Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition that is loved by many. What supposedly started in the 1700s as a way for workers to have a late-afternoon snack turned into a trendy social gathering that is shared with friends and family all across England.
If you’ve always wanted to try afternoon tea but never had a chance or are an afternoon tea lover and would like to host a lovely tea party to celebrate a special occasion, we have put together some tips and tricks on how to host an afternoon tea party at home.
For extra advice, we have partnered up with Pantry House, online fine food store, who sell anything and everything you need for a delicious and unforgettable afternoon tea party. Pantry House is a family-run business that is dedicated to sourcing and delivering artisan foods that you won’t find at your local supermarket.
Types of afternoon tea
Before you start sending out invites about your upcoming afternoon tea party, there are a few things to think about. One of them is the type of afternoon tea you’d like to host. Yes, there is more than one way to host afternoon tea. As this article on The Pioneer Woman mentions, there are five types of afternoon tea, including cream tea, strawberry tea, light tea, full tea and royal tea.
Cream tea: Cream tea is the simplest form of afternoon tea which consists of scones, clotted tea, cream and a fruity jam, most likely strawberry jam or raspberry jam.
Strawberry tea: If strawberries are in season, these can be added to your cream tea menu, creating strawberry tea.
Light tea: Similar to cream tea but with a few more nibbles. Add one or two savoury or sweet choices to create a light tea menu.
Full tea: A full set of finger sandwiches, other savoury treats, desserts, scones with cream and jam, and tea displayed on a beautiful three-tiered stand.
Royal tea: Also known as champagne afternoon tea, royal tea is afternoon tea served with a glass of champagne – the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion!
Loose tea or teabags?
Choosing the right tea is essential for an afternoon tea party, of course. However, choosing between loose tea or teabags is up to you. Don’t stick to just one type of tea and, instead, serve a variety of teas so your guests can try some new flavours. Pantry House has a variety of teas, from traditional teas to more exotic tea flavours that would be a hit at your afternoon tea party.
This article on the Spruce recommends brewing and serving a proper pot of tea accompanied with “cream, sugar, and lemon slices to accommodate the varied tastes of your guests.” Also, it’s important to have some dairy-free milk options to suit all your guests’ diet requirements.
Do as much as you can in advance
The real trick to make sure any afternoon tea party or any party, in general, to go as smoothly as possible – to do as much as you can in advance. You don’t want to be rushing around trying to get everything you done on the day, save yourself a headache and prepare some of the food beforehand.
As this article on the Washington Post mentions, a lot of “desserts (brownies, meringues, even layer cakes and cupcakes) can survive just fine made at least a day ahead of time, or frozen for longer. Scones are best served freshly baked, but feel free to stash unbaked dough rounds in the refrigerator or freezer.