), and she will direct the duellists to submerge their biscuits for a set period of time, generally five seconds. The goal is now to get the soggy biscuit from cup to mouth is the most genteel manner. If the biscuit drops back into the cup, the holder of the cup is disqualified. If the cup leaves the table, or an individual duellist leans too far over the table, they are disqualified. The winner is the person who manages to consume the greatest portion of their biscuit neatly, in the fastest manner, without ‘cramming’ an entire biscuit into their mouth. Any biscuit crumbling or droppages between cup and lip are just part of the thrills and spills of this sport. This is a lot harder to achieve than it might sound. Heats are played off between dueling couples, until the ultimate winner is declared.

Professor Elemental taking the role of Tiffen Master in a Tea Duel.

Teapot Racing – as far as I can discover – was invented in New Zealand, where they race robotic teapots.

This year’s New Zealand National Championships of Splendid Teapot Racing will be held in Oamaru on the evening of the 30th of May.

This year, at the Steampunk Ghostbuster’s Steampunk Charity Ball, to held in Brisbane, Queensland in June, one of the charity events will be non-mechanised teapot racing. In this case, the teapots will have twin ramps to race down, and there will also be a ‘fashion’ parade of the teapots. The Steampunk Ghostbusters hope to make this an annual event.

So, I’m still hunting down other Tea-related Steampunk sports. Any suggestions will be most welcome.


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8 responses to “A Spot of Tea (Duelling): a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

  1. karen j carlisle

    Reblogged this on Karen J Carlisle.

  2. A Steampunk Guide to Tea Dueling
    “You will learn the fine art of the duel from world renowned champions of this steampunk pastime. Included are 40 alternative and additional rules to add even more fun and excitement to your matches. Also over 30 tips, tricks, and pro techniques to insure your victory against any opponent. ”

  3. My dear madam, thank you for noting our humble efforts at launching the World’s (Next) Great Sport – Splendid Teapot Racing. It is a pastime of great jollity and skill.
    It was indeed conceived, if I may use that term in such genteel company, in the southern regions of New Zealand, by Simone Montgomery (known to her friends as the Countess). The first public teapot race was at the Steampunk NZ Festival in Oamaru last year, and Capital! Steampunk brought it to Wellington for the CubaDupa festival in March this year. Back in Oamaru for the nationals, we received entries from in excess of 20 racing teapots, and quite a sight they made. The next event will be hosted by Steampunk Christchurch on 11 July. We expect to hear of international teapot races any day now – there is interest from the US, and we are confident of a UK event in August. The rules and an organisers’ guide, should your readers wish to stage an event themselves, may be obtained from capitalsteampunknz.org or splendidteapotracing.com.
    Best wishes,
    Colonel Hawthorne

    • I am always in awe of the contribution the New Zealand Steampunk community makes to the world of Steampunk in general. You all do sterling work, and – of course – are an inspiration to other Steampunk Enthusiasts. The Steampunk Ghostbusters of Brisbane are doing a spot of teapot racing, but with ‘go-kart’ styled racers rather than robotic teapots. We hope to raise funds for the Queensland Cancer Council. However, I am going to check out your rules, however, as I am intrigued to see your specifications.

  4. Kat Douglas.

    Ahhhhh. I see you have a fart gun… (sorry, no worthwhile thoughts or contributions from me)…. We have one also!

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