Afternoon tea is undoubtedly one of the most quintessential English traditions. Although afternoon tea is almost synonymous with England, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that this concept was introduced. Over time, this ritual became a sensation and has evolved into something else entirely, here’s everything you should know about afternoon tea.
The History of Afternoon Tea:
It all began with the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840. In her household, supper was served fashionably late at 8 o’clock, leaving the Duchess to be hungry after her lunch. To alleviate her hunger, the Duchess asked that a tray with bread and butter, cake, and of course tea be sent to her room during the late afternoon. Gradually, her friends began to join her, soon the tea moved out of her chambers, into the drawing-room and became a social phenomenon!
Afternoon Tea vs High Tea:
During the 1880s, this pause for tea became a social gathering for women of high society who would change out of their regular garments and into long gowns with gloves and hats. There would be a variety of finger sandwiches; scones served with clotted cream and preserves; pastries and cakes; not to mention tea, tea from all around the world, including Ceylon tea, would be poured from gleaming silver pots and into delicate china cups.
While afternoon tea was widely regarded as a custom exclusively for the upper class, the working class would still enjoy their afternoon tea, but with far less pomp and pageantry. However, the industrial revolution changed this whole system. Labourers would only get their tea break after they finished their work; they would enjoy a pot of tea alongside a heartier meal than what was served during an afternoon tea. It’s during this time that the distinction between high tea and afternoon tea came into being. Afternoon tea was for the upper class who sat in lower, comfortable lounge chairs; while high tea was for the working class who sat on high chairs at a table for heartier meals!
Afternoon Tea Today:
Nowadays, evening tea at home looks very different, with the focus more on convenience without all the pomp and pageantry of a proper afternoon tea. What began as tea made from loose tea leaves have expanded to include teabags, allowing you to enjoy an excellent cup of tea from the confines of your home in a few easy minutes. To ensure the quality of tea, whether from tea bags or loose leaf are of high quality, entrust in Dilmah Teas. Fresh, natural and packed at source to ensure quality, you can enjoy a cup of Ceylon’s finest as your afternoon treat, for an exclusive high tea experience.
Experience Afternoon Tea Like Never Before:
People rarely make time anymore to attend afternoon tea or host tea-parties. Whether it’s for a special occasion to treat your mom, or simply a fun day with friends, prepare your own afternoon tea with Dilmah.
Along with a cup of Dilmah’s Afternoon Tea, try out a delicious tea-infused snack to go along with it. One of our most popular afternoon tea recipes is this Earl Grey Cupcake topped with a Bergamot Buttercream:
Earl Grey Cupcake (GF)
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ¼ cup gluten-free flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup milk
- Dilmah Earl Grey Tea (10 g or 3 bags)
- 500 g unsalted butter
- 550 g icing sugar
- 250 g kremelta
- Dilmah Earl Grey Tea (8 g or 2 bags)
- 1 cup milk
Methods and Directions:
Earl Grey Cupcake (GF)
- Heat milk over medium temperature, remove from the heat just before boiling. Add 10g of Dilmah Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea, or 3 bags of Dilmah Earl Grey tea. Let it steep for 30 minutes, or until the milk has cooled completely. After that strain or remove tea bags.
- Beat eggs and sugar together in a mixer until pale and fluffy.
- Combine oil, milk and vanilla together and gradually pour half into the egg mixture.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half to egg/milk mixture until fully combined with no lumps.
- Add the other half of oil, milk, vanilla mixture and mix briefly until there are no lumps.
- Add the final amount of dry flour mixture.
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cases ¾ full.
- Bake for 16 minutes at 160°C.
- Heat milk over medium temperature. Remove from heat just before boiling and add 8g of Dilmah Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea, or 2 bags of Dilmah Earl Grey Tea. Let it steep for at least 30 minutes, or until milk is completely cooled. Strain milk or remove bags.
- Heat vegetable shortening or coconut oil until it’s a liquid but make sure that it’s not too hot.
- In a stand mixer, combine butter and whip on high until very light and fluffy and triples in size.
- Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually pour in ¼ of liquid vegetable shortening, making sure everything is combined after each addition. Continue until all shortening has been added.
- Once all fats have been incorporated, add 1/4 sifted icing sugar. Continue until all sugar has been added.
- Add vanilla and chilled Dilmah Earl Grey milk to the buttercream and mix on high for 5 minutes.
- Add to the piping bag and adorn cupcakes.
Where To Buy Afternoon Tea:
If you’re looking for the best afternoon tea, then you should look no further. Buy Dilmah’s classic Afternoon Tea online now. Take your regular tea break up a notch, whether at home or at work, and enjoy an exquisite cup of Ceylon’s finest tea. Also, a box of Afternoon tea is a great gift idea, as it will make the recipient feel as though they have been transported to the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, where Dilmah Ceylon tea is packed at source to ensure antioxidant-rich freshness, high quality and authenticity.
A Sustainable and Ethical Afternoon Tea
Dilmah’s philosophy ‘Business is a Matter of Human Service’ has always been the driving force behind the brand. Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation fulfils the Dilmah founder’s vision of uplifting society through business. The foundation has numerous projects aimed at addressing the challenges faced by underprivileged and marginalised groups. You too become a part in aiding the foundation; every sip of Dilmah Tea you’ve enjoyed has contributed to this philosophy and you have helped generate over 40 million USD to humanity.
Another belief at the heart of Dilmah Tea is sustainability. Dilmah Conservation has taken many steps to reduce and offset Dilmah’s carbon dioxide emissions. Today, Dilmah’s entire range is now carbon neutral! Carbon neutrality is when an individual or organisation takes actions to remove the same volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as each released into it. When you drink a cup of Dilmah Tea you are given the promise that you are drinking a tea that is ethically and sustainably sourced, all thanks to the efforts of Dilmah Conservation and MJF Charitable Foundation.
Dilmah Conservation (2017) https://www.dilmahconservation.org/
MJF Charitable Foundation (2020) https://www.mjffoundation.org/