This comes up every once in a while. I had a really nice lady who said she visited England and insisted it was High Tea, not Afternoon Tea. All I can say is that she must have gone to am American tourist spot or somewhere where they were tired of correcting Americans to have tea because I know of a place in England that calls it High Tea only because almost all of their customers are coming from the USA.
Here is an excerpt from the Tea Association of the USA on the history of it:
Anna, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating Afternoon Tea in 1840 when she began taking tea with a light snack around 4:00 p.m. to ward off “that sinking feeling.”
High Tea originated with the rural and working-class British, who would return to their homes at about 6:00 p.m. for a meal of potted meats, fish, cheese, salads, sweets, and a pot of strong tea.
I also have an article from the Telegraph about the Queen called “How to make an afternoon tea fit for a Queen, from her former pastry chef”.
Although this misrepresentation has been around for awhile it is a classic reason just Googling it does not mean it is always true. It is so easy for someone to say they are an authority of something and accidentally spread misinformation that gets spread around the internet. This is why influencers are losing their ground.
I became a certified tea specialist because before I became one I would have believed that it is called high tea in England. I wanted to get my knowledge from the actual experts. I actually do like the lady who got this wrong and I am not giving identifiable information because my goal is not to shame her in public, but only to give the correct information.
What’s in your tea bags? Some reasons to avoid tea bags
I really like this article because it sums up most of the reasons why I do not sell bagged tea. I believe it can cause health issues and tastes bad. Although I really like this article, it did not mention that since bagged tea usually uses dust and/or fannings the tea itself goes bad quickly because of the increased surface area. So mostly likely you are steeping stale or flat tea. This might be why people in this area do not like tea. They are drinking flat, stale, bitter, and astringent tea.
I feel like there needs to be a lot more education in the area I live because many people are a couple decades behind on their tea knowledge or listen to people who do not a have accurate information. I had a lady who swore by bagged teas and she kept saying High Tea. She meant a fancy tea, but that would be low tea, tea service, or afternoon tea. She also mentioned how Watts Tea Room is no more, but she did not mention that the Pfister has Afternoon Tea. The Pfister uses the correct term and uses loose leaf tea. She mentioned a bed and breakfast in Milwaukee that just had tea service on Sundays, but the Pfister has it Saturday and Sundays and 4 times slots each day. I know there is a few months waiting period to have Afternoon Tea at the Pfister and you get what you pay for. It costs but you get a quality experience. I am trying to give that to the greater Green Bay and Fox Valley area, but old stereotypes died hard.
The two photos below sum up why loose leaf tea is better also. Each one of those oolong teas balls unfurls and needs room to expand like the article I mentioned says. I really like how they explain it. So many reasons to use loose leaf tea.
When I was at my last event many people were calling herbal tisanes and herbal infusions tea. I will preference this with the fact my great-grandmother (my dad’s grandmother) was an herbalist and I worked at many natural food places and sold herbal tisanes since the 1990s. I know many of the health benefits of them. I respect people who are knowledgeable about herbs (some have been certified) and have not been as involved in that aspect of health like I use to be (my knowledge is a little rusty in that area). I do not understand calling anything put in water now is considered a tea. That is like when natural actually meant something and now means nothing at all. Yes, there was a time natural actually meant healthy and less processed food from the earth. When you get apple juice are you getting 100% juice or are you getting water with sugar and 10% actual juice? To me, the water, sugar and 10% juice is not juice. Cherry Kool-Aid is not cherry juice. There was a time when something was labeled a juice and it had no actual juice in it. Thank goodness this has changed.
I really believe that tea should be used for the camellia sinensis plant. This does not mean rooibos, tulsi or dandelion root are not good drinks, it just means it is not tea, it is an herbal infusion or herbal tisane. I have had many people asking me questions that have nothing to do with tea and them thinking I know nothing. Well if you actually asked me about tea, then I would most likely be able to answer the question.
Where I am living right now there are a lot of people who listened to people who say they are experts because they saw it on the internet or want to look knowledgeable. If they were actually knowledgeable about tea they would not put tea in clear containers and they would not be spreading inaccuracies. People get annoyed when they ask which of my teas helps with a headache. Well maybe you need to talk to an herbalist expert, you could get that answer, I am a tea expert. I can answer some of those questions for the several decades of being in the industry, but as I said my knowledge is a little rusty and I am not selling many herbals, I am selling teas.
On a side note, I was talking with a nice lady yesterday and she used “High Tea” for Afternoon Tea or Tea Service. I do not think she realized she was talking about a working-class supper meal. There is nothing wrong with the working class or them eating supper, but she was using it as a fancy meal. This happens a lot and this does not bug me as much because it has been muddled for a long time. It is like how people misuse hoi polloi. Hoi polloi means common people, the masses, and people think it means rich or exclusive people. This is a really good analogy for Afternoon Tea. Actually, if you said Low Tea you would be correct because afternoon tea was first eaten on coffee and end tables. Afternoon tea is mainly a glorified fancy snack time with tea. It was originally a snack of sweets with tea to tied ladies over for actual supper meal. Later bite-size sandwiches were added to Afternoon Tea.