Just a reminder! This Saturday, April 25th, I will be having a Tea Love talk at the Ringwood Public Library, 30 Cannici Drive, Ringwood, New Jersey 07456. The event will be held 2:00 – 4:00. Tickets for members of Friends of the Library costs $20, while non-members pay $25. All funds will benefit the Ringwood Public Library. If you want to come, make sure you register with Elise Bedder at (973) 962-6256 Ext. 15, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come out, have a good time, and drink some tea! Clara, my tea supplier, just dropped off the tea last night and it all looks and smells delicious :-)
For this Tea Love talk, I am going to be focusing on afternoon teas. But what exactly is an afternoon tea? How did it come about? Why is it called afternoon tea? And why are people so obsessed with them?
Well, first, let’s clear something up. Many people confuse afternoon tea with another popular term, high tea. High teas are in fact the tea that is a bit less regal. That one is more of a dinner tea. This is a common mistake outside of the UK, being that high tea sounds, well, higher than the afternoon tea (fun fact, high tea is also called “meat tea”, while afternoon tea is also called “low tea”, referring to the low furniture that you typically use for the ceremony. Maybe that will help you distinguish the two?).
Afternoon teas are historically a ladies’ social, more often being enjoyed by women than men. It started when the Duchess of Bedford became peckish one evening between meals. Instead of waiting for her dinner like others did (and quite frankly, being that the only meals eaten at the time were breakfast and dinner at 8:00 or 9:00 due to the new invention of kerosene lamps making late dinners possible and popular, I can’t quite blame her), she decided to have tea and a snack beforehand.
Soon, she decided to invite her friends to come with her to drink tea. This evolved to regular parties to walk through the gardens, drink tea, and snack. When Queen Victoria picked up the custom, though, the afternoon tea concept went viral!
Popular culture depicts the afternoon tea constantly in British TV. Elegant, graceful, proper, it seems that people became enamored with the old-world charm that is involved in having a cup of tea with family and friends. Everyone from Downton Abbey to Keeping Up Appearances show the afternoon tea as indicating the person throwing the party is wise, beautiful, and probably wealthy.
I know personally, give me a cup of tea with good friends, some drinking out of mugs, others out of cups, some lazing around on the couch while others sit upright in a chair, and I am happy.
Make sure you come to the Tea Love talk to learn more about the afternoon tea!