What is the proper Tea time in Britain?

What is the proper tea time in Britain?

Teatime is the time at which the tea meal is usually eaten, which is late afternoon to early evening, being the equivalent of Merienda.

Tea as a meal is associated with Great Britain, Ireland, and some Commonwealth countries. Some people in Britain refer to their main evening meal as “tea” rather than dinner or supper.

Afternoon tea time is around 4 PM, between lunch and dinner. The light meal is not meant to replace dinner but instead to tide you over until dinner which was usually at 8 PM for the upper class

For over 20 years, I have a home in both Australia and Singapore. One of the things that continuously surprises me is how diverse Australia is even compared to Singapore. Prior to this I lived in London and thus cuppa is a very familiar term.

Three observations about the question:

a. the term cuppa is used in Australia but not everywhere and is not understood by everyone. Years back, I once asked for a cuppa in the neighborhood of Moreland in Melbourne. I got a blank stare. Then my friend whom I was dining with noted that we were in a Greek neighborhood.

This then happened in almost every other state at some time or another over the next 20 years except for Tasmania, where everyone knows what a cuppa is. I suspect the reason is the demographics of Australia.

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What is the proper tea time in Britain
What is the proper tea time in Britain

What is the proper tea time in Britain?

While some 2/3rds of Australians can trace their roots back to the UK, Australia does also have the 8th largest immigrant population in the world and these immigrants comprise over a quarter of the population. So you have a 1 in 4 or 5 chance of speaking to someone who has no idea what a cuppa is.

b. Australian taste have become very diverse. From the terrible 1 meat and 3 veg meals in the 1970s, Australian dining is busting in taste and taste combinations. This demand for refinement has affected tea. So the order tends to be green tea, English Breakfast, Earl Gray, lemon tea, Jasmine, Oolong as oppose to a cuppa.

I recently had a cuppa in the UK and found it almost undrinkable. I would quickly note it was from a roadside cafe and the tea was from a teabag. For those who like tea, like me, the difference between loose tea and tea bags are many. Teabags use broken tea leaves and the ‘dust’ and release tonnes of tannins, thus the need for milk and sugar.

c. Australians much prefer coffee. Melbourne is regularly voted as having some of the best coffee in the world. In fact, the Australian coffee culture is getting bewildering and somewhat ridiculous. Short flat, long black, latte, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, mocha, Vienna, and affogato. I got myself into all sorts of problems when I, unthinkingly, ordered a long black in South Africa.

What is the difference between high tea and afternoon tea?

Afternoon tea is a meal taken at about four o’clock at which tea is drunk, while small sandwiches (cucumber, fish-paste or meat-paste), bread-and-butter, scones and home-made cakes are eaten. It is all finger-food, the only cutlery used might be a knife to spread jam, cream or butter on the scones etc – and a teaspoon to stir the tea. It is not usually taken at table, but served by the living-room fire. In the winter there might be hot buttered toast or crumpets.

High Tea is a more substantial meal taken at about six o’clock, and includes a main dish, usually hot, as well as all of the above. It is taken sitting at table, hence – allegedly – the “High”. In many homes, this meal is just called “Tea”; but confusingly, Afternoon Tea is also usually just called “Tea.”

The naming of meals in Britain is full of class and regional differences.

Tea can also cause acidity, upset stomach and low metabolism if not had at the right time and with the perfect components.

So you must understand the difference in Morning Tea and Afternoon Tea. There are different teas depending on the time of the day and that each tea has its own benefits.

Morning Tea

  • English tea as morning tea with breakfast
  • Irish tea as morning tea with breakfast
  • Indian Chai as morning tea with breakfast

Afternoon Tea

  • Green tea
  • Infused tea

What hour is tea time in England?

This doesn’t really exist anymore except in the imagination of foreigners.

Tea time as in High Tea used to be mid afternoon between 3pm and 5pm, when a pot of tea was made with sandwiches or cakes. This can still be observed as a special occasion eg “Tea at the Ritz” and the odd upper class/ aristocratic family might still observe such a ritual but it is exceedingly rare, but in general it died out at least 50 years or more ago. people now just have a cup of tea when they want, just like anyone has a cup of coffee when they want.

This is not to be confused with coming home for “Tea” – especially for children – where this is the evening meal typically around 6pm, where the Adults would eat their “Dinner” later (typically because they wouldn’t be home until later due to a long commute).

Some adults also call their Dinner, “Tea” – but this is not the concept of the afternoon Tea that people imagine still takes place.

Hope that helps.

Which type of tea is the most popular tea in England? Does the whole country stop for tea time as Italians stop for siesta at 3 pm or so? Is it a social thing, or is it a time to relax in the middle of the day or both?

