Tea Dueling

The noble art of Tea Dueling is a way for gentlemen and ladies to resolve their petty differences (and hair cutting comments) in a genteel manner. Provided that your biscuit reaches your mouth with a clean “Nom” after your opponent, you’ll have the self-satisfaction of knowing that you beat them soundly…but very politely.

Duelists will face off in a single-elimination tournament. The martial brew, biscuits, and kegs will be provided by the event. A bracket will be created at the beginning of the event, so please be on time, as no participants can be added once the first biscuit is dunked. The winner of a duel moves forward in the bracket, while the loser joins the spectators. The bracket will produce a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.


Anyone is able to participate in the duels, but anyone under 18 must have the permission of a parent or guardian.

Dueling Rules:

  • Tea Dueling Rules (taken directly from the Articles of the Honourable Association of Tea Duellists, 3rd Edition 1899—©Geoff Banyard & John Naylor):
  • Article 1.1 A duel as constituted under the auspices of the International Association of Tea Duelling shall be known as a “Tiffin Party”
  • Article 1.2 The only permissible beverage is tea. Coffee and chocolate are strictly prohibited. This beverage may be any blend of chai as supply allows. The combatants may add milk and sugar to taste. This beverage should be no less than 65 degrees at the time of competition. The beverage should be known as the “Brew Martial”
  • Article 1.3 Upon agreement of all parties an agreed alcoholic tipple may be added to the Brew Martial on the understanding that it does not unduly reduce the temperature of the Beverage. In such circumstances this shall be known as the “Toddy”
  • Article 1.4 The drinking vessel, known as “The Keg” shall be no less than three and one quarter inches depth. Kegs should be of pottery or metal. Single use kegs may be used in extreme circumstances but these must be of paper or card.
  • Article 1.5 The provision of the Brew Martial along with the approval of Kegs etc shall be the responsibility of the “Pot Master”. See section 2.
  • Article 2.1 The duel shall be facilitated by the appointed officer known as the “Pot Master” the Pot Master is responsible for supervision of Kegs and Brew Martial. The Pot Master is also responsible for the provision of suitable biscuits. (See section 3)
  • Article 2.2 The duel shall be presided over by a president/umpire known as the “Tiffin Master”. When honor requires satisfaction and insufficient suitably qualified officers are present the Pot master and Tiffin master may be embodied in one person.
  • Article 3.1 Duelists shall supply their own biscuits, to be inspected by the Tiffin Master. Ordinarily these are “Malted Milk” otherwise known as “Cows”. With agreement of all parties these may be substituted for “Nice” biscuits, known as “Nickies”. Unfortunately those honorable snacks, biscuits brown and biscuits fruit are forbidden for use in Tea Duelling under Queen’s regulations. In the most dire of supply emergencies when honor must be satisfied then Digestive Wheatmeals or “Rusgetifs” may be substituted but the size of Kegs may need to be adjusted accordingly. All other varieties of biscuits are known as “fancies” and are prohibited under the Hague Convention other than those approved by the Atlanta Convention of 1902 which allows for locally sourced alternatives under the Transatlantic Rule. The recommended bisquit is “Pepperidge Farms Chessman”.
  • Article 4.1 Each duel should be attended by the two protagonists or “dunkers” and their seconds. All accept fully the articles of the honorable association.
  • Article 4.2 Should a dunker suffer a crisis of confidence and withdraw before the duel then their second should step into the breach. The second will be afforded full honors.
  • Article 5.1 The duel will begin with the laying out of the biscuits by the Tiffin Master. Six biscuits will be laid upon a white napkin on a serving plate. The laying out of the bisquits will be done in the presence of the seconds or in the case of a full tournament by officers appointed to this task known as “Cosies”
  • Article 5.2 The Pot Master will supervise the provision of the Kegs of Martial Brew ready for the duel to commence.
  • Article 6.1 The dunkers will take their kegs of brew martial and place them on the table which is set up between them.
  • Article 6.2 The Tiffin Master will place the charger of biscuits on the table between the dunkers.
  • Article 6.3 On the command “choose your weapons”the dunkers will each select a single biscuit. No handling or replacing of biscuits is permitted.
  • Article 6.4 The dunkers will hold the biscuit in one hand with finger and thumb no further than one half inch from one edge.
  • Article 6.5 The Tiffin Master will give the order “Ready” and both biscuits will be positioned over the appropriate keg no further than six inches above the lip.
  • Article 6.6 On the command “Dunk” both dunkers will immediately and swiftly lower their biscuit into the Brew Martial. The Tiffin Master may declare a penalty “a bagging” against any dunker who unduly delays their dunk and the biscuits will be removed and discarded. Replacement biscuits will be chosen by both dunkers from the remaining four. (Note: If a dunker is penalized twice for bagging then he or she shall forfeit.)
  • Article 6.7 if the Tiffin Master is happy that there has been a clean dunk he shall count to five. Dunkers shall not remove their biscuit from the Brew Martial before the Tiffin Master calls “five”.
  • Article 6.8 Once five has been counted and the biscuit removed the dunkers shall attempt to eat the bisquit. 94% as judged by the Tiffin Master must end up in the dunker’s mouth for a clean “Nom.”
  • Article 7.1 If a biscuit falls back into the brew martial this is known as a “splash” and the dunker is considered beaten.
  • Article 7.2 If a biscuit falls onto the table or floor etc this is known as a “splatter” and the dunker is considered defeated.
  • Article 7.3 If a biscuit falls onto the dunker’s person this is known as a “splodge” and the dunker is considered defeated with credit.
  • Article 7.4 Where both dunkers manage a clean Nom then the dunker who last mouthed their bisquit is considered to be the victor with their opponent defeated.
  • Article 7.5 If no dunker has managed a nom after two rounds (and there has been no win by credit of a splodge over other scores) the third and final round shall be decided by default as the last dunker to splash, splat or splodge as called by the Tiffin Master.

Additional Symposium Rules:

  • If there are many duelists, 2 pairs may duel simultaneously to save time in the early rounds. The Tiffin and Pot Masters will be used to settle any disagreements regarding a clean “Nom.” The Masters’ ruling is final.
  • Winners of the semifinals will advance to the final. Losers of the semifinal will duel one more time to determine 3rd place winner.


  • 1st Place Winner
  • 2nd Place Winner
  • 3rd Place Winner