Afternoon tea once was a meal that filled a gap and infused itself into daily routines and social rituals. National Afternoon Tea Month in April celebrates the history, food, and culture surrounding this nostalgic pastime.

Afternoon tea is a nearly 200-year-old tradition that began in the United Kingdom. In the 1830s, only the upper class enjoyed afternoon tea due mainly to the price of tea leaves. The upper class also enjoyed more leisure time than the working class, allowing them to enjoy a social moment over tea and biscuits. What began as a light snack turned into a meal with rituals and traditions carried over from high society.

During the 19th century, the day’s last meal was often served between 8 and 9 pm, creating a long gap between meals. The afternoon tea offered a light, casual meal to help tide people over until supper. But the afternoon tea was more than a way to stave off hunger for a few hours. It was a time to dust off the day’s troubles and enjoy the company of loved ones. Over time, the meal became more than a necessity; it became a social occasion and part of the culture. The meal filtered into public places like restaurants and tea gardens, developing into a social event.

The Meal

Afternoon tea consists of light, small portions—crustless finger sandwiches, scones, small cakes and pastries, and of course, tea. Various spreads, such as clotted cream, lemon curd, jams, and jellies, are also served. Usually, English Breakfast tea and Earl Grey are served, but other teas find their way to the serving tray, too. Teas such as Lapsang Souchong, lavender, mint, Darjeeling, and chamomile bring a variety of flavors to the table.

Reviving a Fading Tradition

As our routines changed, we began to eat the supper meal earlier and earlier. Busy lifestyles, travel, and two-income households have all but eliminated the afternoon tea. However, afternoon tea parties are still hosted around the world. They serve as casual occasions to celebrate friends and family and inspire us to interact and commune with each other.

National Afternoon Tea Month is a chance to reignite interest in the ritual and give tools for planning the perfect Afternoon Tea Parties at home. Today, teahouses, tea gardens, tearooms, bed and breakfasts, and other locations also offer afternoon tea and an opportunity to revive a culture that has been slowly fading away.


Tea Tea and Company founded National Afternoon Tea Month to celebrate the culture surrounding tea and as a way to inspire a rival of the afternoon tea traditions. Tea Tea and Company specializes in tea, tea parties, tea education, and custom blends. In addition, they offer experienced guidance on choosing, drinking, and serving tea.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalAfternoonTeaMonth

Celebrate National Afternoon Tea Month by organizing an afternoon tea in your home. You can also attend afternoon teas at local restaurants, teahouses, and many other locations. Explore a variety of menus and bring the tradition of afternoon tea into your life. Learn everything you need to know about hosting afternoon tea by visiting Tea Tea and Company.

Use #NationalAfternoonTeaDay when you share your experiences on social media or visit the website for more ways to celebrate.

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