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afternoon tea high tea

High Tea Vs. Afternoon Tea - What's The Difference?

Nothing beats the indulgence and company of a good tea party. But when it comes to High tea vs afternoon tea, is there a difference between the two? Absolutely! Here’s what you need to know.


Many people associate high tea with high class, however, it has nothing to do with being fancy or wealthy. High tea was given its name because it was traditionally served at higher dinner tables or countertops. Those little scones and finger foods you expected… not a part of high tea at all. High tea actually includes a much more sizable meal such as meats and fish. It was served to lower class laborers who worked intensive jobs, and wanted a substantial meal at the end of their long work day, typically around 6 or 7 o’clock in the evening.

So, if high tea isn’t the luxurious tea party that we all expect, then what is?


Afternoon Tea is what most people think about when they think of “high tea”. It can also be referred to as “low tea” because, opposite to high tea, it is most often served at a low table. This type of tea service for the upper class began as a social gathering around the 1840s in England. It was intended to fill the gap between lunch and dinner time, generally around 3 or 4pm, hence why it is a lighter meal with bite-sized finger foods.

Mind you, there are many different types of afternoon tea parties, but we’ll save that for a later blog post!

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