Distinction between High Tea and Afternoon Tea

It’s more to do with what’s served than it is about social classes

The May 16 edition of The Chemainus Valley Courier carries a front page photo and article about ‘High Tea’ .

However, the event referred to appears to me to have been Afternoon Tea. These two names are often confused, perhaps because people often link high tea with high class society. The word ‘high’ in fact refers to the height of the table rather than to the social class of the participants!

The wealthier classes usually ate a mid-morning meal and then a formal dinner later in the evening. Now some poor souls (I’m sure I would have been one of them), got a little peckish in the afternoon and it is the Duchess of Bedford, in the 1800s, who is normally credited with coming up with the idea of a light meal in the mid-afternoon to quell the sound of all those rumbling tummies.

Afternoon tea is when you bring out the dainty china and serve a variety of small crustless sandwiches, scones and assorted little cakes. This is all finger food and nobody needs to sit at a dining table to partake of it.

High tea is quite a different matter. This is a working class meal served later in the day when the workers get home. As they have been out all day it is a quite substantial cooked meal. It could include such items as meat pie with mashed potatoes and vegetables, fried eggs and chips or baked beans on toast, followed by pudding.

It would be eaten at the dining table – a high table compared to the lower tables used for afternoon tea, and hence the name High Tea, though many refer to the meal simply as Tea.

Hear endeth the lesson. No matter what you call it, it’s delicious. I used to love having afternoon tea at Twisted Sisters. Maybe some other local café will serve a lovely afternoon tea from time to time, I’m starting to feel hungry… cucumber sandwiches… scones and jam… cream cakes….

Bridget Bhattacharya,


Just Posted

Long-awaited Crofton road improvements finally happening

Paved shoulders on both sides will be a welcome addition

Mrs. Warren’s Profession a delightful comedic romp

Chemainus Theatre Festival did not disappoint with their production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Chemainus Inn receives highest award for quality

Commitment to service excellence recognized by Best Western chain

Youth restore Crofton senior’s garden of earthly delights

Summer program provides a free service and gives participants a wage

‘It’s almost surreal’: B.C. fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Kamloops high school evacuated after receiving threat

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Woman held at gunpoint during carjacking in UBC parkade

University RCMP say the vehicle is still missing, and two suspects are at large

VIDEO: Angry B.C. cyclist starts shaming dangerous drivers online

‘You motorists deserve all your costs and misery’

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Most Read