Afternoon tea is all about relaxing and refreshing—taking a break to replenish for the remainder of the day. It only makes sense then that one should enjoy the right atmosphere to complement the purpose of having afternoon tea.
Tea was introduced to England hundreds of years ago; however, it is said that Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, created the idea of Afternoon tea. It was the custom, then, to have a late dinner at approximately eight at night. She requested to have tea, bread and butter at around four to tide her over between lunch and dinner. She soon began inviting friends over and the tradition caught on.
Afternoon tea consists of tea and a light meal. The usual method for presentation involves tiered serving trays to present a variety of finger foods. However, finger foods can be presented on a simple dish. The idea of afternoon tea is simplistic so it does well to present tea in lovely tea cups complete with small delicacies like scrumptious bites of small sandwiches, scones or patisseries alongside tea.
Choose a table cloth for a table if afternoon tea is being enjoyed there; otherwise, serving afternoon tea can be done virtually anywhere. However, create a little hideaway for it. For example, afternoon tea should be enjoyed in a separate setting from where work is normally done since it is a break of sorts. Have afternoon tea outside on plush cushions. If it is warm outside, have afternoon tea in the shade. If it is chilly, enjoy the use of an outdoor heater or create a little nook in the home. A few simple chairs separated by a coffee table set the right setting for some tea.
For added effect and atmosphere, allow for dim lighting. Afternoon tea, despite the name, is actually taken between four and six in the evening when the sun is getting ready to set. If afternoon tea is taken in a room without windows, dangle miniature lights or lanterns in the room to allow for adequate, yet dim lighting. If natural light is available in a room, adjust the blinds or curtains according to preference.
Invite friends over for a get-together of sorts or enjoy afternoon tea with the family. Afternoon tea is a reward for getting through the first part of the day and allows people to refresh for the remainder. Reward yourself with an atmosphere you desire. Take a break. You deserve it.