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
Chado Tea Room, Los Angeles
Chado Tea Room, Hollywood
Chado Tea Room, Torrance
Located at: 1303 El Prado Ave, Torrance, CA, 90501
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Visit us at Chado Tea Room to make a reservation and learn more about our tea rooms!