The history of afternoon tea
Tea Time and more precisely Afternoon Tea is an English tradition that goes back a long way… Here is its history !
The arrival of tea in England took place in a particular context: the fashion was then for coffee-houses, which were developing more and more and were becoming increasingly successful. At the same time, Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese infanta and young wife of the King of England, brought Bombay as a dowry, and her habit of drinking tea at all hours of the day.
From then on, tea became a real craze in the whole country. Appreciated at court, it soon conquered all the strata of the population, and quickly became a huge popular success.
Today, tea is a pillar of British society. The English drink it throughout the day. They start with Early Morning Tea, often taken while still in bed with dry cookies. Then, they continue with Breakfast Tea, which accompanies a hearty breakfast. They serve themselves a cup at 11 o’clock, which allows them to last until the classic Five o’clock Tea. Finally, a last tea is often drunk in the evening, before bedtime.
Five o’clock Tea is a real ritual in Great Britain. It’s a custom that would have been established in the 19th century by the seventh Duchess of Bedford. At that time, people had an early lunch and ate a late dinner. The Duchess had taken the habit of having a cup of tea and a snack between three and four in the afternoon.
She gradually began to invite her friends to share this moment and thus started a fashion which was quickly and considerably successful.
What about tea time today ?
Today, as in the previous century, we receive family and friends to drink tea. To prevent the desires of everyone, British people never forgot to milk, sugar and lemon in the table.
You want to discover more about a special tea, click here to read our article about matcha tea!