For the English, tea is more than a drink, it is synonymous with relationship, society, meeting with friends, family or co-workers, although it is also common to enjoy it alone.
most of Englishmen They drink tea at any time: Waking up, mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon and even before bedtime.54613 / Shutterstock.com
Terms used by the English at tea time
- Teatime: Tea time.
- Five o'clock tea: The five o'clock tea.
- Afternoon tea: Afternoon tea.
- High tea: After dinner tea.
- Early morning tea: Early morning tea, usually served in bed.
- Breakfast tea: Breakfast tea.
The habit of drinking tea
The custom of drinking tea in England is closely related to the monarchy. That custom had its roots, in many aspects, in personal convenience.
It is said that this custom was introduced by Princess Catherine of Braganza, daughter of the king of Portugal and wife of Carlos II of England. She started the entire aristocracy, after carrying a basket of the best tea in China, in the art of drinking it.
Another aspect that could influence the English to drink a lot of tea is that it was conveniently commercial at that time. And, when the noble Lord Sandwich devised the making of the famous sandwich known as sandwich, the custom in the English nobility of drinking tea and ingesting a light snack was more entrenched, since this propitiated social coexistence.
"The proper use of tea is to entertain the idle, and relax the scholar, and dilute the entire meals of those who cannot exercise, and do not resort to abstinence."
-Samuel Johnson -
The popular five o'clock tea
Five o'clock tea has been popular in England for about 150 years. The origin of the Five o'clock tea is due to the Duchess of Bedford, at the beginning of the 19th century She chose the famous schedule of five in the afternoon that we know today to have tea and mitigate the hunger that assaulted her between lunch and dinner.
One summer afternoon she was faint and asked to be served tea with something to eat. This circumstance made it customary, inviting her noble friends to have afternoon tea with her. Soon that time to serve tea became an elegant social event of the aristocracy.
Later they began offering sandwiches and pastries to accompany this tea, something that has endured in history and is still maintained in some way, currently being a popular practice for tourism.
Unlike tea that can be consumed mostly in China or Japan, the English are inclined to black tea, Today they accompany mainly with some kind of pasta.
The Afternoon tea
Nowadays it is difficult for an Englishman to have tea with pastries at five in the afternoon, since they usually dine around six. Therefore, the designation Afternoon tea is used, instead of Five o'clock tea. There are English people who like to go, from time to time, to enjoy a good Afternoon tea at any of the distinguished hotels and exclusive tea shops that offer it throughout the country.
Tea is the protagonist of this snack, but not the only important and exquisite ingredient. In the afternoon tea, they also serve champagne and a three-story fountain or tiered tray with candy, salted sandwiches, jams, butter and the famous spreads, called scones.Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock.com
What tea do the English drink most?
Black tea is the most suitable to accompany with milk and sugar, which is how they usually consume it. They use different blends of black tea, especially from Ceylan and Assam, among others. The best known are Darjeeling tea, Earl Gray and the super famous English Breakfast Tea, typical strong English breakfast tea.John Gomez / Shutterstock.com
Today that tradition is practically a matter of state. The influence of tea among the English is so great that The "tea break" (stop for tea) is one of the rights that all English have during working hours.