How to Make the Most of The British Ritual of Afternoon Tea

August 12, 2019admin
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I don’t know about you but I’m always ready for a cup of tea.  Tea seems to fuel me whenever I need a pick me  up.  I, along with most Brits, put so much faith in to believing a lot can be solved by a cup of tea, after all we drink more than 165 million cups of it each year.  Who hasn’t had a cup of tea that is soothing or sits down to enjoy tea and cake?

There are some traditions which many of us still follow today when making and drinking tea, particularly in the afternoon.

It was around the 19th Century that drinking tea in the afternoon became very fashionable.  Even today, there are a number of tea shops opening up offering afternoon tea but you don’t have to go out to enjoy the experience.  Below I have listed some of the essentials…

DIY Afternoon Tea

To make it traditional I recommend leaf tea, a tea strainer, milk jug and sugar basin, vintage tea cup and saucer, teaspoon, vintage cake stand, sandwiches, cakes and scones and a linen tablecloth.

Royal Albert Tea set

vintage cake stand

How to Serve

If you have invited friends round, as host it is your job to pour the tea in to each cup, do one at a time and hand to your guest one at a time rather than doing a ‘batch’.  The milk and sugar can then be passed round so everyone has the opportunity to add their own.  There is much debate about milk before or after, it really is personal taste.  The reason milk was often added before was due to the delicate nature of the china cup, by adding the cold milk first it protected it from cracking.



If you are opting to add sandwiches cut these in to small squares or rectangles with the crusts removed.  It is also traditional to have a selection of cakes but these should be small, of course you can add some cupcakes (although these are not traditional but they are cakes nonetheless!). Scones are another addition to the traditional afternoon tea and adding jam and cream brings them to the next level.

What to wear

I hear you all asking what on earth has clothing got to do with afternoon tea?  Well, for me it is an excuse to dress up, if you are going to all this trouble with afternoon tea why not dress up for the occasion?

Going Out for Afternoon Tea

I know, the above all sounds like hard work and to be honest it is!  I love vintage so have the tea cups, saucers and even the cake stand as you an see above but what other options are available when you don’t have all these things?

Well, one of my all time favourites is to have afternoon tea in London.   All the wonderful restaurants to choose from will certainly make your afternoon tea an experience to remember. I mean who wouldn’t enjoy afternoon tea at the Ritz or indeed if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, check out the other options available.

Whatever way you decide to do, overall have fun and enjoy.

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