National Cream Tea Day
There’s nothing like quiet like a cream tea, but where did it all begin?
Britain’s love affair with tea began when Portuguese Catherine de Braganza married Charles II in 1662, bringing the custom of drinking tea at court with her and making tea popular worldwide.
In 1706, Thomas Twining opened London’s first tearoom. Before long, a flurry of tearooms appeared across the city, a far sight more inviting for a lady than the male-oriented coffee houses.
The cream tea tradition flourished in the Westcountry following the tourism boom in the 1850s, brought on by the opening of the railway. Visitors bustled south looking to relax and indulge, and hotels, tearooms, farmhouses and cafés were happy to oblige – offering delicious afternoon cream teas, made with the finest local ingredients.
The jam was invariably strawberry. And the cream was always clotted.
Cream tea etiquette tips, from us to you
- Loose-leaf is best. Brew loose leaves in a teapot, but remember to serve a second pot of hot water – just in case you’ve over-brewed.
- If you don’t want to pour, don’t sit near the pot. The person nearest the pot should pour for everyone (if you’re clumsy, best make sure it’s not you).
- Make the perfect brew. Allow the tea to brew for at least three minutes before pouring –time enough for the full flavour to infuse.
- Tea before milk. Pour the tea first, followed by milk (so you can accurately judge the required strength) and then sugar.
- Spoons on saucers, please. Once you’ve stirred, place your spoon on your saucer (think of the table cloth).
- No outstretched pinkies! Always hold the cup between your thumb and forefinger. Contrary to popular opinion, sticking your little finger out does not a lady/gentleman make.
- Simply break apart. The perfect scone should break apart with a simple twist! Just make sure you’ve got your saucer to catch the crumbs.
- Spoon then spread. If the table is laden with bowls of jam and cream, spoon your desired amount onto your plate first, before spreading them thick on your scone.
- Jam before cream. While there’s much debate around which goes first (a dispute dividing Cornwall and Devon), etiquette gurus say you should spread your jam before dolloping cream on top.
- A final word. Never use whipped cream. It’s utterly improper.
Whatever your food business there’s always room for a cream tea! Ask about our range of teas, jams, creams and delicious cakes.