Afternoon Tea was first enjoyed in Britain. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal.
Afternoon Tea was first enjoyed by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who, at the time was a close friend of Queen Victoria and a prominent figure within London society who complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon. She wanted something small to satisfy her hunger, nothing too large just something to see her through till dinner time.
During the 1880s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.
The afternoon tea tradition was born inside the houses of the rich and fortunate but once summer came around they wanted to take this fabulous time of day outside into their beautiful gardens.
When the ladies took the afternoon tea ritual outside it encouraged the lords and men of the house to take part in the activity.
By the 1920s, Afternoon Teas went from being a few snacks with a “cuppa” served on a fancy tea tray, to massive, highly-fashionable social events hosted by England’s elite and upper-class societies. Afternoon Tea doesn’t have a specific set of menu items, although it usually consists of dainty sandwiches and a variety of sweet items like scones and clotted cream, home-made cakes, pastries. Accompanied by a range of high quality flavourful teas.
When it comes to baked goods, few issues carry the contentions of the great scone debate: should the cream or the jam be spread first? The arguments surrounding the order of spreading the scone’s traditional toppings have always been a matter of debate.
Traditionally, the Cornish method is to split the scone in two, spread the jam and then add a spoonful of clotted cream. This method is commonly used in London, which would explain why it’s followed in Buckingham Palace. In contrast, the Devonshire method is to split the scone in two, but cover each half with clotted cream then jam. The Devonshire method is commonly used in neighbouring counties.
Whether you do it the Cornish way or prefer the Devon method, one thing that we can all agree on is which tea to brew when enjoying Afternoon Tea.
The perfect tea to accompany the foods of Afternoon Tea, was first made on the rolling hills of Ceylon’s Uva province. This is where our hand-picked Planters Afternoon Tea is grown. The tea has a light crisp cup that has an unmistakable floral finish. That takes well with milk or can be drunk plain.