The Difference Between Afternoon Tea and High Tea

Catching up with friends and family over a small snack or a full meal, during the evening hours,...

Catching up with friends and family over a small snack or a full meal, during the evening hours, makes some unforgettable memories. These special meals and social gatherings can, arguably, be traced back to the Victorian-era of the British Empire. Back then it was either called Afternoon Tea or High Tea. Today, these types of meals and gatherings are still seen. So much so that Afternoon Tea and High Tea have been used to mean the same thing, except historically it does not.

What is Afternoon Tea?

Simply put, Afternoon Tea is a light three-course meal taken during the day at 4 pm. This is in no way to replace dinner, as the meal generally consists of bite-sized sandwiches, savouries, and scones. Of course, there is a good strong cuppa accompanied with the finger food too.

Afternoon tea was made popular by the Duchess of Bedford in the 19th century, when she wanted to have a light meal before dinner with her friends. Alternatively, it is called ‘Low Tea’ since this meal is traditionally enjoyed on the low tables of the drawing-room, where the host, friends, and family would sit on comfortable sofas and chairs.

What is High Tea?

Originating from the 19th century, high tea was a trend set by the working middle class. It became popular routine when workers would get home and nourish themselves with a hearty meal that included meat, beans, and other heavy dishes. This is also called ‘supper’, as this is taken between   5 pm – 7 pm. Once again, all this was accompanied with a strong cup of black tea. This was enjoyed mainly on the high tables of the dining room with the family. Hence why it is called ‘High Tea’.

Afternoon Tea vs High Tea

While there are many differences between these two, some of the most obvious is the type of food consumed, time of consumption, and the people you enjoy these meals with.

Afternoon Tea was more for pleasure that eventually leads to dinner. High Tea, on the other hand, was more about getting back that important nutrition lost after working hard during the day.

Another major difference is the time these meals are taken at. Afternoon Tea or ‘Low Tea’ is generally taken around 4 pm, whereas High Tea is enjoyed just before dinner.

These two types of meals have an element of socialising with people close to you. However, the difference is that Afternoon Tea was enjoyed with friends, whereas High Tea was enjoyed with family.

Ceylon Tea at the Very Centre

One thing that has not changed in both meals though is the ‘Tea’. Tea plays a major part in these meals, as they are generally enjoyed at the end of it. These beverages were mostly strong black tea of the highest quality, most notably Pure Ceylon Tea.

Today it is pretty much the same, and Zesta’s Premium Black Tea is one such high-quality black tea that is sure to top off a great Afternoon Tea and High Tea experience, as it provides that authentic flavour of black tea. Whether you serve straight, with a slice of lemon, or even with milk, your meal will be as wholesome as ever.