If you are a tea enthusiast, you will surely want to experiment with your favourite drink and perhaps already know that tea has great nutritional benefits. There are countless options to flavour up your tea so that the drink becomes as exciting like never before.
But did you know that in some cultures, tea is not just sipped alone as a refreshment but actually is served as a whole meal? There are many tea meals observed across the globe. If you add side dishes to your cup of tea and wisely use the right tea blends, your tea can even serve as a wholesome meal.
Most of these tea meals were part of culture years ago, and some still exist in societies as a way to exert their sophistication or to stay connected to their roots. If you want to have some fun with tea and plan a whole ‘party’ around it, we suggest you try some of these tea meals over a weekend and invite a few friends over!
Tea Meals Worth A Try
Here is a look at the most popular tea meal:
1. Afternoon Tea Meal
The culture of using tea as a meal originated in England and the Duchess of Bedford Anna Russell started this tradition in the name of Meal Circa in the year 1800. Meal Circa was actually a kind of Afternoon Tea Meal which she started around 4 pm to get an in-between meal between the luncheon and the dinner time, which was scheduled around 8 o’ clock. The Duchess could not wait until dinner time to satiate her hunger and thus introduced this Afternoon tea meal session to quench her thirst. This Afternoon tea meal session was a social gathering of her High Society Elite friends who chatted and had great fun & frolic over their short Afternoon tea meal.
This culture of Afternoon tea meal still continues in Britain between 4pm to 6pm and often with tea a small slice of cake is served. During those times in England, Afternoon tea scones coated with jam or cream was also served with the cup of tea. This combination was popularly called cream tea. This tea meal is also differently called ‘Low Tea’ because it is usually served on low coffee table or centre table surrounded on all sides by sofas or loveseats.
Some people even take sandwiches, pastries, sweets, and assorted fruit salads with their Afternoon tea meal and prefer gourmet tea served in perfect scintillating tea-ware. This is because the Afternoon tea time is actually a fun leisure pastime with special friends. It is a common practice in Britain to serve the Afternoon tea meal in a unique 3 tiered stand. The lower tiers contain the savouries such as sandwiches while the upper tiers contain the sweets and scones. In American culture, this Afternoon tea meal is also called ‘Full tea’.
2. Morning Tea Meal
There is also a tradition of Tea Meal in the mornings between 8am to 10am in many countries; called as the Morning tea meal. In Britain too, the English breakfast tea is quite famous. It’s a type of Black tea that consists of an incredible blend of Ceylon tea, Assam tea, Kenyan tea and Keemun tea.
The morning tea meal is one that usually consists of tea and coffee cake, crumpets, doughnuts or any other pastry that suits the breakfast time. What kind of tea you wish to savour in the morning hours however, depends on your own individual taste. Some people for instance choose to give their day a healthy start by sipping from a cup of anti-oxidant rich green tea made from some aromatic tisanes. The morning and afternoon tea meals are usually light tea meals.
3. High Tea Meal
This Tea Meal is served at dinner time at around 8 o’ clock and is called ‘high tea meal’ because it is served at the high table; i.e. the dining or kitchen table. Generally with this tea, warm freshly baked soft bread right from oven is served along with items like cheese, egg dishes and hot meat. Even meat stews meat pies, cakes and crackers can be served to make the meal complete.
The bread that is served is mostly buttered or even at times marmalades & jams are used on the bread. Also the High tea meal may include lots of potatoes and sausages. Due to the inclusion of so much meat into the High tea meal, it’s also called ‘Meat Tea’ in some cultures. High Tea Meal includes substantial quantity of food and is a sort of informal dinner. Thus, often people in Britain invite their guests for high tea when meeting for dinner is not ideal.
A Look in to Some Specialty Tea Meals
While the above mentioned are tea meals we all have heard of, tea being as popular it is today has created opportunities for some other kinds of ‘meal ideas’ as well. Some are new, some are age old, but what they all have in common is that these are meals shared by people who truly love tea, and simply need more excuses to create speciality meals around them!
1. Royal Tea Meal: This is one sort of Full Tea Meal that comes with the royal touch of Champagne, Sherry plus any sparkling non-alcoholic beverage in addition to the tea.
2. Dessert Tea Meal: This is a tea Meal meant especially for tea fans who are dessert lovers as well. With the tea generally a large sweet dish like pie, cake or even an individual bowl of dessert items like parfaits, puddings, trifle etc are offered.
3. Fireside Tea Meal: This is cosy tea meal party where family and friends gather for a home tea meal. They sip tea from their cups, chat and relax while simultaneously toasting their own crumpets, breads etc on a hot open hearth. They usually sit around the hearth and enjoy the tea meal.
4. Garden Tea Meal: This is an Afternoon tea meal but with a variation. It is a summertime Afternoon tea meal served especially in the garden setting. The tea served is usually iced tea in place of hot tea or even lemonades and the refreshing garden setting is perfect with its cool afternoon breeze
5. Children Tea Meal: These Tea Meals are ideally meant for children consisting of hot chocolaty shakes along with deliciously flavoured teas. Also children-friendly muffins, scones, pastries, cakes and sweets too are served along with the tea.
6. Themed Tea Meal – This is a tea meal with a theme, which permeates the entire event and reflects in everything from choice of tea, decorations and foods chosen. Such tea parties or tea meals are perfect for a Baby Shower, Wedding shower, Birthday Party, Holiday Tea, Spa teas, Red Hat Society Teas etc.
Serving Your Tea Meal The Right Way
Drinking and serving tea is almost an art, which is why it comes as no surprise that most tea meals have some interesting details attached to them. Now if you want to get that Tea Meal party just right, make sure you follow these rules.
1. Tea Meals all have different timings, maybe because tea lovers wanted to have a dedicated time, along with a meal, where they could enjoy a fresh cup. While Morning Tea or Luncheon Tea would be served anywhere from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Firefly Tea or High Tea would be served from 8:00pm to 10:00pm at night.
2. At a tea meal, there is a set way to prepare the tea in question. Black and Oolong teas should be offered with sugar, and milk. These are not served with cream. If served black, lemon and honey can be offered as well. White and Green teas are taken plain, though offering honey, sugar and lime to guests if requested is only polite. Herbal teas or tisanes can be offered at guest’s request, though these aren’t technically teas.
3. If you are offering a formal tea meal, it is polite to offer scones. If not, crumpets, fruit pastries, tea biscuits, muffins, quick breads, and cookies are also good options. In most cases, some finger foods are also added to the meal like meat tarts, mini quiches and tea sandwiches for a variety of sweet and savory foods to choose from.
4. In most formal tea meals, a final dessert will also be served. This could be a pie, a cake or a pudding like Trifle.
These are some of the major tea meals that the world is familiar with till date and are published as a guest post by Steve Johnson. Stay healthy!