Afternoon Tea Tradition
My mother is British and she grew up drinking afternoon tea at a very young age. She carried on the tradition when she got married and had children, and I remember feeling very grown up when I was allowed to sit with “the ladies” and have a spot of tea and a cookie. She would dilute the tea with lots of milk and sugar and to this day, I still prefer it this way.
Fast forward…my husband returned from a trip to Paris and brought back some amazing tea, Mariage Freres Marco Polo. I quickly went through it and have been trying to find an equivalent replacement. My favorite traditional English tea is English Breakfast and when I saw this beautiful tin by Harney & Sons, I had to try it out as soon as possible. I know it makes absolutely no sense, but I figured that a company that designed, or hired a designer to make such beautiful packaging, would also have the good taste to make excellent tea. I decided a traditional afternoon tea with raisin scones would be the ideal time to sample it. This is a delicious tea and I wanted to share the instructions on how to make it.
Afternoon Tea Tradition
If you go with loose tea, the general guideline is to allow for 1 tsp per person, 1 tsp for the pot, and allow 10 ounces (a little over one cup) of water per person. Add boiling water, replace the teapot lid and let steep for 5-7 minutes. Use a tea strainer and pour into cups. Tip – If you are not sure of how much water you will need, you may wish to fill your teapot with tap water, pour into a measuring cup to determine how many cups your pot will hold.
I am a huge fan of the PBS Series, Downton Abbey and I came across a link that I found a really interesting about the history of afternoon tea and how to serve it properly if you want to read more about the afternoon tea tradition (although there is morning tea too!).
Add one teaspoon per person and one teaspoon for the pot (if you are making tea for two, you will need three teaspoons)
Add boiling water. If you are making tea for two, you will want to use about two and a half cups of boiling water and three teaspoons of loose tea.
Replace teapot lid and allow to steep for 5-7 minutes. Any longer will produce bitter tea.
After steeping, pour tea into cup with a tea strainer to catch the leaves.
P.S. the raisin scone recipe and “how to” step-by-step photos can be found here, I made these scones with my friend, Lisa. Among many wonderful things, she’s an amazing baker!