“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
-Henry James, Author
With the arrival of fall, is there really any lovelier way to spend an afternoon enjoying tea and delicacies with good friends or family? (other than college football, of course). There is something about an afternoon devoted to enjoying a good chat over bottomless tea pours.
While we have the freedom to enjoy tea in any way, sometimes it’s fun to know what it means to have a proper British tea. For starters, it’s not a high tea, rather simply an afternoon tea.
Did you know?
· Afternoon tea is a more formal affair. It’s the type of tea even we’d enjoy at a lovely hotel or for a party, complete with fine china, three courses – the scones, sandwiches, and cakes.
· High tea is actually a casual affair. It’s known as “high tea” because it was often tea served in lieu of a meal at a dining table (versus a more leisurely tea served on a coffee table in a parlor or living area).
· Afternoon tea became popular in England during the mid-1800s when Duchess Anna Russell became hungry in the afternoon hours, requesting tea and sandwiches. Pretty soon, tea and treats served at 4:00 p.m. became a popular custom across the U.K.
· Tea is typically prepared in a pot with loose leaf tea and the table is set with cups and saucers, a spoon and knife (for all of your preserves and cream).
· The first course is usually the sandwich course, followed by the dessert course, and lastly the scone course. But who can pass up a hot scone and save that for last?!
While these are all fun facts, you can certainly make your afternoon tea whatever you’d like it to be! If you are hostessing a tea at your home, here are a few tips that will add a little something extra:
· a playlist is key! If you’re feeling especially fauncy, a lovely touch is tuning into a local classical music station on Spotify or Sirius.
· Put some seasonal touches on things – for fall, pick a bright orange napkin or pop of autumn colors or even some spice tea varieties.
· Don’t feel like you need to let perfect be the enemy of good, pick up some chicken salad from your favorite local store for tea sandwiches. No need to start from scratch if time is an issue.
· Collecting tea cups and saucers may be a hobby for some of you so don’t feel limited in having a matching set of tea cups and saucers!
Lastly, don’t let your tea be limited by time or distance! Check out our fall tea boxes to save yourself the work, the shopping, and the home prep if you’re doing tea remotely. Let us know bring the planning and tea to your doorstep for you and our guests!
*Afternoon tea fun facts are courtesy of Harney & Sons, and we love incorporating their lovely teas into each tea box.*