If you're thinking of hosting your friends or family this weekend, it's important to decide on the type of tea party you plan to have. While both high tea and afternoon tea are British traditions, they are not the same thing and have their own distinct characteristics.
High tea is typically served as an early evening meal for working people at a high table between 5pm and 6pm. Afternoon tea, on the other hand, is an afternoon treat which is generally served on a low table around 3 or 4 pm. Afternoon tea became a fashionable pastime in high society in the early 19th century, thanks in part to Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, who is credited with inventing the tradition around the 1830s and 1840s.
While afternoon tea typically includes tea, fruit scones, sandwiches, and cakes, high tea usually involves heartier fare such as bread, vegetables, pies, and occasionally meat. In early England, high tea often took the place of supper due to the working lives of many people not allowing time for an afternoon tea break.
Tea time for today
Today, the distinction between high tea and afternoon tea has become less strict. Many hotels and restaurants offer afternoon tea from noon until early evening, allowing for greater flexibility in planning a tea party. Whether you choose to serve a more luxurious tea or plan a simple meal, both high tea and afternoon tea are lovely ways to entertain your guests and enjoy a cup of tea together.
To create a pleasant tea party atmosphere, consider brightening up the tea table with some exquisite teawares, such as a tea infuser or loose leaf tea infuser. A tea ball infuser is a functional and elegant addition to any tea party, allowing for loose tea leaves to steep freely and enhancing the flavor of the tea. With these small touches, you can add a touch of luxury and elegance to your tea party and make it a memorable occasion for your guests.