5 o’ clock….it’s time for tea

In times of lockdown it is not easy to talk about fun things to do, right? But it doesn’t hurt to have a few ideas that we can all try when life goes back to normal again. As we all know the hospitality businesses are currently closed for 4 weeks due to a second wave of Covid-19. But lets keep our spirits up during this turbulent phase and have in mind that very soon restaurants, hotels, pubs, and bars will be open and we will all be able to socialise and enjoy our guilty little pleasures again. In this article we will be talking about one of the most, if not THE most traditional things in British culture….a nice cup of tea.

I worked as cabin crew for 3 years in the Middle East and had the opportunity to visit many countries and with that I had the chance to learn about their culture, traditions but most importantly, at least to me…their culinary. Yes, I love food…I love trying new food and I am not even sorry. And what an amazing way to get to know a country and their culture if not by walking around observing the natives and their favourite dishes and places to eat? This is the best way to connect with people and their culture.

Having flown to the UK many times while working and now living here for a little over 3 years, the British culture always fascinated me. Their politeness, their punctuality and the famous “tea with the Queen”. I remember being very intrigued about this particular one from a very young age….the bespoke  Afternoon Tea. What is so amazing about tea? What is it about tea that made it such an important and remarkable part of their culture? What better way of understanding this mystery then by marrying an English man?

Jokes aside, one of our wedding gifts was an Afternoon Tea at a very fancy hotel in London. This was supposed to be one of the most traditional options in town and I couldn’t contain my excitement to finally experience one of the most respected British traditions. I was in awe. Needless to say it did not let me down. I have to say I felt quite intimidated when the time came. Would I know what to wear? How to behave? Would I embarrass myself in front of the Queen? I couldn’t believe that the tea had its own menu! And to my delight it was served with a scrumptious selection of savoury and sweet treats.

Just as a curious fact about how Brits enjoy their tea. Being a coffee drinker I never understood why would anyone add milk to tea. Why? After a little bit of research I discovered that the reason why milk is added to tea here in the UK it wasn’t necessarily to do with flavour but just a practicality in the old days. Pouring tea straight to a porcelain cup could stain it and even damage or break cups made of poor quality material. Therefore you would pour the milk in the cup before adding the tea.

Apparently this habit has lasted to this day which is very interesting since even when experiencing a very traditional afternoon tea, I do not remember milk being poured before tea and this got me wondering. I have many British friends and have been served tea many times and I have never witnessed this technique before. I am intrigued. If any of our lovely followers have more theories or maybe have experienced this way of serving tea, please interact below by leaving a comment. I am very curious to know your experiences.

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