Sunday, October 24, 2021

Low tea

In the 1600s, an English trade company was established and began to bring goods, including tea, from the Orient to England. England began to use tea, and soon it became the primary beverage. Tea has become entrenched in the British way of life, from the humble tea break to the afternoon tea to be enjoyed

Afternoon or low tea was established as an elegant snack served in the late afternoon around 3 or 4 p.m., with small cakes, assorted sweets, small bread-and-butter sandwiches and tea. Initially, the upper classes primarily served low tea.

A formal affair, “low tea” was called this because the tea and food were served in a sitting room or withdrawing room where low tables were placed next to armchairs on which the guests were seated.

A factory worker might take high tea meaning he or she could have bread, butter, meat, and cheese to go along with their tea. In contrast, Queen Catherine could take low tea with simple biscuits and small sandwiches with her tea, as was proper for a simple tea time gathering of acquaintances.

Observance of the custom originated amongst the wealthy classes in England in the 1840s. Anna Maria Russel, Duchess of Bedford is widely credited as transforming low tea in England into a late afternoon meal.

The Duchess introduced low tea whilst visiting the 5th Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Caste in the mid-1840s. She found a light meal of tea and cakes or sandwiches was such a perfect balance that she soon began inviting her friends to join her.
Low tea

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