A Very English Afternoon Tea

Having afternoon Tea is a very popular pastime in England however recently it’s popularity has been on the increase worldwide, it has become a very fashionable pastime. It can often be found on the inflight menus of our corporate jets and is a firm favourite among some of our onboard guests, but what do we know about afternoon tea and its origins?


Afternoon tea can be found in the most boutique of teashops and restaurants, to the some of the most luxurious hotels around the world. The Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong has partnered with none other than the iconic brand Jimmy Choo, diners are delighted by the miniature servings of Jimmy Choo shoe and handbag pastries and snacks. Not to be out done, one of the most luxurious afternoon teas is served in England at the Clivedon Hotel in Berkshire. This, however is no ordinary afternoon tea, costing around $900.00 USD/ £550.00 GBP, per couple. Diners are treated to white truffles, beluga caviar alongside a selection of snacks, savory’s and can expect to be offered a selection of premium teas including the exclusive Hong Pao Te.

Origins of Afternoon Tea

During the early nineteenth century drinking tea in England had become a very popular social pastime with the elite and wealthy. The 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” later in the afternoon”. At that time most people used to eat only two main meals a day, breakfast, and dinner later in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was to have a pot of tea and a light snack prepared, which would be served to her in her quarters during the afternoon. Friends were invited to join her, this became so popular before long all of fashionable society followed and it came to be known as afternoon tea.


There are no set rules about the content of a traditional Afternoon Tea menu, but it usually consists of sandwiches and a variety of sweet items.

Traditional Afternoon Tea Menu

Afternoon tea is normally served on a stand and can include:

A selection of freshly prepared finger sandwiches and savouries – at the bottom
Warm scones with clotted cream and preserves – middle
A variety of home made cakes and pastries – top
A range of teas

What types of sandwiches are served with Afternoon Tea?

There are a classic selection of sandwiches served with Afternoon Tea, however these are not to everybody’s taste and may be changed accordingly.

The Classic Selection:

Egg mayonnaise with cress
Smoked salmon with cream cheese
Coronation chicken
Ham and mustard.

What types of tea are served?

The range of teas on offer can vary, however some common varieties served include:

Earl Grey
Lapsang Souchong

What is the difference between a Cream Tea and Champagne Tea?

A cream Team consists of cream scones, pastries and tea, however the savories are omitted.

Champagne Tea is very modern concept; many establishments offer a glass of champagne to accompany the afternoon tea.

Finally enjoy!

photo credit: Afternoon Tea via photopin (license)

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/21065622@N08/3530871146″>Ritz-Carlton Guangzhou: Club lounge aftrenoon tea</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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