If there’s one thing we can say about 2020, it’s that the “keep calm and carry on” mindset has become necessary again. We all need to do “our bit,” which inevitably means improvising every now and again.

Those who’re missing normality, whether it be hugging loved ones or eating out with friends, should look to alternatives where possible - including enjoying an Afternoon Tea at home.

The following article will offer you ideas for making your own elegant lunch from the comfort of your humble abode. It will provide homemade Afternoon Tea recipes, as well as recommend the best ingredients to use.

The first thing, though, is to understand “What is Afternoon Tea” For starters, there is more to it than many people might realise.

An Afternoon Tea is a centuries-old tradition. It is an elaborate affair consisting of a pot of Loose Leaf Tea, sandwiches, sweet pastries, cakes and scones with clotted cream and jm.

The practise dates back to 1840 when Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, decided she needed a “snack” between lunch and dinner. That snack, of course, eventually turned into a full-out meal associated with all things lavish and dainty.

Who wouldn’t want to indulge in such extravagance? Who wouldn’t want to treat themselves to such delicacies? The good news is that, now, you can.

Please keep reading to find out more about Afternoon Tea at home ideas. Once you know the facts, you can buy the Tea itself (as well as tea accessories) right here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.

Afternoon Tea Menu Ideas

Afternoon Tea Menu Ideas

Afternoon Tea parties at home are far from a new thing. Add “digital” to the front of that sentence, though, and suddenly we’re talking about a 2020 kind of a party. The first thing you’ll want to do, then, is organise an online meeting with friends and family. There are plenty of ways to do this. Next, you can begin to set up “your end” of the gathering.

Why not start with a tiered cake stand - if you have one? If you don’t possess such an item (and, let’s be honest, not many of us do), then your best crockery should do the trick. Don’t worry if the patterns are mismatched - it’ll only add to the quaintness of having a homemade Afternoon Tea.

Consider, too, finding some lace-like doilies, folded napkins and even, if there are several in your household, name places.

Making an Afternoon Tea at home wouldn’t go far without a teapot, teacups, cutlery and cake slicers for serving. Put these on top of a table dressed in a tablecloth, perhaps surrounded by bunting.

There should be milk and sugar on hand for when the digital party begins. And then, of course, you’ll need to select a type of Loose Tea - or maybe several (we stock over 1,000, in case you’re wondering!).

Now for most people’s favourite bit: the food. Sandwiches are a must for savoury lovers, the types of which we’ll be talking about below. The same applies to scones and cakes.

In fact, if you’re keen to find out more detail about every item in a homemade Afternoon Tea, please keep reading. Just remember to leave enough space for your electronic device so that your entire digital party can join in!

Best Loose Leaf Teas for Afternoon Tea

Best Loose Leaf Teas for Afternoon Tea

It’ll come as little surprise to know that, here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, our greatest concern is your cuppa. It is, after all, in the name: Afternoon Tea at home ideas. The brew you make, in our opinion, is the most important part.

The brew you make is indeed the one thing you can’t skimp on when you host your party. With that in mind, you’re going to want to pick well.

But why pick Loose Leaf Tea over Tea Bags? While few would argue that the latter is more convenient, having a Loose Leaf variety highlights the true profile and character of your beverage.

Most connoisseurs, including those who partake in these sort of gatherings frequently, will settle for nothing less. But the question still begs: which one should you buy?

From our flagship Pluckley Tea to Assam Broken Orange Pekoe; from Rooibos Masala Chai to Apple Crumble Fruit Tisane, the possibilities are almost endless.

Yet you’re here because you want to find the best Loose Leaf Teas for Afternoon Tea parties in your home. The following five are the ones we’d recommend. Each one has something unique, indeed extraordinary, to offer.

English Breakfast FOP is the Classic Choice

English Breakfast Tea FOP is the Classic Choice

This is a classic, quintessentially English Breakfast Tea infusion from start to finish. A Black Tea of unparalleled quality and character. It is a blend of Assam Tea and Ceylon Tea, which boasts tastes best described as sweet and malty.

The term “FOP,” meanwhile, stands for “Flowery Orange Pekoe,” referring to the use of the top bud and first two leaves of each new shoot of Tea.

