The history of Afternoon Tea

The history of Afternoon Tea

Before the 19th century tea was taken as a digestive drink at any time of the day. Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is responsible for the “ritual” of the afternoon tea at the beginning of the 19th century.

The story goes as follows:

At the time it was usual for people to take only 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner at around 8 o’clock in the evening. The solution for the Duchess was a pot of tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon. Very soon the Duchess was inviting her aristocratic friends to join her for afternoon tea, at 4 o’clock. Only the best porcelain, fine linen table cloths were used, accompanied by dainty sandwiches and delicate cakes.

Everyone dressed in their best fashions and spend the afternoon discussing the latest news about London and afar. Between 1830 and 1900 afternoon tea developed as an accepted part of British life style.

Oh, the golfer may be golfing
And is just about the make a hole-in-three
But it always gets them sore when the clock yells “four!”
Everything stops for tea
It’s a very good English custom
And a stimulant for the brain
When you feel a little weary, a cup’ll make you cheery
And it’s cheaper then champagne
Now I know just why Frank Schubert
Didn’t finish his unfinished symphony
He might have written more but the clock struck four
And everything stops for tea

Jack Buchanan
Featured in Buchanan’s 1953 comedy film “Come out of the Pantry”

In 1706 Thomas Twining set up as a tea merchant at 216 Strand, London. The firm has traded continuously ever since from the same address, an amazing and unique record. Now, as then, Twinings teas give the world Unequalled pleasure and satisfaction. As expert blenders for over 300 years, Twinings has sought out some of the most exclusive and rare teas and infusions to delight your senses. Let us take you on a virtual journey through the world of tea, bringing you tea tastes and rituals from far-flung locales, served in a way to highlight the beauty and culture of each particular tea ceremony.

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