As the pace of society continues to hasten, it is rejuvenating to take a moment to slow down and enjoy the company of good friends.
At Hotel Granduca, afternoon tea is a cherished tradition where you can indulge in an elegant afternoon within the beautifully, intimate areas of the hotel. Whether you choose to savor your tea in the Conservatory, The Library or Ristorante Cavour, it will be an experience you won’t soon forget. In order to prepare you for afternoon tea, we wanted to share with you the history of tea and a short lesson in tea etiquette.
History of Afternoon Tea
During the 19th century it was common for people to only have two meals during the day, breakfast and dinner in the evening. It was the 1840s that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, began having a light snack and a pot of tea in the late afternoon to prevent the fatigue she was experiencing. Later she began inviting friends to join her for afternoon tea and soon other hostesses of the time followed suit. Before too long, it was fashionable to enjoy sandwiches and tea in the afternoon.*
What are the differences between Afternoon Tea, High Tea, Low Tea and Royal Tea?
Afternoon tea or “low tea” is the traditional tea served in the afternoon around 3pm to 5pm. It has been referred to as “low tea” based on the height of the table at which it was served. This usually consists of three courses to include small sandwiches, scones and sweet pastries.*
Royal Tea includes the same offerings as an Afternoon Tea with the additional of Champagne or Sherry.
Whereas Afternoon Tea or Low Tea was a tradition amongst the upper class, High Tea was enjoyed by the middle and lower classes. It derives the name from it being served on a dinner or kitchen table and includes a full, family-style meal. It was often served at 5pm or 6pm and replaced the late evening dinner.*
Afternoon Tea Etiquette 101
As Afternoon Tea is an uncommon and lovely experience in US society, we wanted to help guide our readers through the experience with a short lesson in tea etiquette:
- Only fill your cup ¾ full to avoid spills and allow room for milk if desired.
- Keep your cup near your saucer. If you are standing up, keep your saucer in your left hand while holding the cup by it’s handle in your right hand.
- Pour your tea in the cup first before adding lemon, sugar or milk so that you can judge the strength of the tea.
- Always stir gently and place your teaspoon behind your cup on the saucer.
- If you spill tea in your saucer, politely ask for a new saucer.
- Don’t add lemon and milk to your tea as it will curdle the milk
- Don’t swirl the teacup as if it were wine
- Don’t cradle the cup with your hands
- Don’t raise your pinky while drinking tea
- Don’t scrape the bottom of the cup and hit the sides while stirring
Now that you have had your tea etiquette lesson for today, are you ready for Afternoon Tea? Hotel Granduca in Houston, TX serves an exquisite tea menu including savory sandwiches, fresh scones and delectable pastries. We hope to see you at our afternoon tea soon! Call us at 713-418-1104 for reservations or more information.
*Source for Afternoon Tea History: http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/
*Source for Tea Etiquette: http://www.affluentmagazine.com/articles/article/340