FOP Teas also contain young, tender leaves with a balanced amount of “Tip” or “Bud,” offering somewhat more delicate flavours compared to BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe).

The reason we’ve chosen it for Afternoon Tea is that, put simply, it’s the most obvious pick. When you order a “regular” cuppa and scones in a restaurant or cafe, this is almost certainly what you’ll receive.

We Stock a Specially-Made Afternoon Tea

We Stock a Specially-Made Afternoon Tea

We would, of course, be remiss if we didn’t mention our specially-made Afternoon Tea. Much of what you need to know about it lies in its name. It is indeed made for this purpose, blended by us to accommodate all of your fancy needs.

The leaves come from Assam and Nilgiri in India, to which we further include those from East Africa. Unlike English Breakfast FOP, it is a Broken Orange Pekoe.

A BOP Tea such as this one is where the leaves have, quite literally, been broken into smaller pieces. This often boasts a stronger character in cup than that of an FOP Tea.

By choosing our Afternoon Leaf Tea, then, you’re opting for a “hearty” cuppa. Every sip provides smooth yet refined malty notes with a refreshingly bold aftertaste - a true delight to the senses.

Add Flavour to Your Life With Earl Grey

Add Flavour to Your Life with Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey is a type of Flavoured Black Tea known and loved around the world. If you’re looking to branch out from the conventional, you will do well starting here.

It’s worth noting, too, though, that having an Earl Grey Tea with Afternoon Tea is not as uncommon as you might think. Some people would even go as far as to suggest that it’s made for such an occasion!

But what, exactly, is it? Traditionally, the base is China Black Tea. However, in recent years, others such as Assam and Ceylon Tea are used. Whichever type you find in front of you, the ingredient that lends itself to the characteristic taste of Earl Grey is bergamot oil.

This is a citrus fruit thought to be a hybrid of lemons and Seville oranges. Including it, unsurprisingly, brings extra flavour to your Afternoon Tea.

Darjeeling Leaf TGFOP1 is the the Adventurer in you

Darjeeling Leaf Tea TGFOP1 is for the Adventurer in You

Allow yourself to be whisked away to the beautiful Darjeeling hills, a West Bengali region nestled beneath the Himalayas of India. Such is the power, the majesty, of our Darjeeling Leaf Tea TGFOP1.

This is an infusion unlike any other. The unique climatic conditions of Darjeeling district, coupled with its fertile soils, ensure you’re getting a truly magnificent brew for your Afternoon Tea at home.

It is, to say the least, a somewhat unconventional choice. The taste of this Tea consists of delicate muscatel notes with floral undertones. These qualities are in stark contrast to the bold flavours of heavy chocolate cakes and rich sandwich fillings.

So handle with care. Nevertheless, when made correctly, it can serve as a perfect accompaniment that takes the edge off other delicacies adorning your table.

Peppermint Tea is an Excellent Caffeine Free Alternative

Peppermint Tea is an Excellent Caffeine-Free Alternative

Are you concerned about the Effects of Caffeine? Do you find yourself yearning for something truly “out of the box”? Brewing up a cup of Loose Peppermint Tea might be the answer.

This is a caffeine-free Herbal Tea - one of the most popular ones at that. Though an unorthodox choice for an Afternoon Tea party at home, it makes for an excellent alternative if you’re avoiding so-called “real” Tea.

Peppermint Leaves, upon brewing, have a distinctly sweet, minty flavour with a lovely menthol aftertaste. They come with Peppermint Tea Benefits, too, but that’s another story (and another blog!).

You might even end up having certain food items that are, in fact, complemented by this particular Tea. Still, it is more likely you’ve gone with it because, well, Peppermint Tea is great.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

Making the Perfect Cup of Tea

The chances are that, by the time you want to put the kettle on, everything else - sandwiches, scones, cakes, etc. - will be ready and waiting. But it makes sense to talk you through “How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea” now while we’re on the topic.

We say “us,” but really, we will be leaning on the words of the late, great George Orwell (1903-1950), author of “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

George Orwell was a big fan of Tea. So much so that, in 1946, he published an article called “A Nice Cup of Tea.” What makes an Orwellian cuppa?

