There is a saying in Britain, "When the clock kicks at four everything in this world stops for tea", Afternoon tea is said to have originated in the British Victorian era, the most powerful era of the British Empire. Culture and art are flourishing, and people are obsessed with pursuing the connotation of art and culture and the refined taste of life.
The development of British tea culture
British tea culture can be traced back to the 17th century; in 1662, it was established on the basis of trade during the maritime era. After Queen Catherine promoted tea drinking as a court practice, tea tasting became the most fashionable luxury activity among the nobles. . The "English afternoon tea" as we know it is not actually a drink, but a simple meal accompanied by tea, usually between 15:00-17:30. In 1840, Anna Maria, Duchess of Bedford, began to entertain friends with carefully prepared scones, hand-whipped cream and cakes with black tea in the afternoon. This innovative move was immediately welcomed by the entire aristocratic society. Because nobles were used to sitting on comfortable sofas, tea and refreshments were placed on low-footed coffee tables. This form of afternoon tea was later called "Low Tea".
Later, some farm workers often felt hungry in the evening due to excessive manual labor, so they learned to be a nobleman and drank some black tea (Builder's Tea) with thick milk and sugar at four or five o'clock. Eat cold meats such as bread and ham. These relatively high-calorie foods allow them to satisfy their hunger before dinner. Because the desks and chairs the workers sit on are higher, this form was later called "High Tea".
At the beginning of the twentieth century, combining the characteristics of the above two, an improved version of High Tea appeared, which is closer to the English afternoon tea we know today. Beautifully dressed people sit around high dining tables, which are often decorated with delicate tea sets, silverware and flowers. Each guest chooses their own tea, and then shares snacks placed on the three-layer metal food rack with their companions and friends. There are more and more types of tea and cakes. In addition to traditional black tea, you can also enjoy green tea, Chinese oolong tea and herbal tea without caffeine. No matter how the dessert category changes, there will always be scones and ham sandwiches on the food shelf, as if to pay tribute to the most typical traces of English afternoon tea history.
Tips for hosting an exquisite afternoon tea
- Set your place setting
The very traditional place setting is like the pictures show.
2. Build your tea stand
One of the most popular ways to arrange your three-tiered stand is to place the savory course and finger sandwiches on the bottom tier ,the scones with cream and jam in the middle, and the sweets on the top.
3.Pour the tea
Generally recommending serving black teas, such as an Earl Grey tea or an English Breakfast tea. Pay attention to avoid stirring in a circular motion.Rather, move the teaspoon back and forth from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock.You can also add your milk or cream last like what the people do in Bridgerton.
4. Your truly lady tasting.
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It is said that for the British, one-third of life is Tea time. Even if you have a big deal, you have to wait for them to finish their afternoon tea. The British, who have never grown a piece of tea in history, have created a "English afternoon tea" culture with rich connotation and elegant form using imported products, and this high-quality lifestyle has spread all over the world.