Tea, in a nutshell-sized teacup

Afternoon Tea London

We Brits are known for our love of tea. We love a brew and look forward to a natter over a cuppa.

In the workplace, the tea round is part of the etiquette. “I’d love a cuppa if you’re making one,” is probably the most commonly uttered sentence whenever someone shifts on the sofa. Brits will cheerfully sit and debate whether it’s milk or water first, exactly what shade of tea they like, what biscuits they like to dunk in their afternoon brew. Stroll into a supermarket in London, and you’ll see that the tea aisle has the monopoly on space.

It made us wonder – where did this obsession of tea come from?

The origins of tea

Tea wasn’t actually introduced to England until the mid 17th century, and it took a hundred years for its popularity to manifest. Before then, it was scarce, expensive – and usually only found in the homes of the aristocracy.

We can thank Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford for the introduction of afternoon tea back in 1840. As Anna’s dinner would not be served until the fashionably late time of 8pm, she would get hungry in the late afternoon so took to taking her tea with light snacks in her private living quarters. This evolved into afternoon tea parties, where Anna took to inviting peckish friends to join her for tea and gossip.

High, afternoon or cream – is there a difference?

It’s true, we have three variations of ‘tea’ and each serve their own purpose.

Anna’s Afternoon Tea is essentially a three-course meal, comprising of a starter of sandwiches followed by a round of scones with clotted cream and jam, before finishing with a plate of cakes and sweet pastries. Accompanied by copious amounts of tea, of course. At the Park Grand Hounslow you can pick classic English breakfast, Earl Grey or a refreshing herbal tea, such as ginger or lemon, and add a glass of champagne.

High Tea is completely different -  this was an evening family meal for the working classes to share after work and comprises of heartier foods such as potatoes, meat and pies. With tea, of course. You can enjoy Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea near Heathrow, which assimilates this style.

Cream tea is simply tea taken with scones, clotted cream and jams. In Devon, the cream goes on the scone followed by a lashing of jam. In Cornwall, it’s jam first. Don’t ask us why.

Tea culture today

When stepping into a British home, you’ll immediately be offered a cup of tea.

Afternoon tea remains a popular way for both Brits and tourists alike to spend an afternoon. It’s an act of kindness, to offer to make someone a mug of tea when they’re feeling a little blue – and nothing makes a Londoner beam like having tea made for them. Whether it’s the social aspect or the fact it warms us up during cold winter days – we simply love tea. Next time you’re in town, make time to enjoy a long afternoon tea near Heathrow.

Did you like this? Share it:

Related posts:

  1. Enjoying Afternoon Tea In London With Kids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>