“First of all,” he wrote, “one should use Indian or Ceylonese Tea. I maintain that one strong cup of Tea is better than twenty weak ones.” He then noted: Some people add that one should only use freshly boiled water.” Sound advice.

But allow us, now, to go one step further. You will find below detailed instructions on how to make Black Tea, regardless of the variety, so that it tastes its best.

Much of the same rules apply when it comes to Peppermint Tea or other Herbal types - the primary difference being the brewing times. It will be Loose Leaf Tea we’re making here, so you’ll need a Tea Filter or Infuser. Here are the steps:

1, Fill Your Infuser or Fiter.

Add Loose Leaf Black Tea to one of these Accessories.

2, Boil Hot Water.

Use fresh water when you put the kettle on to ensure better oxygen levels and, ultimately, better taste. (If you live in a hard water area, you might want to try our Heritage Hard Water Tea.)

3, Wait Before Pouring.

Allow the water to cool to no more than 96°C.

4, Add the Filter or Infuser to Your Cup.

Place the Tea-filled accessory in a PORCELAIN cup. Porcelain has the least influence on the taste. Metal cups, in comparison, create an unwelcome metallic undertone.

5, Pour Freshly Boiled Water.

Fill the cup or mug with the hot water.

6, Allow it to Steep / Infuse.

Let the infusion steep for AT LEAST three minutes and NO MORE THAN five minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger it tastes. Past five minutes and it might start getting bitter.

7, Consider Additions.

Why not add milk, sugar, honey or lemon?

8, Time to Indulge.

Your Black Tea is ready to enjoy as part of your Afternoon Tea menu.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering about which comes first out of milk and Tea, Orwell has an answer. “One should pour Tea into the cup first.

This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject.

The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable.”)

Afternoon Tea Sandwich Ideas

Afternoon Tea Sandwich Ideas

You’ve decided on what finds its way into your Teapot and, in turn, your Teacup. You also know how to make it to perfection. That’s fantastic. But it’s just the beginning.

Rules of etiquette would dictate (not that you have to listen; enjoy your Afternoon Tea at home as you will) that sandwiches come next. You should, really, have an array of options - but what should you include in said array?

First, remember that what you consider “the best thing since sliced bread” might not be the same as someone else. What we’re trying to say here (in a somewhat cringe-worthy way) is that some might like white bread while others prefer brown or wholemeal.

Cater to as many tastes as you can, while at the same time ensuring that there isn’t an option that no one likes.

Your sliced bread should be sliced further so as to make finger sandwiches - the epitome of daintiness. Next, you’ll be asking yourself, “what goes in them?” We’re getting to it. Promise! The list below will showcase some of the traditional choices to think about for your Afternoon Tea menu ideas.

However, there are no wrong answers - apart, perhaps, from chip butties (as much as we love them!).

Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwiches - Sometimes Simple is Best

Did you know that cucumbers likely originate from India? (We didn’t until we researched this article… but maybe it’s just us.) It wasn’t until the 1300s, however, that they arrived in Britain.

Even then, it took many centuries - into the Victorian era - before someone thought to make a sandwich out of them. This may well have coincided with the time that Afternoon Tea first became widespread.

An Afternoon Tea party at home wouldn’t be the same without this simple yet wholesome delight. If you want to spice it up (not literally - unless that’s your style?), you could try it with a little salt and pepper.

Another alternative is to add a few mint leaves, perhaps even some dill. Both of these ingredients pair well with cucumber - as does cream cheese and, if the mood takes you, Marmite.

Ham and Mustard Sandwich

Add Ham and Mustard Sandwiches to Your Afternoon Tea Menu

We’ve watched “When Harry Met Sally.” If you’re looking for Afternoon Tea at home ideas, though, then you’ll care more about when ham met mustard. This combination is a match made in heaven.

As the name suggests, it includes your favourite pork meat accompanied by a fiery lathering of an ever-popular condiment. We probably don’t need to say this but we will, anyway: it is not suitable for vegetarians.