For the most part, we don’t really think about a type of tea – the vast majority of Brits will just go to the supermarket and pick their favoured brand, but it won’t be anything specific in terms of the blend or type of tea. Sure, many people have their preferences in terms of blend (Assam, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, etc), but for most it’s just a general black tea. It’s usually served with milk and perhaps sugar, although a smallish number of people take it without milk.

It’s less common these days for tea to be something that everyone stops for – manual workers will tend to stop for a communal tea break (it’s hard to operate machinery with a cuppa in your hand), but you’ll find that many office workers will take tea at their desk, and carry on working as they drink it.

At home, it’s quite common to make tea while you’re going about your normal day, but with no particular sense of ceremony about it.

What is the proper tea time in Britain?

There will sometimes be an outbreak of sudden tea making across the nation such as during half time on a major sporting fixture – this can result in so many people turning their electric kettles on that the electricity companies have to plan for it to make sure there’s enough power available.

As well as referring to the drink, tea can also refer to your late-afternoon meal. When I was younger, my mother would have some sort of tea ready when I got home from school – perhaps a sandwich and a slice of cake, nothing too elaborate – and that would fill the gap before we had our main evening meal later on.

A more refined variation on this is afternoon tea, which seems to be making a bit of a resurgence in popularity these days.

Afternoon tea is a shared meal for two (or sometimes more) people and is a nicely presented variation on the sandwich and cake that I’ve just mentioned. It’s usual to have some small sandwiches, a selection of cakes, and a scone or two each. Oh, and of course, a cup of tea.

What time is tea time in Australia?

This question immediately makes my mind go back a very long time to a time when life was much slower.

Let’s say, the 60’s.

That should be far enough.

In that time, the evening meal was universally referred to as ‘tea’. The midday meal was ‘dinner’ and a snack type of small meal late in the evening if guests were present was ‘supper’.

Just writing that last sentence has brought back so many lovely memories for me. So, thank you for asking this question.

But, to continue. I still to this day hear many of our cockies, (farmers to the rest of the world and many Aussies today,) still use the terms ‘dinner’ for lunch and therefore ‘tea’ for the evening meal.

But on the whole, those terms are seldom used in most of Australia today.

So, to answer your question regarding the time that ‘tea’ was usually served, as opposed to ‘dinner’ today, we must return to the 60’s. A journey I will enjoy but that may be a new experience for many.

High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevenses: English Tea Times For

My answer to your question therefore is roughly 6:45 to almost 7PM depending on how far from work (and the pub) the husband in the family lived.

You see, the normal work day for most men at that time was 8:30AM to 5PM. Some may have been 9AM to 5:30PM. but they would be mainly office workers. This allowed for 8 hours of work and 30 minutes for the midday meal. Oh, and there would be 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon for “Smoko” A short break for a fag (cigarette) and maybe a cup of tea if you’re quick about it.

Immediately after work, most of the men would head for the local pub for a pot[1] or 3 before heading home. Eight hours of work would certainly build up a thirst. And when I say they would head for the pub, I mean get there as quickly as possible.

You see, there was a catch. All pubs closed at 6PM. On the dot. So that left a mere 45 minutes or even down to 20 minutes depending on when you knocked off and how far away the pub was to get as many pots of beer down your gullet as possible. It was referred to as “The 6 o’clock swill

And to say it was hectic and crowded is an understatement. Here’s an example of what it looked like.

Notice that it wasn’t exclusive to blue collar workers.

What is the proper tea time in Britain
What is the proper tea time in Britain

Difference Between Afternoon Tea and High Tea

And these crowds would spill out the doors and along the street outside.

Also, notice there is not a lady in sight. Not even behind the bar. This was the Public Bar. No ladies allowed. The “Ladies Lounge” was the ‘correct’ place for the ladies to have a Pims or two.

So, at 6PM the dreaded words, “Time please gentlemen’ would be heard and the men would leave for home by car, tram or bus. I’m estimating therefore that they would make it home by no sooner than 6:30PM at which time they would give the ‘little lady’ a hello kiss and go wash up. Tea would be served up on a table that was already set, children up to the table and as soon as dad was finished, the evening meal would commence. With Dad sitting at the end of the table.

Immediately after ‘tea’, the Mrs would clear the table and start the washing up while the kids jumped into a bath and got their PJ’s on.
(A exemplary husband would help gets the kids ready for bed. Your average husband would settle down to read the evening paper.)

Children in bed by 7:30 or 8:00PM, dishes done, at which time Mum and Dad could have some time alone.

Basics of High Tea and Afternoon Tea – The Spruce Eats

Today? (I’m sorry. Did I snap you back to 2019 too quickly? Come on. Catch up.)

Dinner time can range from 6PM to 9PM. Or, any old time that suits you I guess. Predictability has gone permanently.

Why did dinner become the accepted name for the evening meal?

My personal theory, it coincided with the change from having 90% of the content on all three TV channels being Australian made to 90% of the content of 20 something channels being American made.

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