Rules of the English Afternoon Tea Tradition That You Should Know

british tea, traditional british tea, 5 tea traditions

For many people around the world, tea is considered a symbol of British culture. Although England is not the homeland of tea, for the British, tea is perceived not only as a beverage but also as an expression of social ties, traditions and past. This tradition is called Five o’clock Teatime because it occurs at five o’clock and it comes with many rules.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that there are certain rules for each of them, from the way tea is presented to the foods to be consumed with it! Well, would you like to take a closer look at the fascinating world of English afternoon tea, from the origins of English teatime to the flavors that are served and the details of the tradition?

How Did English Afternoon Tea Originate?

The 5 o’clock tea event is one of the most elegant traditions where nobility, kindness and taste come together to add harmony to the lives of the British! This tradition came to life in the early 19th century thanks to the habit of Anna, Duchess of England. The Duchess was consuming tea and sandwiches between lunch and dinner.

This habit of Duchess Anna was soon adopted by her guests and turned into one of England’s most distinguished social rituals. Two separate moments of the day are dedicated to tea: the first is Low Tea, which takes place between three and five in the afternoon and the second is the 5 o’clock tea called High Tea, which starts after five o’clock and is enriched with more satisfying tastes. This elegant event, which has survived from those days until today, has some essential rules!

Here are the essential rules of traditional 5 o’clock tea:

The Most Beautiful Room in the House is Chosen for the Tea Ceremony

The British take care to choose the most beautiful and bright room in the house for the afternoon tea ritual. Two different tables are placed in front of the fireplace or window. The reason for this is that while the guests are sitting at one table, there is tea and treats to be served at the other table. It is not welcome to place tea and treats on the table where the guests are sitting. After greeting the guests at the table, the host uses the other table to serve them tea.

Elegant and Stylish Clothing is Preferred for the Event

Everyone pays utmost attention to the 5 o’clock tea ceremony, from the room layout to the selection of clothes to be worn. Those who will attend the tea prefer accessories such as silk gloves, lace handkerchiefs and hats. In this way, everyone can participate in the event by keeping alive the subtleties of the old tradition.

Delicacies Are Selected According to a Certain Rule

Another issue that is as important as the table setting and clothing at the 5 o’clock tea is the type and size of the delicacies that are served. Two types of delicacies are prepared for guests: sweet and savory. It is very important that the delicacies are small enough to be eaten in one bite. Because it is not welcome to use forks and knives at 5 o’clock tea. The point that the guests should pay attention to here is that they finish all the food that is offered to them. Otherwise, they may not be invited to the next event.

Tea is Not Served in Classic Cups

If you think that classic cups are used for 5 o’clock tea, then you are wrong! For the 5 o’clock tea service, the host uses the silver or porcelain cups that are available at home. These cups create a more elegant and distinguished atmosphere and add an authentic atmosphere to the tables.

The Host Should Be Polite to Their Guests

The host must pay attention to the way they host their guests, as well as the table setting, food and clothing during the ceremony. Guests should not interrupt while speaking and should ask questions after they finish speaking. In addition, the person hosting the 5 o’clock tea should never offer their guests tea that is prepared using tea bags.

Michelin Guide Recommendation for English Afternoon Tea: Pera Palace Hotel Kubbeli Lounge

pera palace hotel

Would you like to have a unique afternoon tea experience at Pera Palace Hotel, the hotel of firsts? If your answer is “Yes!”, you can reserve your place at the Kubbeli Lounge, where tea hours have been held for more than 130 years. Kubbeli Lounge, which is one of the venues where the first tea event was held in Istanbul, offers you an unforgettable experience with its unique elegance and tastes. You can join the afternoon tea with your loved ones, served with delicious delicacies and accompanied by unique piano tones that touch your soul, any day of the week between 15.00 and 18.00.

You can make a reservation right away to experience the phenomenal flavors that are prepared by Chef İbrahim Özçiftçi and his team, which are on the list of restaurants that are recommended by the Michelin Guide.


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