As a youngster, visiting my grandma was always a treat. Usually coming for lunch we’d eat as much as we could, knowing that we would not get fed again until afternoon tea season which was strict 3.30pm. That is a long time to wait for a young child! Nevertheless, it was well worth the wait (as grandma well understood). Tea was brought into the living room and served on a low table. Plates of scones with jam and whipped cream, cupcakes and cookies were all set out. She’d worked hard! It was all properly done using a full tea service set. This is where my love for teacups and teapots started. It was intriguing to see grandma’s variety of teacups and teapots and the beautiful florals that adorned them.
This experience of afternoon tea is interchangeable with ‘low tea’. ‘Low’ speaking about the fact it was served on a low table and at early to mid-afternoon. The origin of nontea in England is attributed to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 1800’s. It was common for the upper classes to float late in the night around 8 pm, so it was a long time in the midday meal until then. Anna, experiencing that ‘sinking feeling’ which comes from mid-afternoon hunger, decided to be served with a mild bite to take her through the day. Not wanting to spend this time alone, she immediately invited friends to join her and so began the tradition of afternoon tea. When she transferred to London she continued the practice and the tendency soon caught on. Tea was served at approximately 4 pm, only prior to the trendy Hyde Park promenade, which left it an exceptionally social occasion.
The term ‘high tea’ has some ambiguity attached to it. Originally it was the tea time obtained later in the afternoon by the working class upon the coming home from work, at approximately 5-6pm, since they didn’t have the luxury to cease in mid-afternoon. Virtually a major meal, it was the equal to what many people would term ‘dinner’ and contained vegetables and meat. In modern times Sunshine Coast hight tea has become synonymous with afternoon tea, with the word ‘high’ being correlated with high or gracious tradition and society. With largely indulgent fare such as cakes, scones, little sandwiches and the like served with fragile teaware, it’s considered to be a bit of a luxury to stop, sit and sip and take in light conversation.
Whatever way you look at it, high or low tea, let’s just settle for afternoon tea, shall we? It’s a great excuse to use that stunning new tea service collection and get together with friends. That’s the fantastic thing about day tea, isn’t it, the time it takes to brew the tea and sip it out of fragile teacups is that the time we will need to invest in friendships and create memories.
The combination of time and tea has a calming and civilizing effect on us and has led to the better of our sensibilities and progress of culture. So long as tea is around, we’ll take some time. Time to sup, time to converse and time to sooth.
Afternoon tea with family and friends is just not ‘afternoon tea’ without beautiful china. Whether its the charm of mismatched teacups or the attractiveness of a complete bone china tea service collection, you are able to accomplish either together with our collection of china teaware. Visit Tea Time Traditions to discover precisely what you’re waiting for your own tea party.