What Is Afternoon Tea?


What Is Afternoon Tea?
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Afternoon tea is a British tradition of socializing, leisure and eating that typically takes place in the late afternoon or early evening. It is usually served as part of a wedding reception, christening or anniversary party. The origin of the custom is unclear but it has been recorded since at least the 18th century.

In general, there are several kinds of tea-time traditions and many different types of food. Afternoon tea is often part of a formal dinner and often includes sandwiches, scones, pastries and finger sandwiches, along with fruit cake or some other type of dessert. Although this seems to be a traditional British custom that has been around for centuries, many people today do not have the time to prepare a full tea and it is often enjoyed as a light snack. Still, tons of them enjoy the tradition and think that it is just perfect for the British atmosphere.

Here you will find more detailed information about the traditions of afternoon tea. In this article, we will tell you everything about how to host an afternoon tea and what are the best options to make your guests feel at home.

What is Afternoon Tea?

Green tea, a healthy thirst-quencher
Green tea, a healthy thirst-quencher

Afternoon Tea is primarily a simple meal of scones with jam and cream, sandwiches and a variety of other delicious foods. Having afternoon tea was not popular before the introduction of scones in the mid-19th century.

Afternoon Tea evolved as an upscale celebration for those who were at the top of the society. It wasn’t until Queen Victoria started to hold an Afternoon Tea to make it a more official occasion, henceforth having these events called as tea receptions.

Some receptions invite up to 200 guests. Had an opportunity to speak with people at the informal teatime service and have a good time. In the UK nowadays, however, people only indulge in having a small amount of after-dinner tin for an occasion as rare and special as a birthday or a baby shower.

When Do You Have Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon or evening tea service is usually offered at some point during the day to allow guests to have a quick snack or just relax and eat some food. Anna, Duchess of Bedford, came up with the original plan to have afternoon tea back in 1840. Anna was often very thirsty and peckish around these hours and asked that someone bring to the room some refreshments such as tea, sweets, and cakes. Because of the tradition of Anna regularly requesting refreshments, people started to invite their friends for afternoon tea.

It was fashionable for women of the highest class to wear elaborate dresses, hats, and gloves for an afternoon of tea. This would take place in the drawing room of their apartments sometime during the day, somewhere around 4 o’clock. These days, though, teatimes are usually determined by a teahouse, hotel, or inn where tea is being served.

What Is Afternoon Tea?

It is not as though afternoon tea is replacing dinner, because at that time, traditionally dinner would be taken as late as eight at night. One of the most famous places to enjoy a real afternoon tea these days is the Ritz in London. It is so popular, in fact, in some hotels in London, you need to book a few months in advance if you want to sit down and enjoy an afternoon of tea. There is also a very well-known tea room chain in Yorkshire called Bettys Tea Room, where the owners have not had any changes in many years.

Health Benefits of Afternoon Tea

Many people enjoy the many benefits that come with having tea in their daily lives. Hydration is one of the top benefits of drinking tea regularly. Drink a lot of tea and it can help to hydrate your body, as well as helping to prevent tooth decay.

Some research suggests that drinking tea can hydrate your system just as effectively as drinking water, and that it can protect you from a wide variety of illnesses. It is unclear whether this is true or not. Alternate health advantages associated with drinking tea can help you stay hydrated and even help you to smile much more. Some people believe drinking tea can help them to keep their teeth healthy by preventing tooth decay.

Difference Between Afternoon Tea vs High Tea

Afternoon or high tees are very common, but they are different. Afternoon teas are usually paired with one of the three types of finger foods that are served at teatime. It is more casual and is usually taken place on a table that is placed at the foot of a small coffee table or in a sitting room.

Meanwhile, the High Tea type of tea usually takes place in an elegant setting and is generally ordered for a seated dinner. Even though afternoon and high teas are very popular, high tea was initially meant for a less formal meal to those in the low classes who did not get enough to spend their money on a fancy afternoon. It was common for working people to return to their houses later in evenings and have a light meal with a cup of tea. When high society began to adopt this style, it became more common for upper class families to have a meal while their servants were away.

A more informal tea that is provided is called a cream tea, and consists of tea that is accompanied by scones, whipped cream and jam. Whatever you decide to serve when you host a tea party determines the mood of the occasion.

The Etiquette for Afternoon Tea

When going to an afternoon meeting it’s best to know what you should do and what you should not do. Some people are not sure about the dress code for an afternoon tea as they are unsure whether they will be able to afford to wear what they want to wear. Even at high-end restaurants nowadays most guests will be in smart casual attire, so avoid sportswear or any kind of trainers.

Similarly, take out a little spoon and put it on a saucer when you are about to drink tea. Sometimes guests think that you can simply drop a few biscuits in their tea and drink the tea, but this is not recommended in all hotels. Do not stick out your pinkie when you sip your tea.

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Mary L

When you discover something you love you want to share it with the world, that’s only natural. My passion had become my way of life, and I am finally able to share a cup of the good stuff with the ones I love. Proof that dreams really do come true when you can share your favorite brew.

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