It is said that tea to the English is like a picnic Indoors” and rightly so. However, it was not until the 1840s, that the more elaborate custom of taking “Afternoon tea” came into existence.
The duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell was among the first to begin the tradition of tea drinking and is often known as the grandmother of Afternoon tea. With an early breakfast and a late dinner, hunger pangs would start to overwhelm the duchess of Bedford and this is when she took to having a pot of tea together with some sandwiches and cake. Later, the duchess began inviting her friends to join her, which then went on to become a fashionable social event.
In the 80’s, the trend of afternoon tea caught on and became a fad where women would dress in long gowns, gloves and pretty hats to meet with their fellow high society friends over a cup of tea.
In England today, the tradition of afternoon tea still continues and is a more extravagant affair at upscale hotels, tea rooms, and neighborhood cafés and even in one’s own home. From short tea breaks with cookies to a more elaborate 3 course tea event consisting of a selection of mini sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries, afternoon tea will always be a true English tradition. Apart from the traditional afternoon tea the English consume large amounts of tea during the day, starting with a cup for breakfast, the 4pm tea cup and a last cup at night. This love for tea is not just unique to the English alone but has become quite a popular beverage around the globe.
With that said, it’s now time to enjoy a strong and piping hot Cuppa!