While some people believe that high tea and afternoon tea are referring to the same thing, these two terms actually have different meanings, and here we’ll explain the key differences.
Nevertheless, both terms are part of the English tradition and if you want to learn more about them, you should figure out the correct use of terms.
What is High Tea?
High tea refers to a late afternoon or 5 pm meal and it started in the 19th century. It was most popular among working-class people who worked all day and then enjoy a caloric meal accompanied by tea.
It is called high because it was served at a high table surrounded by high-back support chairs. The meal was mostly containing fish or meat and vegetables, and bread.
Nowadays, high tea is mostly known as supper time, however, there are still people who prefer to call it the traditional way.
What is Afternoon Tea?
Afternoon tea is a centuries-old tradition of serving tea with light food, such as sandwiches, pastries, or scones.
It’s a widely accepted British culture, representing a tradition of practicing a tea ritual on a daily basis.
Afternoon tea is much more than having tea with a friend, a colleague, or a family member.
It’s about taking a break from daily tasks and having a moment of peace and tranquility while enjoying the exquisite flavors of organic tea blends and delicious pastries.
Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea – What Are The Main Differences?
Both high tea and afternoon tea are in the afternoon, but high tea is served at 4 pm while afternoon tea is served between 5 and 7 pm, depending on when the people are having their supper.
Another key difference is that afternoon tea originates from the upper class and represents (much more in the past) a formal gathering, while afternoon tea is a common meal for when people come back from work.
Furthermore, the food being served is also quite different.
While during afternoon tea you can eat scones, small sandwiches, or cakes, the high tea routine is known for fish or meat meals with potatoes, vegetables, or bread alongside a cup of tea.
One more difference between these two traditions is that afternoon tea was also known as a “low tea” in the past as it was mostly served on a low table, and we can say that many have this practice today.
All in all, we can conclude that high tea refers to a regular supper originating in the working class, while afternoon tea is more of a leisure moment and a time for a break and taking a breath.
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