It’s a great pub quiz question isn’t it? What’s the difference between afternoon tea and high tea? We should spot check our customers before they buy their tea to test their knowledge. Well, there is a clear difference and it’s got more to do with ladies of leisure and working hours than the tea leaves themselves.
Afternoon tea was originally served in, well, the afternoon! No surprises there. Phew! And high tea? What time was that served? Rather unhelpfully, in the afternoon too! Afternoon tea was enjoyed by ladies of leisure i.e. royals like Anna the Duchess of Bedford, and she would have had her tea served at four o’clock on the dot perhaps on a low table on the terrace or in the garden with one or two choice friends for company.
For the rest of us, we would have been at work and couldn’t have had our tea at four like the Duchess, oh no, we would have had to wait until the whistle blew and we got home. Then we would have had a nice cuppa at a much “higher” table in our kitchen or front room along with our food (which is why we now sometimes call tea, tea instead of supper or dinner).
Phew! I’m glad we got that cleared up. It’s time for a brew!