Why Do We Drink Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or get together with friends. It’s the perfect excuse to pull out the fine china and but have you ever thought about why we actually drink afternoon tea?

Here’s a few thoughts we had that we thought you might find interesting as well.

When Did Afternoon Tea Start?

Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford created the idea of afternoon tea in the 1840’s.

Back then, it was custom for the upper class to have two meals per day — breakfast and then dinner was at 8 pm sharp.

The Duchess talked about how hunger pangs would hit her in the afternoon so she started drinking a pot of tea and having a small snack to get her through until dinner.

It wasn’t long before her friends started joining her and from that, it became wildly acceptable. Instead of hiding out in a bedroom to drink and eat, the practice of afternoon tea was moved to the drawing-room.

What do you have at afternoon tea?

Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones served with clotted cream and preserves.

You may also find little cakes and pastries served at afternoon tea as well. Nowadays, however, most people eat little biscuits or small tea sandwiches or small cakes with a mug of tea that they made using a supermarket store tea bag!

Don’t do that to yourself. If you are going to practice afternoon tea, go all out and get a Blue Tea Box and make delicious single origin tea instead.

Serve traditional tea during afternoon tea

Traditional tea is made using a pot of leaf tea plus another pot of hot water; milk and sugar; cups, saucers, teaspoons and, usually, a tea strainer.

The more authentic your tea is, the better flavor you will have.

What can you add to afternoon tea?

Most of the time, milk and sugar are the two main components that go perfect with afternoon tea.

It is essential to remember that milk is added after the tea has been poured, never before. Milk is added to black tea, such Assam, but Lapsang Souchong is usually enjoyed with a slice of lemon.

Sugar is added last, after the milk, and then you can stir it all together for a most delicious afternoon drink!

What foods can I enjoy during afternoon tea?

There are many kinds of treats you can enjoy during afternoon tea. Here are just a few of our favourites.

  • Fancy Chocolate Biscuits
  • Tiny eclairs
  • Mini Cucumber sandwiches
  • Honey and Orange Madelines
  • Sausage rolls
  • Mini custard cream cookies
  • Frosted Cupcakes
  • Sponge cake
  • Tea Biscuits with preserves
  • Bundt Cake
  • Strawberry tart
  • Scones
  • Biscotti

What tea should I use with the food I am eating?

Teas such as Ceylon and Darjeeling, which have smooth and citrusy notes, perfectly enhance sweet desserts like cheesecake.

Green tea has a subtle vegetative flavour to it, making it the perfect companion to more mild foods.


If you want to enjoy afternoon tea in between your meals, we hope these tips will help you put together your favorite foods and pair them perfectly with your favorite teas from Blue Tea Box.


Join the thousands worldwide in our Tea Lovers Club who receive our best discounts, new videos, Tea tips, and recipe ideas every week