What is High Tea?

What is high tea?

High tea sounds very lovely doesn’t it, but do you know what it actually is?


In England high tea and afternoon tea have come to mean the same thing but it didn’t start out that way at all.

The origins of Afternoon Tea show clearly it was the preserve of the rich in the 19th century. For workers in the newly industrialised Britain of the time ‘tea’ had to wait until after work and be substantially more than just tea and cakes. source

Afternoon tea would be relaxed and taken on chairs in the garden or in the parlour and it would be quite dainty and insubstantial.  ‘High’ tea would be taken at the table (hence the use of the word high) and would be more substantial and hearty. Both involved tea and took place in the later afternoon.

Nowadays by ‘high tea’ we usually means the same as afternoon tea and it consists of  a light meal usually sandwiches, pastries and cakes. Posh hotels do a roaring trade from their afternoon/ high teas.

I once took tea at the Ritz in London and oh my goodness it was splendid indeed.  Our superb cucumber sandwiches and strawberry tartlets (amongst many others) was absolutely delicious and a lady sat playing her harp to us as we ate. Beautiful and memory making.

It is such a lovely tradition, to revive ourselves mid afternoon is a splendid idea.

Long may it live on.

what is high tea
Love this take on what makes high tea by Flavours Catering

collaborative post


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