Let’s return to the notion of etiquette (and, well, common sense). If you have someone at your table who doesn’t eat meat, consider trading your share of vegetarian-friendly sandwiches for an extra helping of ham and mustard.

Don’t despair, either - you’re getting a good deal. This particular sandwich is indeed a favourite of many, especially among those who like their flavour hot!

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

A Fancy Option of Sandwich is Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is the product of curing fish (can you guess what kind?) with either hot or cold smoke. You could try doing it yourself, of course, but it would require a lot of time and commitment.

Your time might indeed be better spent finding delicious pairings for your ready-bought salmon (available in all good newsagents… that was a joke, we think.)

The most obvious addition would be that of cream cheese, although you’re more likely to find this combination in a bagel. Wild rocket, too, makes for a scrumptious inclusion - or even, if you’re feeling adventurous, a couple of slices of avocado.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Just remember, like ham and mustard, some people might not like fish. So plan accordingly.

Egg Sandwiches

Back to Basics with Egg Sandwiches

Smelly though it might be, an egg sandwich is a must-have for Afternoon Tea at home. The key ingredient here is, needless to say, the egg, to which mayonnaise is added.

Some might include cress or perhaps even a little seasoning. Salt, pepper and, if you’re looking to rock the boat, mustard or paprika make for delicious accompaniments to this ever-popular delight.

But what are the basics for making it? You’ll need to hard-boil the eggs, for starters, which will require a pan on heat with hot water. Once they’re ready, take them out of their shells, slice them, then mix in the mayonnaise (as well as anything else you’d like).

It’s as simple as that. In terms of etiquette, be aware of any guests who might not like the smell of eggs. Naturally, this is less of a problem with digital attendees!

Coronation Chicken sandwich

A British Favourite Are Coronation Chicken Sandwiches

Coronation chicken dates back to 1953. Its creation came about when renowned florist, Constance Spry, and cordon bleu chef, Rosemary Hume, catered for a banquet to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II.

The inspiration behind it, some say, was that of the ‘Jubilee Chicken’ created for George V’s silver jubilee in 1935. It promptly became a much-loved recipe for street parties across Britain.

Little has changed today - the only difference being that we don’t have to worry about post-war rationing. Its ingredients include chicken (surprise, surprise), mayonnaise, curry powder, cinnamon, chutney and sultanas together with some black pepper seasoning.

Despite sounding like a somewhat strange mix, the finished result is unquestionably well-suited to your Afternoon Tea menu.

Preparing Your Sandwiches

Preparing Your Sandwiches

We have, for the most, covered the key elements to preparing the above sandwiches. However, there are still more specifics in need of exploring.

When it comes to the bread you choose, most of the fillings call for a soft white loaf. Stronger flavours such as smoked salmon, on the other hand, might be better suited to equally strong bread varieties like whole wheat or pumpernickel.

Perhaps you’re still daunted by the task ahead. It is, after all, a lot of work organising an Afternoon Tea party at home, especially with so many sandwich types.

Your best bet, then, is to follow the instructions below. We will show you what, how and, arguably most important of all, when to start preparing your sandwiches. Make your life easier with these carefully planned stages:

1, Cook, Cool and Shed the Chicken.

Preheat the oven to 177°C, then season chicken breasts with olive oil and salt and bake them for 30 minutes. Once finished, allow them to cool and rip into 1½ inch pieces.

2, Add the “Coronation” to your Coronation Chicken Sandwiches.

Use a bowl to mix mayonnaise, curry powder, cinnamon, chutney and sultanas with black pepper. You can then add the shredded chicken and stir to coat in the sauce.

3, Move on to the Egg Sandwiches.

Begin by either cleaning your bowl or using another. Mash the hard-boiled eggs, then throw in some chopped watercress, mayonnaise and maybe some paprika or mustard until combined.

4, The Cucumber Sandwich Filling Comes Next.

Cut paper-thin slices of cucumber and consider chopping some dill, too. Also make a separate mixture of softened cream cheese, lemon zest and a pinch of salt (this will be used twice).

5, Enter Bread.

The time has come to start preparing the bread as the other two sandwiches varieties require minimal effort. Butter the appropriate amount of slices.

