Types of Tea Parties

Tea parties have been a significant part of many traditions. In any occasion and gathering, having a tea adds to that feeling of elegance and creates an atmosphere touched with anticipatory delight. It’s also a time when you feel everything is just so calming and soothing, things are slower and simpler, and as if you take a step back in time.

In birthday parties, bridal showers, formal weddings, family intimate gatherings and reunions, social gatherings, holidays, and business meetings, tea parties have become a modern entertainment form.

There are particular formats and needs in throwing a tea party. You can follow some tips and etiquette to have a classy and memorable party ever.

Places like Great Britain, tea preparation is an art that they have understood correctly. However, here in America, some people have lost that knowledge of what it truly is to have tea time. Some hotels offer “Afternoon Tea” at lunchtime, and provide a full course luncheon menu replete with soup, entrees, etc.

So, let’s learn some information on the different tea parties, when they serve, and for what purpose.

  • Light Tea – as its name says, light Tea is lighter than ‘full tea.’ This Tea is a two-course meal consisting of scones and sweets. (which includes finger sandwiches and other savories). This is closer to a heavy snack than an actual meal. Light Tea is centered around sweets. You will find more cakes, scones, and sweet fruit treats than you might at other tea gatherings.
  • Cream Tea – also known as a Devon cream tea, Devonshire tea. You can offer this tea any time of day. It consists of scones with jam, curd, and clotted cream. Traditionally, Devon and Cornwall specialty, cream teas are offered for sale in tea rooms in those two counties and other parts of England and elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
  • Full Tea – This tea is heavier than light tea and is a type of afternoon tea meal. It is often mistaken as “high tea,” but it’s actually low/afternoon tea. This consists of savories like finger sandwiches, soups, quiches, scones, sweets, and a dessert.
  • Royal Tea – This is a mixture of Full Tea and a beverage like champagne, sherry, or a non-alcoholic sparkling juice.

High Tea vs. Afternoon Tea

a tea on a tea cup with a slice of lemon, and quiches on a plate

Afternoon Tea

This is a British food tradition and became the most common tea name. It is also known as ‘low tea.’ It’s what most people think of when they hear ‘high tea.’ It was traditionally served on low tables in the mid-afternoon. This tea time usually is accompanied by manners, lace, and dainty foods.

This tea time consists of savories, but the menu is lighter and focuses more on scones and finger sandwiches. You may opt to include marmalade, lemon curds, and herbed butter. Several teas on the afternoon tea that are most liked are black teas like Earl Grey and Assam and herbal teas like chamomile and mint.

High Tea – It is also a British tradition of drinking tea when people do a complete sit-down meal at 6 o’clock with tea.

It got its name because people drink teas while sitting in high-backed chairs at a table full of plated items such as cold meats, pickled fish, vegetables, potatoes, salads, pies, tarts, homemade bread or crackers with butter, teacakes, and fruitcakes.

Other teas are generally taken in a manner of coffee tables and tea tables, which tend to be lower. High Tea is made at a kitchen or in the dining room table, which is high.

Children’s Tea– Tea can be for anyone, including children. This is a tea time that generally consists of children-friendly sandwiches and scones, but more preferably a muffin and sweet and specially flavored teas or hot chocolate.

Fireside Tea – This tea is made over and enjoyed in an open fireside. This is an informal home tea where guests toast their bread, crumpets, etc.

Garden Tea – This is a type of afternoon tea in summer at the garden setting, often serving iced tea and lemonade in place of hot tea.

Luncheon Tea -in most hotels, this is known as an Afternoon Tea, but this is an authentic luncheon, mostly with soup and entree, served with tea.

Morning Tea – This can be a Cream Tea, paired with a coffee cake, doughnuts, and other breakfast pastry.

Evening Tea – this is possibly a high tea or a dessert tea. Outside, tea time is in the evening.

Themed Teas – This is usually done in gatherings and special occasions like a bridal shower, baby shower, birthdays, holidays, seasonal teas, etc. The tea time consists of any of the above teas with a theme that infuses the entire event from food, table setting, and decorations.