I’ve been thankful to have gone to outside Afternoon Tea a couple of times this year with the pandemic happening. In fact, I’m itching to go again but it’s getting cold and I may not have friends as crazy as me to go enjoy Afternoon Tea outdoors. But what do you call it? Afternoon Tea? High Tea? Cream Tea? Aren’t they all interchangeable? No.
What’s the difference? To know the difference is to understand that all the terms originate from England around the end of the 19th century. Here is the breakdown:
Afternoon Tea: Typically Afternoon Tea would occur in upper class drawing rooms. They would be very elegant and refined social occasions, mainly attended by woman and few men. Tea trays were left on a low table while people nibbled and ate on low sofas or chairs. The main difference is eating all the food is optional, it’s not a meal, afternoon tea is served in the mid-afternoon, and there are finger sandwiches, scones, jams, and tea.
High Tea: High Tea is not a formal affair and would occur in a family’s dining room or kitchen (higher table and chairs than Afternoon Tea) at the end of a work day around 5-6pm. This was the last meal of the day and attendees were expected to eat everything. High Tea is a heavy meal with meat, baked goods, vegetables, and more. It is served with tea and can be followed with bread, scones, etc.
Cream Tea: Cream Tea is the lightest of the three tea options. It was developed in the rural areas of England (example: Devonshire tea) where scones, jam, clotted cream, and tea were served.
Now, I recently bought some fancy hats. So whenever you’re ready, let’s go out for Afternoon Tea 😉
Happy Tea-ventures everyone!