How does the concept of afternoon tea come up? Well, it is an English custom. It is a civilized and sweet way of entertaining and breaking the day in a nice way. Now, there is a specialty of this ritual. What is it? It is not sure when this concept of afternoon tea was introduced in England. But, in 1840s, this ceremony gained popularity.

How did the custom of “Afternoon Tea” develop?

It is said that the custom of ‘Afternoon Tea’ arouse because of the desire of Duchess of Bedford to fill the stretch of time between dinner and lunch with some light meal of tea, sandwiches and cakes. It is only to satisfy her “hunger spell”. She began to share her new habit with her friends and the practice became so popular that it soon became a social occasion amongst English aristocracy.

Many people often mistake the concept of high tea with afternoon tea. These two are totally different.

Some Etiquette of Afternoon Tea

  • Tea Time

The time between 3 PM and 5 PM is the ideal and traditional time for afternoon tea.

  • Table Setup

Setting the table properly is a unique nature of the English. It is in fact simple and entertaining. Three locations are included in this whole setup.

  • Kitchen – There should be loose leaf blends, fresh water and kettle in the kitchen.
  • Tea tray – The tray should contain a teapot, sugar bowl containing sugar tings and sugar cubes, tea strainer, milk pitcher, a bowl for used tea leaves, a pitcher with hot water and a small dish for lemon fork and lemon wedges.
  • Tea table – A tea table should consist of saucers and teacups, spoons and forks, napkins, small plates, jam pot, small cakes, warm scones and plates with sandwiches.

Tea tray has to be placed at one end of the table. On side there will be napkins, forks and plates and on the other side there will be teaspoons, saucers and teacups. In the middle will be the plates with food.

Dos and Don’ts of Afternoon Tea

  • DO’s

Try little bit of each food that is served at the tea time.

Avoid talking when the mouth is full.

Look into the cup while sipping.

When leaving the table at the time of event, place the napkin on chair.

  • DON’Ts

No items, which are not part of tea service, should be placed on the table.

Don’t use lemon and milk together in tea.

Never fill the cup to the brim.

Don’t leave the spoon in the cup; instead place it in the saucer.

Don’t talk about personal dislikes and likes at tea. These are certain etiquettes you should maintain at afternoon tea.