The benefits of afternoon tea are plentiful; it bonds friends and families and provides a great opportunity to relieve some stress and take some time out of our busy lives. But as we all negotiate the new restrictions or get some relief from lockdown, it may be that we want to experience afternoon tea in a different way. To celebrate Afternoon Tea Week (10th-16th August) we’re sharing some ideas on how to create the perfect occasion at home, whether in person with friends and family or via a video call. 

And talking of video calls, earlier this summer we caught up with afternoon tea expert, Eileen Donaghey, from @afternoontealondon on Instagram Live. Watch the video below.

Afternoon tea expert, Eileen provided us some great recommendations for a traditional afternoon tea and our own Tea Taster, Dominic Marriott, gave the all-important tea pairing suggestions.

Decide on your menu

Traditionally sandwiches are served first, you could try cucumber & dill or coronation chicken sandwiches to start and pair these with your first of many pots of tea. According to Dom, one of the best teas to drink with the sandwich course would be a Darjeeling which is a very special tea from the North East of India. It’s lighter than a traditional black tea and tastes like a blend of black and green teas. Or alternatively you could serve Jasmine Green Tea or Earl Grey. 

The second course is traditionally the scone course, to which you would add a teaspoonful (or two) of cream and jam. The best tea to serve with the scone course is a really good quality English Breakfast tea. 

The final course is the pastry or cake course. A popular cake for a traditional afternoon tea is a Victoria sponge filled with plenty of cream and jam. A delicious accompaniment to a Victoria sponge cake is an infusion such as Ahmad Tea’s Wild Strawberry which will help refresh your palette after an afternoon of fine food and tea.

Source some fabulous Teaware

The next thing to do is to source some teaware. It’s up to you whether you go for glass, vintage or a modern tea set, but high quality cups, saucers and teapot are a must for the quintessential afternoon tea experience. A cake stand is a nice touch and will make for a great photo but it isn’t essential to enjoy a special social occasion.

Invite your guests

Finally, it’s time to think about who to invite and how to connect whether you invite them into your home (observing appropriate social distancing guideline, naturally) or to a Zoom, Skype or Facetime call. 

Arrange the date, time and indulge. 

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