Now a days and in many places "a tea" varies in time of day, who and why you have a tea and types of food you eat with tea. Here are a few things I came across about more traditional teas.
Afternoon tea (because it was usually taken in the late afternoon) is also called "low tea" because it was usually taken in a sitting room or withdrawing room where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs generally in a large withdrawing room. There are three basic types of Afternoon, or Low Tea:
And just to be sure we're all on the same page (and for those of you in the South that aren't as familiar) we're talking about hot tea, not the Southern tradition of cold sweet tea (which is also very good!).
Cream Tea - Tea, scones, jam and cream
Light Tea - Tea, scones and sweets
Full Tea - Tea, savories, scones, sweets and dessert
In England, the traditional time for tea was four or five o'clock and no one stayed after seven o'clock. Most tea rooms today serve tea from three to five o'clock. The menu has also changed from tea, bread, butter and cakes, to include three particular courses served specifically in this order:
Savories - Tiny sandwiches or appetizers
Scones - Served with jam and Devonshire or clotted cream
Pastries - Cakes, cookies, shortbread and sweets
Yesterday morning I had the privilege of attending a lovely tea. The tea was hosted by my dear friend Leslie and another wonderful lady, Suzanne. We had tea in the morning with the foods that you would expect to accompany a full tea (see above) . We all felt like we should be sitting around with our pinky fingers up and using a British accent!
We had a great time as well as some excellent tea, yummy goodies, delicious finger sandwiches, and a great time of chatting and fellowship! I got to see and spend time with some ladies I don't get to see very often! It was a very nice way to start the morning!
I have to say this is the first tea I've been too. I have many family members that have been to tea rooms and gone to and hosted teas, but this is the first I've been able to attend. It was lovely and I'm looking forward to the next time I can attend one (even if they don't serve coffee!)