The Quintessential Afternoon Tea Experience

Afternoon Tea - Tea and Earth

I find myself captivated by the allure of afternoon tea. Originating in the early 1840s, afternoon tea has become an integral part of British culture, charming locals and tourists alike with its elegance, delectable treats, and warm camaraderie. Join me as we explore the delightful world of afternoon tea, uncovering its components, etiquette, and the perfect time to indulge in this cherished tradition.

What is Usually in an Afternoon Tea?

When it comes to afternoon tea, the spread is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. Traditional afternoon tea typically consists of three tiers of delicate delights, each offering a unique culinary experience. Let’s delve into what you can expect on each tier:

The Savoury Tier:

The first tier pays homage to savoury delights, aiming to tantalise your palate before diving into the sweeter offerings. Expect dainty finger sandwiches filled with classic fillings such as cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon, egg and cress, or delicate chicken and mayonnaise. These bite-sized morsels are carefully crafted to provide a harmonious balance of flavours.


The Scone Tier:

Next up, the scone tier takes centre stage, showcasing warm, freshly baked scones that simply melt in your mouth. Accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry jam, these buttery treats are the epitome of indulgence. Whether you prefer plain scones or those adorned with raisins or currants, this tier is a true testament to the art of British baking.


The Sweet Tier:

Saving the best for last, the sweet tier is a sight to behold, adorned with an array of miniature pastries, cakes, and tarts. Delicate éclairs, luscious macarons, dainty Victoria sponge cakes, and fruity tarts grace this tier, leaving you spoilt for choice. Be prepared to surrender to the temptation of these delectable creations, each one a miniature masterpiece in its own right.

Three Rules for Afternoon Tea:

While indulging in afternoon tea, it is customary to adhere to a few unwritten rules that enhance the overall experience and uphold its timeless charm. Here are three key rules to keep in mind:

Etiquette and Decorum:

Afternoon tea is an elegant affair, so it is essential to observe proper etiquette. Avoid raising your pinky finger while holding the teacup and saucer; instead, hold the handle of the cup with your index finger and thumb. When stirring your tea, do so gently and silently, ensuring not to make any clinking sounds. Lastly, remember to pace yourself, savouring each bite and engaging in pleasant conversation with your companions.


The Order of Service:

The order in which you enjoy the components of afternoon tea is crucial. Begin with the savoury tier, relishing the delicate sandwiches before moving on to the scones. Apply the clotted cream and strawberry jam to your scone halves and enjoy them while still warm. Finally, conclude with the sweet tier, savouring the miniature desserts at a leisurely pace.


Tea Selection:

Tea selection plays a vital role in completing the afternoon tea experience. Opt for a classic blend such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or Darjeeling, or choose from an extensive range of herbal infusions if you prefer a caffeine-free option. Allow the tea to steep for a few minutes before pouring and enjoy it without milk or lemon, allowing its natural flavours to shine.

The Ideal Time for Afternoon Tea:

Traditionally, afternoon tea is enjoyed between 3:00 p.m

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