Steeped in Tradition: The Essence of English Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea, a British staple, was created by the 7th Duchess of Bedford to cure her afternoon hangries.

The Duchess's mid-afternoon hunger led to a delightful tradition of tea paired with bread and cakes.

Afternoon tea is a light meal with tea, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and desserts.

Afternoon tea is typically served at 4:00 pm in England. But in the US, afternoon tea may start as early as 2:00 pm.

Popular teas for the occasion include Earl Grey, Assam, Darjeeling, and various herbal teas.

The menu typically features three tiers of treats: savory snacks, scones with toppings, and sweets, starting with savories on the bottom.

Although it sounds fancy, high tea is not the same as afternoon tea. It’s a heartier meal (typically served to English workers) and not the genteel light fare of afternoon tea.

Learn the full story of afternoon tea and get etiquette tips here.