Attention all arrogant fingers...
The best way to hold a tea cup is to slip your index finger through the handle, up to almost the first knuckle, then balance and secure the cup by placing your thumb on the top of the handle and allowing the bottom of the handle to rest on your middle finger. Contrary to popular belief, the ring and pinkie fingers should not be extended, but should rest by curving gently back toward your wrist.
There are two theories about this. One considers the Chinese custom of drinking tea in small cups with no handles. The hot tea tended to burn the tender, sensitive skin of the pinkie fingers, causing them to hold them away from the hot cup. The other theory dates back to the middle ages when the gentry, or upper classes ate with only three fingers and the commoners ate with all five. To extend one's pinkie was an indication of arrogance, an inflated self-importance and was really rather rude. So despite the fact that children often play "tea party" and drink with their pinkies raised, it really isn't a considerate gesture and should be eliminated.
This has changed everything. I'm not always altogether sure what my pinkie is up to, but I'm sure going to be a good deal more vigilant of the little fellow.
Courtesy of http://www.seedsofknowledge.com/etiquette.html ... good tea chat here.