History of Afternoon Tea and our Afternoon Delight

Where did Afternoon Tea Started?

Afternoon Tea is a quintessentially British tradition and finds its origins in the 1800s. Created by the seventh Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, she introduced this custom to fight the sinking feeling she experienced during late afternoons. As a result of the rise of industrialisation and the increasing urbanisation, dinner was being served later than usual, creating a huge gap between lunch and dinner. In contrast to the farming areas where the day began early and ended when the sun set, the wealthier classes unhindered by such a schedule were having dinner closer to nine o’clock in the evening. Anna got hungry around five o’clock in the afternoon, she decided to bridge the long gap between meals, the Duchess started requesting a tray of tea, cake, bread and butter in the mid-afternoon, a habit she soon shared with her friends. They would join her in her room and have an afternoon snack. This delightful pastime quickly became popular among the social elite, evolving into a fashionable social event, where upper-class women would wear their best clothes and hats to Afternoon Tea, which would be served in the drawing room at five o’clock.

Rise of Tea

The love for tea in the United Kingdom pre-dates the introduction of Afternoon Tea by a couple of centuries. Whether you prefer English Breakfast Tea, Lapsang Souchong, or Earl Grey, tea is fundamental to British culture. Tea was first popularised in England in the 1600s, by King Charles II and his wife Catherine de Braganza. The initial imports of tea were very expensive and highly taxed, meaning that only the wealthy could afford it. However, even with a shocking import tax, by the 1800s, love for tea increased by more than a quarter, which pressured the government to reduce the tax, encouraging people to replace gin with tea for breakfast.

By the late 1900s, the middle class was also able to treat themselves to this tasty ritual as tea became more affordable across the United Kingdom, even making its way to the United States. Nowadays, Afternoon Tea is not a regular part of people’s day, but it remains a tradition enjoyed by royalty. Queen Elizabeth II said that she enjoyed this ritual every day, where she ate crustless sandwiches, sweet treats and fluffy scones served with jam and clotted cream. 

Today, people from all over the world travel to the UK in search of tea rooms that can offer the best Afternoon Tea. It continues to thrive as a popular tradition due to its ability to adapt to modern tastes while preserving its historical essence, offering a pause from a fast-paced world allowing people to reconnect with one another in a relaxing setting. Whether it’s a casual gathering with friends or a special celebration, Afternoon Tea provides a touch of elegance to every occasion. 

The Perfect Season for Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea is lovely in any season, however, Spring is perfect for it. Something about its warmer days and the reawakening of nature presents an idyllic backdrop for this century-old ritual. The blooming flowers and gentle breezes create the perfect atmosphere to indulge in some sweet scones, cakes and delicious tea. 

And to make this season even more special, at Chummys we have released an Afternoon Tea box with the most delicious treats for you to enjoy this season even more! In today’s bustling world, finding time to prepare an elaborate afternoon tea can be challenging. This is where our luxury afternoon tea box comes into play. Savour the richness of our original brownies, the buttery flavour of our scones, and the zesty sweetness of our lemon and blueberry blondies, paired with fresh strawberry jam and creamy clotted cream! To top it all, sip on the comforting warmth of our Fairtrade English breakfast tea bags to make this afternoon tea even more memorable. Each component is chosen to reflect the highest standards of quality and flavour, ensuring a delightful experience.

Our afternoon tea box is not just a meal; it’s an event. It’s perfect for those who want to treat themselves to a moment of luxury or share a special experience with loved ones. Easy to order and beautifully packaged, it makes an ideal gift for any occasion, embodying the spirit of spring and the elegance of this cherished tradition.

As Spring unfolds, indulge in this timeless ritual with our Afternoon Tea box, offering everything you need to create unforgettable moments with your friends and loved ones. 


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