Afternoon tea is a light meal traditionally served in the mid-afternoon and includes tea, sandwiches, and sweet pastries or cakes. High tea, on the other hand, is a more substantial meal served in the early evening, often including hot dishes, meat, and vegetables, as well as tea.

The History of Tea

Tea has been around for centuries, and its history is fascinating. Tea was first discovered in China by Emperor Shennong in 2737 BC. Shennong is said to have been a skilled herbalist and scientist, and he is credited with writing the first pharmacopoeia, which listed 365 medicinal herbs, including tea.

The earliest record of tea drinking comes from the 3rd century AD, when a Chinese writer named Lu Yu wrote The Classic of Tea. In his book, Lu Yu described how tea was cultivated and processed, as well as how to prepare and enjoy it. Tea quickly became a popular beverage in China, and it wasn’t long before it spread to other parts of Asia.

In the 16th century, Portuguese priests and merchants introduced tea to Europe. Tea was initially very expensive, so it was only enjoyed by the wealthy elite. But over time, prices came down and tea became more accessible to the masses.

During the 18th century, Britain emerged as the world’s biggest tea market. At first, British people only drank tea at breakfast or in the evening after dinner. But during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901), afternoon tea became a fashionable social event for ladies of all classes. High tea is a more hearty meal that originated in northern England during the Industrial Revolution. It typically consist of meat dishes, breads, and cakes – all washed down with lots of strong tea!

What is Afternoon tea?

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Picture of teapot and tea cup with other utensils for tea

Afternoon tea is a light meal typically eaten between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The meal usually consists of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries, and cake. Tea is, of course, served alongside the food. Afternoon tea originated in England in the early 1840s and became popularized by Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford. High tea is a more substantial meal that is typically eaten between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The meal usually consists of meat (usually sandwiches), vegetables, potatoes, and pies.Tea is again served alongside the food. High tea originated in England during the Victorian era as a working-class alternative to afternoon tea.

What is High Tea?

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Picture of table laid out for high tea

High tea is a type of meal that typically includes savory dishes, as well as sweets and other snacks. It is usually served in the late afternoon or early evening. High tea can be traced back to the 19th century, when it was originally created as a meal for working class people.

The Different Types of Tea

Most people are familiar with afternoon tea, but high tea is often misunderstood. Afternoon tea is a light meal typically eaten around 4pm. It usually consists of finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. High tea, on the other hand, is a more substantial meal typically eaten around 6pm. It includes hot dishes like soup or stew, as well as sandwiches and cake.

Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea

There are many differences between afternoon tea and high tea, but the two most important distinctions are the time of day at which they are served and the types of food that are typically served. Afternoon tea is usually served between 3pm and 5pm, while high tea is traditionally served at around 6pm. As for the food, afternoon tea typically features lighter fare such as sandwiches and scones, while high tea is a more substantial meal that might include dishes such as roast beef or fish and chips.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

To make the perfect cup of tea, start by boiling fresh water and then let it cool for about 30 seconds. Next, warm your teapot by swirling hot water around in it and then pour it out. Add one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup to the pot, along with one extra for the pot. Pour in hot water, cover the pot, and steep for 3-5 minutes. When the tea is ready, strain it into cups and enjoy!

What is the difference between high tea in America and Britain?

The term “high tea” has different meanings in America and Britain. In America, “high tea” usually refers to an elegant afternoon tea, while in Britain, “high tea” refers to a more substantial early evening meal, similar to dinner, which includes both sweet and savory dishes and is typically enjoyed by working-class families.

What does high tea consist of?

Traditionally, a high tea consists of hot dishes such as meat, fish or egg dishes, accompanied by vegetables and potatoes, and is served with bread and butter. Sweet treats like scones, cakes, and pastries are also served. High tea is often served with a pot of tea, and sometimes a glass of sherry or other alcoholic beverage. The specific dishes served can vary depending on the occasion, region, and cultural influences.

What does afternoon tea consist of?

Afternoon tea typically consists of a pot of tea, finger sandwiches with a variety of fillings such as cucumber, egg salad, or smoked salmon, scones served with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of sweet pastries and cakes such as macarons, mini tarts, and petit fours. Afternoon tea can be served in a formal setting, such as a hotel or tearoom, or in a more casual setting such as a friend’s home. The specific menu can vary depending on the occasion, location, and personal preferences of the host.

What are the three types of afternoon tea?

The three types of afternoon tea are:

Cream tea: A simple version of afternoon tea that includes tea, scones, jam, and clotted cream.

Light tea: A more substantial version of afternoon tea that includes tea, scones, cakes, and sandwiches.

Full tea: The most elaborate version of afternoon tea that includes tea, scones, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and sometimes other savory items such as quiches or tarts. Full tea is also sometimes called “royal tea” or “royal afternoon tea.”

What is the dress code for high tea?

The dress code for high tea can vary depending on the specific occasion and location. In general, a smart casual dress code is appropriate for high tea, which means clothing that is neat, clean, and presentable but not overly formal. For women, this could mean a dress or skirt and blouse, or dressy pants and a nice top. For men, a collared shirt and trousers, or a dress shirt and blazer, would be appropriate. Avoid wearing athletic or beachwear, such as shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. It’s always a good idea to check with the specific venue or host about their dress code expectations to ensure that you are appropriately dressed for the occasion.


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