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What is High Tea?

high tea at Tamborine Gardens

Aussies love tea. It has been a part of many families’ tradition for many years. Indeed, 50% of Australians drink at least a cup of tea each week, and a common tea-time tradition is called High Tea. If you’re wondering what exactly High Tea is and how it is different from Afternoon Tea, then we have the answers for you.

What is High Tea?

The practice of traditional High Tea originated from Anna Russel, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in the 17th century. The tradition is still renowned in modern times, and not only in wide areas in the United Kingdom but even overseas.

High Tea is being served while sitting on high-backed chairs and a table full of plated items - this is where the name comes from.

The belief that it is served for “high” class people is incorrect. High Tea is in fact for working-class people who usually do intensive jobs in farming and mining. These workers use to come home famished after a long laborious day of work, so their family members had to prepare meals for them and it just so happens that they partnered the meal with tea.

Back in the day it was usually served during the end of the workday, between six o’clock to seven o’clock in the evening. 

High Tea became popular across Europe and Australia and gradually this meal became more known as an important event for social occasions, rather than a simple meal for the hardworking man. This resulted in the creations of new recipes like a scone, pie, and high tea sandwich added to the table.

High Tea Vs. Afternoon Tea

You might be wondering how a High Tea differs from an Afternoon Tea. A lot of people interchange these two; besides being both British traditions, they are not typically the same. Afternoon Tea is more formal and meant to be a get together over a tea and a light snack before dinner, while High Tea is a filling meal after working all day and is usually informal.

High Tea Etiquette

Some occasions follow particular social protocol and High Tea is not an exemption. To make sure you’re observing the right behaviour, we have compiled six important do’s and don’ts of enjoying a traditional High Tea and for you to avoid teatime anxiety after.

Do: Dress Freely

Even though traditional high tea is an elegant and indulgent event steeped in the aristocratic flair, it does not necessarily require you to be dressed in high fashioned attire; casual and formal attire is more than enough.

Don’t: Dip Your Biscuit

Don’t be deceived by cookie commercials about dunking your biscuits in milk or tea because doing so is absolutely a heinous faux pas in traditional high tea. Though this action is socially accepted in the comfort of your own home, avoid doing it in the middle of a High Tea event.

Do: Stir Right

Having a concoction of milk and sugar to your tea needs stirring. While having High Tea, it is a must to follow the proper way of doing so. Place your spoon at a 6 o’clock position and stir from top to bottom without making any sound of clink or clunk. When you’re done, remember to place your spoon on the saucer by the side of the teacup. You can now enjoy your tea.

Don’t: Lift the Pinkie

The etiquette myth of raising your pinky to look classy is one of the misconceptions of high tea. It is a very impolite and incorrect technique to lift your pinkie finger whilst drinking a cup of tea. Moreover, it is also quite difficult to hold your teacup with this position of the pinkie finger and may cause you to spill the tea or break the cup.

Do: Pronounce ‘Scone’ Correctly

Many people mispronounce the word ‘scone’. To eliminate the risk of being instantly exposed as a fraud, it is better to pronounce the word as ‘scon’, rather than ‘scone’.

Do: Eat with Etiquette

Being at a High Tea event, it is a must to remain elegant whilst eating. Social mannerisms like placing a napkin on your lap, taking small bites, and refraining yourself from spilling the teas are required.

Other things to consider are:

1. Never start eating until everyone has been served.

2. Avoid picking food from the tower with your bare fingers, use a folk provided by the servers.

3. It is polite to look into your teacup whilst drinking.

Traditional High Tea at Tamborine Gardens

While High Tea originated from the United Kingdom, many Australians have made it their own and have passed this custom from generation to generation. If you’re looking to experience an Australian traditional High Tea or finding a great place to host a High Tea event, Tamborine Gardens Wedding and Function Resort is the place to be. We offer a High Tea experience at an affordable price, which will satiate you with a great and delightful menu.

Tamborine Gardens Wedding and Function Resort is also one of the renowned wedding venues on the Gold Coast. It is home to magical gardens, comfortable cottage accommodation, stunning reception centers, and friendly staff.

To enquire and book your reservation for a traditional High Tea at Tamborine Gardens, you may contact us at (07) 5545 2544.

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