Plump cushions, dainty tea trays full of all manner of treats and, of course, superbly hot, strong tea … what’s not to adore? If you don’t already have teatime in your residence, this daily heritage is well worth adopting. From the poshest tea service to reassuring tea and toast in bed, here are a bevy of thoughts for embracing this age-old ritual.
A Very Short History of Teatime
Though tea (the beverage) is enjoyed all around the world, and carries with it several different customs, the particular heritage of tea (the meal) has its origins in England in the mid-1800s. A couple of variations on the teatime ritual include afternoon tea, cream tea and high tea.
Afternoon teais the most formal tea. In the States, we mistakenly call it high tea, when in fact that’s a much more casual affair. Afternoon tea is served between 6 and 4 p.m. and typically contains fancy tea sandwiches, small cakes, scones, pastries, perhaps crumpets, and spicy tea — this is the event to bring out Grandma’s china and the silver wedding service.
Cream tea is a much simpler variant on afternoon tea, typically enjoyed in countryside tearooms and in home. Like afternoon tea, cream tea is served between 6 and 4 p.m.. It generally contains hot tea, scones, clotted cream and jam.
High tea is your heartiest and least formal tea, taking the place of an ancient dinner. High tea is usually served in home between 7 and 5 p.m., and might include a main dish, bread and butter, cake and hot tea.
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A proper afternoon tea. If you would like to re-create that luxury tea-shop experience in your home, begin with preparing your space. Try pulling a small table up to a sunny window and then tucking a few seats around it to get comfy seating.
If you would like to decorate a space exclusively for the purpose of enjoying afternoon tea, you can’t fail with De Gournay wallpaper along with a matched pair of elegant settees, as exhibited here.
What and how to pour. The one constant for teatime is that the tea itself, which should be served warm and freshly brewed, using a small pitcher of milk and a bowl of sugar on the side, also lemon for people who prefer their tea straight.
Preheating your teapot can help keep the tea warm as long as you can. To do so, fill the kettle with hot water from the tap as you are waiting for the kettle to boil. After the kettle is ready, pour the warm water out of your teapot, put in your tea (1 tbsp of loose tea per cup, plus one “for the pot”) and then pour in the warm water.
When your tea has brewed, put a strainer over your cup and then pour through the tea. Whether to add milk before or after the tea is a hotly debated issue!
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Things to nibble. If you enjoy baking and love tea, it would serve you well to find out a fantastic basic scone recipe. Scones are quick to prepare and certainly the best when pulled hot from the oven.
For those of us in the States, it may be hard to come across the clotted cream that’s traditionally slathered over warm scones. You may create your own or just use decent butter.
For those folks that are not bakers, fresh scones from a neighborhood bakery and a couple of homemade tea sandwiches are a close second to from-scratch teatime treats. Obviously, you may also create teatime your own by introducing your favorite treats.
Tea in bed. Stuck at home with the sniffles? Repair to the bed with a big mug of hot tea with lemon and honey, and a plateful of toast.
Place the pot in reach on your nightstand and lie back on a gigantic mountain of cushions. Put on a favourite podcast or radio show to zone out to.
Refill your cup needed; be worried about crumbs later.
Tea split for you personally. Take a break from weekend home chores to enjoy a cup of tea on your own patio or porch. Taking an extra minute to snip a bloom from the flower pot, place it in a bud vase and then carry the entire affair out on a tray will probably allow it to be extra special.
And nobody will tell if you decide what you really want is brewed green tea and cookies.
Little Red House
Cozy tea and a publication. Cream tea in the living area could be even better when accompanied by a roaring fire and a fantastic book. Pile a platter high with fresh scones (home made or store bought and warmed) and jam, and a pot of your favourite brew. Snuggle up under a warm throw and put on a little soft music.
Breakfast tea. Enjoy your first cup of the day at a joyous breakfast corner, followed by soft-boiled eggs and toast soldiers. If you’ve got a hand-knit teapot cozy or cute little egg cups, now would be the opportunity to use them.
Mary Prince Photography
Holiday tea. Less stressful compared to a full size dinner party, and not as rowdy than the usual cocktail party, the vacation tea is a complex alternative. Think about planning yours now, to provide friends and family ample time to pencil it in on their busy vacation calendars. On party day set up big trays and tiered cake stands full of small savories and sweets, and extend tea plus maybe some hot cider or wassail.
Teatime around the world. Both the British and Irish customs are only the tip of the iceberg in regards to teatime. Tea is steeped (sorry, couldn’t help it) in ritual throughout the world, from Japan to Indonesia, Morocco and outside. If a proper afternoon tea with crumpets and jam isn’t your style, maybe sipping green tea from a floor-cushion perch in your backyard teahouse will suit you. Or perhaps you would prefer a refreshing mint tisane served in tiny glasses while lounging Moroccan-style. There really is a teatime ritual for everybody; you only have to find yours.
Inform us : Can you have a favourite teatime ritual? Please discuss details in the Remarks!
Next: View a tea service–inspired miniature home