6, Complete the Last Two Sandwiches.

Spread a mustard of your choosing onto the bread, followed by ham. Separately, add a layer of the cream cheese mixture onto a different slice and over that, place smoked salmon. Finally, cut these sandwiches into rectangles.

7, Finish the First Three Sandwiches.

Now that everything’s ready, you can add your chicken mixture to one slice of bread and your egg mixture to another.

With the cucumber sandwich, you’ll first need to layer the cream cheese mixture and then the other ingredients. All that’s left is to cut them into shape.

8, Set Them Out for the Event.

The first course of your Afternoon Tea at home is complete.

Afternoon Savory Ideas

Afternoon Tea Savoury Ideas

If sandwiches aren’t your thing, then there are savoury alternatives for Afternoon Tea menu ideas. There is the option, for example, of “stealing” some of the items more commonly found in a High Tea.

You might well be wondering, “What is High Tea?,” and you’d be forgiven. This is the modest counterpart to Afternoon Tea, one that hasn’t quite found the spotlight in today’s world.

However, many hundreds of years ago, a High Tea was arguably more crucial to society than its classier cousin. It first became popular among the working classes of Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries.

While Afternoon Tea involved Duchesses, Baronesses and Ladies, High Tea catered to the needs of factory and mine workers coming home late in the evening.

Fundamentally, it became a meal unto itself rather than an “in-between” snack, usually served in the evening instead of the afternoon. Indeed, this was no frivolous pastime; it was a necessity to feed families.

Those partaking in it made items such as meat pies, fish dishes, baked goods (e.g. crumpets), boiled potatoes, vegetables, bread and crackers.

Suffice to say, having the aforementioned ingredients for your Afternoon Tea at home is a somewhat unusual decision. Yet that isn’t to suggest that they don’t work - they do. There are, of course, other options.

Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, our personal favourites are sausage rolls, cherry tomato tartlets and beetroot and sweet potato crisps.

Saussage Rolls

Sausage Rolls are as British as You Get

Where would British cuisine (two words rarely put together outside of Britain) be without the humble sausage roll?

The history of this meaty pocket of goodness arguably dates back to the Classical Greek or Roman eras. However, the modern sausage roll as we know and love it today appears to have been conceived at the beginning of the 19th century… in France.

That’s right - the savoury treat we all consider to be quintessentially British and Irish is, in fact, French. Despite such a bombshell, there is no denying that it makes for a great addition to your Afternoon Tea menu.

Now, either you can opt for the easy way and buy sausage rolls readymade, or you can choose to make them yourself. There are plenty of recipes available if you choose the latter.

Cherry Tomato Tartlets

Try Something Different with Cherry Tomato Tartlets

A cherry tomato tartlet is a light and fresh savoury accompaniment to your lunch. It is not a particularly well-known choice for Afternoon Tea at home ideas, although it is certainly a delicious one.

This is well-suited to those who want something a little different; to those who want to break free from the norm. If you want to surprise your guests, you’ve picked well here.

The catch is that it requires a bit of work to make. Ingredients include (but are not necessarily limited to) cherry tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry, cream cheese, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, chives and fresh basil leaves.

You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to make this scrumptious dish, and you’ll want to find a good recipe online.

Beetroot and Sweet Potatoes Crisps

Beetroot and Sweet Potato Crisps - An Excellent Afternoon Tea at Home Snack

Snackers will undoubtedly be beyond pleased to see beetroot and sweet potato crisps available at your Afternoon Tea party at home. This is again an unconventional addition, one that some traditionalists may indeed scoff at - but if you’re still reading, then you’re clearly not a traditionalist.

You want an event that is memorable, it would appear, and so you’ve decided to achieve just that with this enjoyable nibble.

You’re not going to outright satisfy appetites with beetroot and sweet potato crisps. Still, you will be offering a fantastic appetiser. Consider making them by first preheating the oven to 180°C, then thinly slicing the primary ingredients.

Next, combine them with sunflower oil before baking for 10-15 minutes. Finally, turn them over, bake for another 5 minutes, leave them to cool, and serve with a sprinkling of salt.

