History of High Tea

The practice of taking high tea started in the 19th century in Queen Victoria’s court in England. A member of her court by the name of Anna Stanhope, Duchess of Bedford, found the time between noon meal (lunch) and dinner (generally served at 7 or 8pm) was generally too long and she found herself often in a state of moodiness (hangry). She began the practice of having a small meal between 3 and 5pm.

High tea started as a secret ritual in which Anna instructed her servants to bring her a small meal of hot tea, cheese, fruit, and finger sandwiches. She soon realized she was not alone in her desire to stave off hunger and peckishness. Anna let some of the court in on her secret and before long most of Queen Victoria’s court found themselves taking high tea.

Eventually, Stanhope left court and returned home to London. By this time she had grown so used to the new custom that she carried on the tradition inviting other women to dine with her daily, and the concept of high tea became very popular, spreading through London’s aristocracy and eventually spilled over to the lower classes. A light afternoon meal became a part of everyday life for those who could afford it.

At first, these teas consisted of cookies, spongy cakes, toast, jellies, and fruit as well as some other finger foods. These meals rarely included meat or alcohol and focused on items that would satisfy without being overly filling. As it became more popular, high tea became and remains something of a fashion statement. Whereas traditional black teas were often served, today those wishing to partake are often treated to exotic teas and gourmet finger foods.

The high tea of today is usually a much more filling experience, oftentimes replacing lunch or dinner. Afternoon tea, which is generally served around 2pm still remains a social affair all over the world.

We at The Dollhouse Tea Room are excited to bring the tradition of English-style high tea to Seguin. We hope to tempt you with our carefully curated tea selection of international teas as we present you with a tray of fresh scones with clotted cream and exotic jellies, a selection of tea sandwiches, and an assortment of petite pastries baked exclusively for us by Sweet Treats of Seguin.

Afternoon tea is the perfect way to celebrate, allow us to make your event extra special.