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High Tea vs. Afternoon Tea: What’s the difference?

May 17, 2019

High Tea

The British tradition of High Tea began in the mid 1700s as an afternoon meal usually served in the late evening. Initially, it was a meal for the working class that came home, taken standing up or sitting on very tall stools, thus the term ‘high’. Instead of small finger sandwiches, a high tea menu consisted of meat dishes, potatoes, baked beans, and other heavy dishes. It was meant to nourish after a long day at work. Contrary to today’s beliefs, it definitely was not about living the life of luxury.

It was around this time that one John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, had the idea of placing meat and other fillings between two slices of bread. Thus, the High Tea sandwich was created.

Courtesy of the British Empire, the tradition of High Tea spread across the globe, arriving at The Carrington Hotel in the mid 1880’s, where it has remained a popular event ever since.

Afternoon Tea

The concept of afternoon tea started in England in the 1840’s when The Duchess of Bedford wanted a small bite between lunch and dinner.It started out as just tea and a small snack. However, the duchess started inviting her close friends over and over again. It didn’t take long before it became a social gathering for the wealthy social class.

Afternoon tea can at times be referred to as, ‘low tea’ since they were enjoyed on low tables with comfortable chairs and sofas in the drawing room.

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