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How to Host the Perfect Afternoon Tea with Friends

Are you looking to gather your friends for a delightful afternoon filled with tasty treats and laughter? Hosting an afternoon tea is a charming way to spend quality time with friends and family. From delicious cakes to steaming cups of tea, here is your guide to hosting the perfect afternoon tea with all the essential elements to make it memorable.

The History of Afternoon Tea

The tradition of afternoon tea dates back to the early 19th century in Britain.  Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, initiated the practice to combat the hungry feeling she experienced during the late afternoon. Soon, it became fashionable among the aristocracy and later spread to other social classes. Today, afternoon tea is not just a British tradition but is enjoyed by people worldwide as a delightful way to relax and socialise.

What To Serve As Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition that has evolved into a beloved social ritual around the world. It typically consists of a light meal served in the late afternoon, bridging the gap between lunch and dinner. The menu typically includes a selection of delicate sandwiches, fluffy scones and an assortment of sweet pastries and cakes. 

Traditional sandwiches often feature classic fillings such as cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise with cress. Scones, a cornerstone of afternoon tea, are served warm with clotted cream and jam. As for cakes and pastries, expect to indulge in delights like Victoria sponge cake, lemon drizzle cake and delicate pastries like eclairs and macarons. To accompany these treats, a pot of freshly brewed tea is a must, often served alongside milk, sugar, and perhaps a slice of lemon for those who prefer it.

Lemon Drizzle Cake For Afternoon Tea

What Is The Difference Between Afternoon Tea And High Tea?

The main difference between afternoon tea and high tea lies in their origins and what they offer. Afternoon tea, also known as “low tea,” started as a fancy snack for the upper class in Britain during the 19th century. It is a light affair served on low tables, usually between 3 pm and 5 pm, featuring dainty sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats. 

On the other hand, high tea, also known as “meat tea” or “full tea,” was more of a hearty meal for the working class. It was typically served later in the day, around 5 pm to 7 pm, served on higher tables, hence the name “high tea.” High tea includes more substantial fare like meat pies, quiches and other savoury dishes, along with tea of course. So, while afternoon tea is a leisurely and elegant affair, high tea is more like a substantial dinner with tea on the side.

The Stage For The Afternoon Tea: A Dining Table Set

Firstly, to create the perfect stage for your afternoon tea gathering, start with the right setting. Investing in a dining table is a great way to host countless dinner parties, afternoon teas and friendly gatherings. A durable wooden dining table for instance provides a rustic backdrop that will last for years to come. It will also look great with a spread of all of your cakes and pastries laid upon it. Pair your dining table with enough seating for all your guests and add some decorative charm for the perfect set up. Lay the table with a hessian table runner, a centrepiece floral arrangement and some vintage-inspired tableware for the perfect countryside afternoon tea theme.

Silver Mushroom Label Hans Recycled Elm Bench

Personal Touches: Make Your Own Cakes

For an extra special touch, consider baking your own cakes and pastries for your afternoon tea. There is something truly special about homemade treats that shop bought goodies just can not match. When in the kitchen baking, these Mason Cash Set of 4 Cane Mixing Bowls will become your best friend. Not only do they look great, but they also make the baking process a breeze. Furthermore, they also double up as charming serving bowls for your treats. Whether you choose to make classic scones or indulgent cupcakes, let your creativity shine in the kitchen as you whip up a delicious assortment of homemade goodies.

Once you have created your beautiful bakes and cakes for the afternoon tea, you must present them in the right way. Presentation is key when it comes to serving your cakes. It is all about creating that wow factor when your guests lay eyes on your afternoon tea spread. Choose to display your cakes in a cake stand and dome. Using a wooden cake stand means that your cakes will be on the centre stage, will be kept fresh and will be easily accessible throughout your tea party.

Preparing and Serving Drinks

No afternoon tea is complete without a selection of hot beverages to accompany your sweet treats. Store your tea, coffee and sugar in style with the Silver Mushroom Label Tea, Coffee, and Sugar Jar Set. Not only does this cute set add a charming farmhouse touch to your kitchen, but it also keeps your tea and coffee essentials organised. 

When hosting afternoon tea, it is best practice to serve your guest’s tea in a stylish teapot. Not only does this provide a sense of refinement and class to the occasion but it is also the traditional way to serve tea. Guests can also help themselves to more whenever they like. 

Of course, when serving tea and coffee, everyone needs something to drink from. Once the tea and coffee are brewed and ready to drink, pair your drinks with a variety of mugs to suit different beverages. You can choose from classic ceramic mugs, or even the dainty cup and saucer. Its elegant design and charming appeal make it a delightful addition to any tea party. With its gentle curves and refined details, it adds a touch of Nordic sophistication to your afternoon affair.

tea, coffee and sugar set

How To Host Afternoon Tea?

Hosting the perfect afternoon tea with friends is all about creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Where delicious treats and good company take centre stage. Firstly, create your afternoon tea set up with a beautifully decorated dining table and then get to baking homemade goodies. Secondly, serve your bakes on a wooden cake stand and serve your drinks in lovely ceramic mugs. Every detail will contribute to a memorable gathering.

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