The Story Behind The Afternoon Tea

the story behind afternoon teaBritons are well known for their long living noble traditions and rules. Tea drinking culture is one of the coziest and sweet customs British people have. Even in our fast moving world every Englishman finds a comfortable place and moment to drink a cup of scented tea.

It is an important element of the British lifestyle. Though tea was brought to England no earlier than in the 17th century, it became popular with the help of the royal family. Kings and Queens were sipping the hot beverage from the china cups and enjoyed the thoughtful mood which comes after drinking. The other noble families eagerly followed the fashion, and soon tea could be found in every British household.

The tradition of afternoon tea appeared only in the middle of the 19th century due to nimble Duchess of Bedford named Anna. The issue is that the traditional English meal consists of breakfast, lunch in two-three hours and a dinner late in the evening. The duchess decided to change the conventional order and asked to bring tea, sandwiches and cakes to her room between four and five o’clock. Anna’s habit became a trend in the noble society when she started inviting friends to share the meal with her. Such tradition was eagerly supported by citizens of the United Kingdom. Further, such afternoon tea received the status of the important event, when ladies and gentlemen took on their base dresses, gloves and costumes in order to visit the ceremony.


Let’s talk about the components of the afternoon tea

  • A good tea pot is needed. Previously, a silver one was used, but the china pot is a good idea, too.

  • Then right cups should be chosen. In order to enjoy the true British 5 o’clock tea it is necessary to use cups, not mugs, jugs or beakers as they lack the delicacy which can ruin the process of tea drinking.

  • Do not forget about the tea itself. Britons prefer those sorts, which were grown in Ceylon or India. However, you are welcome to choose any loose one you like.

  • The next step is the snacks. Sandwiches are the best for the afternoon tea. And a cucumber sandwich is the best among all of them. The freshness of the cucumber cools your tongue after a sip of hot tea, creamy butter softens the bitterness of tea, and tender piece of bread melts in your mouth. It is delicious and easy to cook. Just take a few slices of white bread, butter them richly, cut the cucumber in rounds and put in between the bread with a pinch of salt. It takes several minutes to create the perfect match for the afternoon tea. Of course, you may combine tea with ham, egg or other sandwiches but the cucumber one is worth trying.

  • Cakes and scones are also important for the tea party. You may choose among the variety of desserts, but those made of dough provide you with more energy. Quite enough to survive until dinner is set on the table.

food on a table

  • The jam and cream should not be left aside. Though you may like tea with sugar, you will definitely need jam to put on the slice of bread in order to create the treat of your choice! You may choose the sunny orange jam, summerlike strawberry one or even try something more original.

  • Last but not least element of the perfect afternoon tea is the company. Of course, you are welcome to indulge in tea on your own. The noble ladies and gentlemen would agree that solitary ceremony can release the stress and organize your thoughts. However, it is always pleasant to share your tea with somebody else. Do not hesitate to invite your friends for 5 o’clock meal so they can taste yours sandwiches!

tea partyThough for many Britons afternoon tea is likely to be made in mug using a teabag and accompanied with a small biscuit, you may always find a location where the traditional ceremony is offered. Small hotels in the countryside will eagerly help you enjoy true afternoon tea. Just give it a try, and you will love the every minute spent with a cup of warming tea!