Afternoon tea service is a great British tradition that’s laced with rules. For those of us who didn’t grow up with tea as part of a regular schedule, it can certainly get confusing.
First, learn the proper terminology. Not all teas are created equal.
“Afternoon tea” is typically a social affair intended to help fill the gap between lunch and dinner.
“High tea”—though often confused with afternoon tea—was originally a more substantial evening meal with a savory dish or two consumed by the working classes after a long day at work.
Ready to enjoy a spot of tea? Here’s some dos and don’ts.
- Always use loose tea. It tastes so much better.
- Let the tea steep as long as you like. If it is not to your taste, ask for a fresh pot. Tea should be replenished regularly.
- Feel free to request different milk –Full fat, soy, skim should all be available.
- Stir the tea delicately.
- Eat the finger sandwiches with your hands. They are designed for and named after their purpose. Cakes tend to be more delicate and require at least a fork. A scone with cream and jam needs a guiding hand.
Enjoy at a leisurely pace at these must experience tea hot spots!
- Add the milk first. Milk should be added after the tea so you can properly gauge how much you need to balance the strength of the brew.
- White tea, green tea, and infusions are suitable to drink with milk.
- Pronounce the long “o” in “scone.” It is properly pronounced “scon.”
- Dunk your biscuits.