Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the World, in fact in the list of most consumable beverages it comes second, after water. It is imbedded in the culture of several Countries and consumed according to a vast number of different customs. I look forward to reviewing all of them, but this time it is the British afternoon tea. There is something so posh in the act of drinking tea. Especially when served in a porcelain teacup and saucer… I always admired the portrayal of upper-class ladies holding the saucer and sipping the tea over it. There is something so elegant about the act itself it almost makes one want to repeat it with little thought to whether one enjoys tea at all. I do.
I enjoy tea so much so, that the concept of drinking tea becoming an entire event is definitely up my street. I just love the afternoon tea service at the Dorchester Hotel promenade. The entire experience is so inspiring, it almost makes you want to dress for it, even though the affair itself is casual. The massive tea menu, the tiers of finger sandwiches and pastries, the freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam. Oh my! And of course, the champagne. It really feels like a royal experience. Which begs the question, is it? What is the origin of this beautiful, regal tradition? It must have been around since the dawn of time – the image that comes to mind is dukes and duchesses enjoying their tea in porcelains sets or holding a cucumber finger sandwich in one hand and a rose champagne in a crystal coupe in the other. I wonder if this depiction is reminiscent of the reality.
Tea is a form of a light meal or in other words a snack between lunch and dinner. The word is widely used in Britain as a reference to the meal as opposed to the hot beverage in question. The commercialized custom of serving ‘high tea’ including champagne and scones is reserved for the establishments and is not in fact a tradition that follows Britons home – when serving tea there are no rules or guidelines to the food in fact. The afternoon tea as we know it today originated in Europe in the 1800’s, and was a practice followed by the upper classes, as in order to serve such an opulent snack, one must have disposable income. Nothing has changed in that regard if we are being honest.
The social call that is known as afternoon tea in modern society is a dignified affair and one of my favorite pass times. So much so that I have invited Tatyana Polyakova, a famous etiquette connoisseur and devoted tea drinker to shed some light on the subject and educate myself and my readers on ‘Afternoon tea’. Tatyana being an expert on etiquette in all aspects of our lives, has vast knowledge in porcelain, crystal, business etiquette and tea, among many other subjects regarding manners and propriety. She refers to herself as Tatyana Polyakova Etiquette, and with good reason – just her presence oozes etiquette. One of the famous quotes by Tatyana which is also a personal favorite, is : “In order to break the rules, you must know them”, which couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to manners and social norms. Tea is a subject Tatyana addresses regularly on her YOUTUBE channel, which is why I could not think of anyone better to consult Lifestylepop and our readers on the history and practices of the ‘British Afternoon Tea’. Subscribe to Lifestylepop youtube channel for ‘Afternoon Tea with Tatyana Polyakova’.