For as long as I can remember I’ve been a tea drinker. First thing in the morning, give me a hot, strong cup of black tea - no coffee for this girl! However, I admit to drinking it the way of the English, with a little sugar and a splash of milk (although these days I use soy instead of cow’s milk.) I like to think it’s because of my English roots and a lifelong fascination for “all things British” that makes me love a good cuppa almost anytime of the day.
What I didn’t realize until I became friends with a proper English gentleman was that “tea” is actually a term used by the English to refer to any of several different meals of the day. Afternoon tea, also known as “low tea” is a light meal usually eaten between 3pm and 5pm. “High tea” is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5pm and 6pm. Traditionally, the tea (drink) is served with milk and sugar (like me!) however unlike me, the British usually use loose tea brewed in a teapot (whereas I confess I use tea bags!) The tea is served with sandwiches, such as cucumber, egg and cress, scones with clotted cream and jam (which is where the term “cream tea” originates.) In modern times, it’s become customary for hotels, cafes and tea shops to serve a formal afternoon tea as a “treat,” along with biscuits or the aforementioned scones with clotted cream and jam (no calories, I’m sure!) However you take it, a warm cup of tea seems to always be the perfect comfort drink for many. Tea soothes an upset tummy, as well as the nerves, and has significant health benefits to boot!