Afternoon Tea at Home Includes Jam, Cream and Scones

Afternoon Tea at Home Includes Jam, Cream and Scones

Our article so far has given you the lowdown on the best Teas for an Afternoon Tea at home. It has also thrown together several Afternoon Tea sandwich ideas - fillings and all - and suggested some other savoury accompaniments.

You probably already know what course follows: jam, clotted cream and (hopefully!) freshly baked scones. What’s not to like?

A Cream Tea, which involves the above items along with a nice cuppa, is often a standalone treat in itself. However, it also plays an essential role in the bigger picture that is an Afternoon Tea menu.

The jam, usually made from strawberries, and the cream, almost always of the clotted variety, will serve you well adorned on top of a lovely scone. Yet the order of placement is controversial, to say the least!

Will you have it the Devon way (cream first, then the jam) or will you follow Cornish traditions (jam before cream)? We won’t get into the debate - but we will urge you to be aware of your attendees, particularly if they come from Cornwall or Devon!

One thing that pleases everyone, regardless of regional differences, is the homemade quality to your food. Hence the instructions below.

How to Make Scones

How to Make Scones

You almost wouldn’t believe the types of scones available these days. Plain scones. Fruit scones. Ones with chocolate. Ones with cheese. Ones with bacon and cheese.

The possibilities appear almost endless. Yet we’re not here to overwhelm you, so allow us to offer only the basics. The following recipe will require self-raising flour, baking powder, butter, caster sugar, milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and eggs.

1, Start Preparations.

Preheat the oven to 220°C, then tip 350g of self-raising flour into a sizable bowl with a ¼ teaspoon of salt and baking powder. Mix it together.

2, Add Butter and Sugar to the Mixture.

Start by including 85g of butter, cut into cubes, and rub it in with your fingers until it looks like fine crumbs. Next, stir in 3 tablespoons of caster sugar.

3, Get the Milk Ready.

Place 175ml of milk into a heatproof vessel and microwave it for about 30 seconds until warm - NOT hot. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, along with a squeeze of lemon juice, and set it aside.

4, Combine the Two Mixtures.

Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the milk. You’ll now need to fold it in until it has thoroughly mixed together, at which point the dough will seem quite wet.

5, Dredge the Dough You’ve Made.

Scatter some additional flour onto a work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge it with your hands with even more flour, then fold it over 2-3 times until it’s smooth.

6, Now for the Shaping.

Pat your dough into a shape about 4cm deep. You’ll then need a 5cm cutter, dipped in flour, which you’ll plunge into the dough four times over to create four individual scones. Any dough that’s left can be made into more if you so wish.

7, Baking Can Commence.

Brush the top of your scones with a beaten egg and, finally, arrange them in a hot baking tray to go in the oven. Leave them for 10 minutes until risen and golden on the top.

8, Tuck in to Your Delicious Scones.

Choose to enjoy them as they are or - much better - make some jam and clotted cream.

How to Make Strawberry Jam

How to Make Strawberry Jam

Please don’t read anything into our writing, “How to Make Strawberry Jam,” before the clotted cream. We mean no offence, people of Devon! It’s just that we’ve ordered them by the length of time to make them.

Indeed, for the stages below, you’ll need to give yourself 12 hours - at least! You’ll also need 1kg of hulled strawberries, 750g of jam sugar and juice from a lemon.

1, Prepare the Strawberries.

Wipe - not wash - the strawberries down and hull each fruit. Do this by using a knife to cut a cone shape into the strawberry and remove the stem.

2, Add Sugar and Leave Overnight.

Place the strawberries in a bowl and gently toss through the sugar. You’ll then need to leave them uncovered at room temperature for around 12 hours.

This helps the sugar to dissolve, thus ensuring that the fruit doesn’t disintegrate too much while allowing them to keep their colour.

3, Put Two Saucers into the Freezer.

Strange though it might sound, it’ll help later in the process.

4, Put Mixture into a Pan.

Now back to the jam itself. Tip your mixture into a saucepan, along with some lemon juice, and set it over a low heat to cook gently.

5, Turn the Heat Up.

