Someone pouring tea into a cup
What Is High Tea?
Often confused with the afternoon tea depicted in TV shows like "Downton Abbey" and "Bridgerton," high tea is a robust meal traditionally served upon returning home from work.
High tea features dishes such as pies, meats, cheeses, and bread — all washed down with a cup of tea. It's a working-class meal crafted to satisfy a hungry factory or farm laborer.
The term "high tea" doesn't allude to social status but likely originates from the height of the table and chairs used during the meal, as it's eaten while sitting around a table.
As a significant component of the day's diet, high tea is typically served as dinner between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Afternoon tea is served on low tables in the mid-afternoon.
High tea is a testament to British culinary tradition, offering a mix of nourishment, culture, and the simple joy of sharing a hearty meal and tea with company.