So You’re New to Afternoon Tea

Every time we check our stats, we smile, because 85% of daily Destination Tea visitors are first-time visitors. And that’s us living out our mission: to introduce afternoon tea to anyone who has (sadly) lived without knowing about this delightful tradition. So, let’s get started welcoming everyone to the tea table! Today’s post is an intro guide for the afternoon tea newcomers, and for the afternoon tea aficionados to share with their newbie tea friends.

afternoon tea menu elements by Destination Tea

What Is Afternoon Tea?

Okay, first, what is afternoon tea? Is it a meal? Is it the same thing as high tea? How did the custom originate? How long does the affair last? What kind of food and drink is typically served? Is it only a special occasion? We answer these questions and more in our article, “What Is Afternoon Tea?

afternoon tea graphic by Jo Kelly
Illustration by Jo Kelly

What to Wear to Afternoon Tea

Our most popular page on Destination Tea is about how to dress for the occasion. Well, it boils down to this guideline: “Keep It Classy.” In our article, “5 Elements of Afternoon Tea Fashion,” we review the main staples of an afternoon tea ensemble, as well as the etiquette around them during the meal. This post is full of product links to help you find accessories, as well as two videos where we show how to style your tea hat, and dress yourself in a range of styles from cute-casual to fabulous.

hats and gloves photo by World Tea Society
Photo Credit: World Tea Society

Knowing Afternoon Tea Etiquette

Because this tradition originated in upper class society, it comes with its own etiquette to create a sophisticated, elegant affair for all guests. Our page, “What to Know Before You Go to Afternoon Tea” will give you a thorough overview of what to expect at a proper afternoon tea. Though you won’t be ostracized by polite society for trespassing on these customs, this page includes a video on teacup etiquette and our article, “7 Pro Tips: Afternoon Tea Etiquette” to prepare you to enjoy the affair with confidence.

afternoon tea at Four Seasons Atlanta

Choosing Wisely at Afternoon Tea

Because afternoon tea is a fixed menu prepared in advance, your main decision at most tearooms will be to select your tea. Some menus are excellent about describing the origin and flavor profiles of their teas, or your server may be a reliable guide to help you find a tea you’ll like. If not, no worries, you can read up ahead of time about the different choices you’ll typically be offered at afternoon tea on our “Choose Your Tea” page, which includes a “Navigating A Tea List” section.

choose your tea at afternoon tea

Fast-Track to Afternoon Tea Insider

Let’s say you’re a bit of a perfectionist, or maybe a foodie, and you want to know what sets apart the best afternoon teas. In our article, “These Are A Few of Our Favorite Things…at Afternoon Tea,” we show you what to look for to signal that you’re in the presence of afternoon tea greatness.

a beautiful afternoon tea setting

You Found Out Afternoon Tea Is Awesome – Now What?

It is not at all unusual for a new afternoon tea goer to be so taken with their first experience, that they want to go to afternoon tea as much as possible forevermore. Here’s how you can turn that beautiful memory into more beautiful memories:

  1. Visit our Afternoon Tea Directories to find afternoon tea near you or when you travel.
  2. Download our FREE Tea Party Planner and peruse our Themed Tea Party Guides to plan a tea party at home. Get started collecting your teaware after reading our article, “Gorgeous Teacup Finds Online.”
  3. Find a Tea Party Caterer near you and let them do all the decorating and baking.
  4. Join a local Tea Society so you have instant afternoon tea friends and new teas on your calendar.
  5. Follow Destination Tea on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube (whew) to find out about new tearooms, afternoon tea tips and news, tea gift ideas, and our latest tea adventures.

Of course, you can always reach out to us for tearoom recommendations or with questions. Comment here, message us on social media or email Happy tea travels!

Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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