Tea can be enjoyed at any time of the day. In the early morning, lunch and even after dinner. But for many tea lovers, tea is best taken in the afternoon. And tradition has a lot to do with it.

Whenever the words “afternoon tea” or “high tea” is blooming tea balls uttered, a vivid imagination of a beautiful and cozy back garden, surrounded with blooming flowers and a round table adorned with lovely teapot and pretty little tea cups come to mind. And in this mini-party scenario, two people are seen lazily enjoying the remaining hours of the afternoon over a cup of steaming hot brewed tea and delicious sweet finger foods.

That is the traditional practice of drinking Afternoon tea. It is usually drank at the time between lunch and dinner and consists of delicate sweet finger foods like small cakes. That is exactly what traditional English Afternoon tea is like.

This tradition has long been practice way back in the nineteenth century and was started in England by the Duchess of Bedford and it usually began with bread and butter served in the mid-afternoon. During those days, lunch was served at noon but dinner was not until a couple of hours later so the Duchess gets hungry in the middle of waiting for dinner hour to arrive, and so the beginning of the tradition of Afternoon tea.

From then on up to the present time, Afternoon tea has been enjoyed by many generations not only in England but in other countries who love to drink tea as well. This tradition has slowly progressed through the years with the inclusion of pastries and other varieties of finger foods. But the time in which Afternoon tea is served remains the same.

On the other hand, High tea is a totally different idea. For one thing, it sounds more proper. While it is also considered as tea served in the afternoon, it is served at a later time, some time around six in the evening. Because of its serving time, High tea is also called the “meat tea” during dinner. While Afternoon tea was gaining more popularity, the poorer margin of the population felt they also needed a tradition to enjoy their tea. Theirs was scheduled at a time closer to dinner. This suits them better and unlike the Afternoon tea, High tea included a wider variety of foods such as meat and eggs.

Nowadays, tea time rotates whole day round. People have their own preference on the best time of the day to drink tea. Whatever time that is, one thing holds true–tea serves as a social function that gathers people together at any given time of the day.