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Archives for posts tagged ‘high tea’

Bigelow Toasts To Afternoon Teatime Traditions

bigelow-tea-teatimeOn a historical tea note, many Bigelow Tea drinkers may think of afternoon teatime as a British tradition (even though the post-lunch, pre-dinner cup and nibble has roots across numerous cultures as noted in Forbes recently). Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is the woman to thank for the traditional English teatime as we know it. In 1840, Anna started partaking in the light meal to help stave off afternoon hunger pangs in between lunch and the typically late dinner hour of the time.

Today, the quintessential afternoon tea is a common tradition in countries that were once British colonies, such as Malaysia. While the English may serve their tea with small bites and savory treats, Malaysians, for example, enjoy delicacies such as yam cake or prawn fritters with their steaming cup which also sounds delicious!

Another fact that tea neophytes may also be interested to learn is that afternoon tea and high tea were not one and the same. While afternoon tea was a ritual for the upper classes, high tea was viewed as a filling meal of heavier foods that was strictly a working class affair.

And finally, did you know that the Japanese have enjoyed tea time even longer than the British? The culture has observed a very strict ceremony surrounding the making, serving, and drinking of tea. This ceremony dates back over a thousand years, and involves specific guidelines that make the serving of tea a beautiful art form, complete with designated wardrobe items, surrounding décor, and foods.

Of course, we always find the practice of drinking tea to be a time honored tradition to share with family and friends. Tell us- do you have any tea drinking rituals, such as a special treat or favorite flavor you can share with us?

High Time for Tea Time in America

The famed English East India Company formally introduced tea to Great Britain in the 1600s. In due course, tea’s popularity and increased consumption swept across England, and by 1700 tea was available in over 500 London tea houses.

The development of Afternoon Tea or High Tea didn’t develop until roughly the mid 19th Century, and has been a much-loved tradition in England for over 150 years. In the USA, Tea Time is the fastest growing segment of a robust tea market that has tripled in the last 16 years to over six billion dollars annually.


It’s always Tea Time at Bigelow Tea!

”High Tea” is often a misnomer. Some people may refer to “afternoon tea” as “high tea” as it sounds so regal!  But in Great Britain high tea (also: “meat tea”) is dinner. American hotels and tea rooms have developed a hybrid of the High Tea tradition, calling it…

  • Afternoon Tea
  • Light Tea
  • Low Tea
  • Full Tea
  • High Tea

Warming and flavorful tea is the constant, regardless of the name. Some of the finest Tea Rooms serve afternoon tea 365 days a year, and offer excellent menu options too. Afternoon Tea is as popular as ever and you can find many versions with special themes, like “A Victorian Christmas”, or “A Jane Austen Tea”, or “A Nutcracker Suite Tea” featuring varying levels of service and participation. And not to forget Presidential Teas and Celebrity Teas!

To help with your tea time search there are several Tea Societies — such as the Victorian Tea Society — that regularly propagates the tradition of tea time. However you finally enjoy your tea time – in full regalia with formal setting and time honored ritual, or casually on the back deck with a mug, it’s always high time for tea time.