Tea time is anytime, but there are some particular times and traditions that have meaning beyond just imbibing the liquor. What are you serving? Quick review:
Afternoon Tea – Initially attributed to the 1840’s by the Duchess of Bedford, between the upper classes. There were only two meals at the time and dinner was served very late, so to fend off hunger she began a tradition of having women gather for tea and refreshments between 4PM and 5PM. Afternoon tea still occurs, surprise, in the afternoon, between 3PM – 5PM in restaurants, hotels and tea rooms. Variations on afternoon tea are the Champagne Tea for adults, and the Teddy Bear Tea for children’s parties.
Low Tea – Same as “afternoon Tea”. “Low” tea was served on low tables, near sofas and chairs, in sitting or withdrawing rooms. Today we call those same rooms our living room, their sofa is our couch and the low tables we would serve the tea from are (gasp) “coffee” tables.
Today the tradition continues with three specific types of afternoon tea.
Cream Tea – Tea + scones, served with preserves and cream.
Light Tea – Tea + scones + additional sweets
Full Tea – Tea + scones + savories + sweets/dessert
Full tea is traditionally served on a three tiered server in the following order:
Top Tier – Scones - Traditionally they were kept under a warming dome which only fit on the top tier.
Middle Tier – Savories
Bottom Tier - Sweets
High Tea – Also known as “meat tea”, is the traditional working class meal served at approximately 5PM. High tea was served at a “high” table which today is known as our dining room table. It was the “heavy” or main meal that the whole family ate together, known today as dinner + tea.
Life's toiling, the water's boiling, drink more tea!