A – Afternoon Tea

                                  Welcome to letter A and to this year’s Theme:

                                                          The Glories of Tea With Stepheny

Tea – Washington Duke Inn – July 2012

Consider this your invitation to join in the glories of tea during April, the month of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Using the 26 letters of the alphabet, you will find that our time together will cover different aspects of the long tradition of drinking tea. Art, china, recipes, hotels, mysteries. Even if you prefer coffee, I hope the breath of the subject will bring you back while out blog hopping. I’m delighted to entertain you with information, friendship, and lovely tea parties. Let’s begin by remembering our first teacups as little people, be they tin like mine or china that was hard to break.

Afternoon Tea


Afternoon tea is not the same as high tea. “High tea was what servants of a large house ate at around 6pm after the upstairs had been given their afternoon tea. The servant’ s menu would include a large joint of meat, slices of thick bread, potted shrimps, a big cake to share, and ale. It was eaten at a proper table, rather than a lower, coffee table, and so it became known in the servants’ hall as ‘high tea’.” You are familiar with an afternoon tea that has a variation of tea sandwiches, scones, and something sweet.


To this day I drink my tea with milk and sugar as I did when a child. In England, this is known as ‘white’ tea. We will learn more about Etiquette in a few days,  but while on the subject,  do you add milk in first or last? The proper custom is to add the milk last, although the servants of a large house who used to drink from unrefined clay mugs which could crack when hot tea was poured, added milk in, before the tea was poured to act as a coolant. Those above the stairs of the house drank from fine bone china or porcelain so the hot tea wasn’t a problem. For the letter, B we will talk about bone china. Do join me.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea


“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Henry James              The  Portrait of a Lady


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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6 Responses to A – Afternoon Tea

  1. Sue says:

    I’m looking forward to having tea with you during the A to Z challenge. We drank tea, with milk and sugar, every morning when growing up. I’m a coffee drinker now but always return to tea when feeling under the weather.

  2. jazzfeathers says:

    Fascinating. I didn’t know anythign abotu high teas, but I’m glad I’ve discovered it though your post. History is always so much richer than we imagine.

    The Old Shelter – Living the Twenties

  3. Lael-Heart says:

    Well, thank you for the education!

  4. scr4pl80 says:

    How fun! Looking forward to reading more about teas. I don’t put anything in mine, but I do drink a lot of flavored teas so that’s probably why.

  5. I also take my tea with milk, thanks to the influence of a British-born friend from grad school. I’m enjoying a late morning cuppa as I write this. 🙂 Cheers!

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