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What is Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea?

Posted by Alfonso Wright on

What is Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea?

Typically served in the more formal rooms of the house with the best cloths and finest china, Afternoon Tea is an often elegant "treat" customarily served around two and five in the evening.   Traditionally, black tea is served from a china or silver teapot,  joined by milk and sugar along with light fare including finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, and other pastries.

History of Afternoon Tea

The tradition Afternoon Tea is said to be started by 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria. Since Victorian meals were regularly served "stylishly late" she would begin to feel hungry around five in the evening. Unwilling to wait until supper to fulfill her hunger, she requested that her head servant serve tea in the late evening together with a couple cakes or rolls.  She soon made it a habit and invited friends to join her in this new tradition. After Queen Victoria embraced the practice, the custom became considerably more prominent. When tea became more affordable and available to the middle and lower class, the activity was embraced and enjoyed by all.

What is High Tea

Similar to Afternoon Tea, High Tea is an early dinner and happens between five and six o'clock. It ordinarily comprises of chilled meats, eggs, cakes and sandwiches and is a formal occasion. Due to the kind of foods served, High Tea has a tendency to be served on the same table routinely utilized for dinners, a higher table, and henceforth the expression "high tea."

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