Difference between high tea & afternoon tea


1. High tea is a heavy meal usually eaten between 5 PM and 6 PM, consisting of dishes like steak and kidney pie, pickled salmon, and cheesy casseroles.
2. Afternoon tea is a light meal typically taken around 4 PM, served on low lounge tables, and consisting of dainty delicacies such as cakes, sandwiches, and scones.
3. The main difference between high tea and afternoon tea is the time they are served, the type of food served, and the social occasions they were associated with (high tea being a working class meal and afternoon tea being a ladies’ social occasion).


Tea is a popular beverage worldwide, and it has given rise to many meal traditions. Two such practices are high tea and afternoon tea, which can sometimes be confusing to differentiate. While there are similarities between the two, there are also distinct factors that set them apart.

High Tea

High tea is an English meal that gained popularity among the working class in the 1600s. It is typically eaten around 5 PM and 6 PM and can sometimes serve as a substitute for both afternoon tea and the evening meal. The term “high tea” comes from the fact that it is consumed from the main dining table or a “high” table, in contrast to the smaller lounge (low) table usually used for serving tea.

High tea is a heavy meal consisting of dishes like steak and kidney pie, baked goods such as crumpets, fish dishes like pickled salmon, and vegetables like onion cakes or potatoes. It also includes other heavy foods like cheesy casseroles and baked beans. Cold meats, fish, eggs, cakes, and sandwiches are integral to the meal, and pastries, fruits, cookies, and other delicacies are also served. However, over time, this meal has been replaced by a more substantial dinner and is no longer the norm.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea, also known as low tea, is a light meal typically enjoyed around 4 PM. It gets its name because it is served on lounge tables or “low” tables, as opposed to the higher main dining table. Afternoon tea is usually a more formal occasion, with table manners and delicate china. Historically, it was considered a ladies’ social event, and even today, it is more commonly enjoyed by women than men.

During afternoon tea, tea is served in a teapot with milk and sugar, accompanied by a variety of sandwiches, such as cucumber, tuna, egg and cress, smoked salmon, and ham. It also includes scones, pastries, and cakes. While afternoon tea used to be a daily occurrence in the past, it is no longer a regular tradition and is now more of a special treat at cafes or shops.

Differences between High Tea and Afternoon Tea

While both high tea and afternoon tea involve the consumption of tea, there are several differences that distinguish the two:

– Afternoon tea is served around 4 PM, while high tea is served between 5 PM and 6 PM.
– Afternoon tea was historically more of a ladies’ social occasion, characterized by table manners, delicate china, and lace.
-High tea originated as a working-class meal that served as a substitute for afternoon tea and the evening meal.
– Afternoon tea consists of light snacks like cakes, pastries, scones, and sandwiches.
– High tea includes heavier items like meats, fish, potatoes, and cheesy casseroles.
– Afternoon tea, also known as low tea, was traditionally served on low lounge tables, while high tea got its name from being served on the higher main dining table.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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