Afternoon Tea: A History

Posted by Siobhan Nasby on

Afternoon Tea: A History

Afternoon Tea: A History


There is nothing more consequently British than afternoon tea. Though the British people have a rich history of drinking and enjoying tea, the concept of an afternoon tea is relatively young.

The first record of afternoon tea dates to 1840 and was introduced to English society by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. As was the custom, the evening meal, or dinner as we know it, would not be served till late in the evening, around 8 p.m. This would lead to the Duchess feeling quite peckish around 4 p.m., still a long way till dinner. Due to this she began requesting a tray of tea, bread and butter to be served to her room every afternoon. She soon started to invite friends to join her and the tradition of afternoon tea was born. Not only was afternoon tea used to fill one’s stomach but to also fill one’s social calendar. By the 1880s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves, and hats for afternoon tea seven days a week. This daily pleasure was normally served in the drawing rooms of these great manor houses but if the weather was ideal, tea could be served on the veranda in the summer months.

For a traditional afternoon tea you might find a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones with fresh cream and jam, and an assortment of cakes and pastries. Tea would only be served out of the finest bone china tea pots and poured into delicate bone china cups, nothing less would be accepted.

If the idea of enjoying a glimpse into the upper society of the England of yesterday tempts you, then join us at one of our four tea rooms located in the Los Angeles area.

Chado Tea Room, Pasadena 

Located at: 79 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA, 9110

Indoor Tea Room in Pasadena with Flower Cup

Chado Tea Room, Los Angeles 

Located inside: The Japanese American National Museum at 369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA, 90012

Tea Room in Little Tokyo with Tea Sets

Chado Tea Room, Hollywood 

Located inside: Hollywood and Highland at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Ste. #209, Hollywood, CA, 90028

Hollywood Tea Room with Elephant on the Wall

Chado Tea Room, Torrance 

Located at: 1303 El Prado Ave, Torrance, CA, 90501

Indoor Tea Room at Torrance with Plants

    Want to make a reservation?

    Visit us at Chado Tea Room to make a reservation and learn more about our tea rooms!