Early in the 1840s, Britain adopted the tradition of afternoon tea. It developed into a little lunch to quell the appetite and build up to an evening meal at 8 o’clock.
Sandwiches (often neatly sliced into “fingers”), scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries, and cakes make up afternoon tea. It is interesting to note that scones were not traditionally served with afternoon tea until the twentieth century.
The tradition of afternoon tea was first created as a private social gathering for women who rose to the highest levels of society. The tradition of afternoon tea did not become a formal event until Queen Victoria started hosting what is now called “tea receptions.”
The origin of afternoon tea as we know it may be traced back to these celebrations, which might have up to 200 guests and offered an open invitation to visit “at home” between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m.
Today, in Britain, having afternoon tea with friends to commemorate a special occasion like a friend’s birthday, a pre-wedding party, or a baby shower is more common.
Early in the nineteenth century, tea consumption skyrocketed, and it was at this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, allegedly complained of “getting that sinking feeling” in the late afternoon.
At that period, individuals typically only ate breakfast and supper, which were both served at 8 o’clock in the evening. The Duchess found the remedy in a cup of tea and a little snack, which she enjoyed in privacy in her bedroom during the afternoon.
Other social hostesses quickly adopted the concept, and the practice became respectable enough to move into the drawing room. Later, friends were invited to join her in her rooms at Woburn Abbey, and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for “tea and a walking the fields.” Soon, the entire elite class was enjoying afternoon tea and sandwiches while doing their afternoon tea.
Unfortunately, these days, afternoon tea is typically only a rare luxury for the British; a special treat for a birthday at a country house hotel, or a much-needed respite from a busy day of shopping “in town.” Fortunately, tourists may still enjoy a little piece of British custom themselves.
Top Tea for Afternoon Tea
This list of the best teas can assist you in choosing a delectable tea for afternoon tea, whether you are hosting or just visiting.
A lovely and delightful day with friends may be had by selecting the ideal cup of tea and matching it with classic afternoon tea fare. It is simpler than you would think to host your own tea. It will be an occasion to remember with a few straightforward recipes, delectable tea, and the meeting of special guests. The top 8 teas on this list are perfect for afternoon tea.
The most popular black tea in the entire globe is Earl Grey. Its zesty taste is a result of the bergamot oil. Earl Grey goes nicely with desserts and scones because of its inherent sweetness.
Assam tea is produced in Assam, India, and is frequently referred to be Queen Elizabeth’s favorite tea. This strong tea tastes well with milk and sugar. It pairs nicely with finger sandwiches, quiche, afternoon tea savory meals, and teatime sweets because of its somewhat tannic flavor.
Teas from Darjeeling, India, are known as “Darjeelings”. They are traditional meals during afternoon tea. The springtime Darjeeling First Flush has a flowery flavor, while the summertime Second Flush has a distinctly fruity flavor. With savory tea meals, both are delectable. The Second Flush pairs particularly well with desserts made of fruit, chocolate, and French pastries.
One of the most well-known nations for producing tea is Sri Lanka. White, green, oolong and black kinds of Ceylon tea are available. and are consistently favored for tea. Orange Pekoe, Nuwara Eliya, Uva, and Dimbulla are some of the favorites.
Herbal drink with a flowery taste, chamomile tea. In particular, scones and tea treats go nicely with it.
Mint tea is a great option for tea and is also a herbal tea. Tea sandwiches, fruity sweets, chocolate, vanilla, or basic sweets like pound cake or shortbread go nicely with this tea.
Popular black tea called Lapsang Souchong has a strong, smokey taste. It pairs best with dishes that have strong flavors, such as desserts, smoked salmon, and quiches because of its scent, which is described as a “heady blend of pine and hardwood smoke, fruit, and spice.”
Lavender is a flavor that is frequently used to enhance teatime in baked goods like scones and lavender tea bread. It goes well with shortbread biscuits, petits fours, and Devon cream. Lavender Earl Grey and variants that contain chamomile and mint or peppermint are well-known herbal tea mixes.
The purpose of afternoon tea, which is often served between 3 and 4 pm, is to bridge the period between lunch and supper. It is a light supper with bite-sized meals as a result. Tea and a savory dish featuring tea sandwiches are followed by a sweet course including scones with jam and clotted cream.