Once the sugar has completely dissolved, you can turn up the heat to start bubbling the jam, thereby bringing it to the boil.

6, Time to Test the Jam.

Your mixture should boil hard for around 5-10 minutes before you turn off the heat. Now, retrieve one of the saucers out of the freezer and spoon a little jam onto it.

Leave it for 30 seconds before pushing the substance with your finger. If it doesn’t run, it is ready. If it does, you’ll need to put it back on the heat and then bring out your spare saucer to try again.

7, Leave it to Settle.

Give the jam an extra 15 minutes to settle before putting it into sterilised jars.

8, Your Jam is Ready for Serving.

If you’re Cornish, spread the jam onto your scone first. If you’re Devonian, you’ll want to have it second. And if you’re from anywhere else, it’s up to you which way!

How to Make Clotted Cream

How to Make Clotted Cream

Where would a Cream Tea - and indeed an Afternoon Tea party at home - be without clotted cream?

Few people would go out of their way to make it. But you’re different. You want to impress. This moreish luxury originates from southwest England (i.e. Devon and Cornwall), consisting of cream made from at least 35% butterfat. What you do with it is as follows:

1, Get the Oven Ready.

Preheat your cooker to 80°C and have to hand two pints of heavy cream with high-fat content.

2, Now for the Cream.

Start by pouring it into an oven-safe dish. The larger, the better, as this will ensure you get the most out of your clotted cream.

3, Begin Baking.

Place your dish in the oven for a full 12 hours. Consider doing so overnight.

4, Time to Bring it Out.

Take the dish out of the oven. The cream should have a bubbly, yellow surface at this point.

5, Allow the Cream to Cool.

Let it cool at room temperature before covering it and putting it in the fridge overnight.

6, Store and Spread.

Once it has set the next day, spoon the firm clotted cream into a jar, leaving the liquor that has separated behind. You can now use it on your scones - along with the jam you’ve also created!

Afternoon Tea Cake Ideas

Afternoon Tea Cake Ideas

Dessert, anyone? You could argue that pudding begins with scones. You could even say that it starts with our Cream Earl Grey - should that be the brew you choose.

However, things get serious when it comes to Afternoon Tea cake recipes. Those with a particularly refined sweet tooth will be most looking forward to this part of the event, so try your best to get it right.

There are a plethora of Afternoon Tea dessert recipes worth baking. So many, in truth, that we couldn’t possibly cover them all in one article.

We have, therefore, selected four of the most common: Victoria Sponge, Lemon Drizzle, Carrot Cake and Chocolate Cake. Each one is bound to enthral your guests when done correctly. This is how you make them.

How to Make Victoria Sponge

How to Make Victoria Sponge Cake

The simple yet exquisite victoria sponge is a two-layer sponge-like cake containing jam and whipped cream. It takes its name from Queen Victoria (as does our Queen Victoria Tea, just for the record!) who, unlike the woman herself, preferred plainness in her desserts.

Plain, though, doesn’t mean boring. Why not find out for yourself with the following instructions?

1, Turn the Oven on and Prepare Utensils.

Begin by preheating the oven to 190°C. Next, butter two sandwich tins before lining them with non-stick baking paper.

2, Start Making the Mixture.

Beat 200g of caster sugar, 200g softened butter, 200g of self-raising flour, four eggs, one teaspoon of baking powder and two tablespoons of milk in a large bowl.

3, Pour it into the Tins.

Once your mixture is a smooth, soft batter, you can divide it into the tins. Be sure to then smooth out the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

4, On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake.

Bake the batter for 20 minutes, at which point it should be golden and spring back when pressed.

5, Allow Your Cake to Cool.

Consider using a cooling rack for the victoria sponge.

6, Now for the Filling.

Beat 100g of softened butter until it is creamy and smooth. You can then gradually beat in 140g of sifted icing sugar along with a drop of vanilla extract.

7, Combine the Ingredients.

Lay out the buttercream over the bottom of one of the sponges. On top of it, you can add 170g of strawberry jam before sandwiching it between the second sponge.

8, Add the Finishing Touches.

Use some icing sugar to dust over the sponge.

How to Make Lemon Drizzle Cake

How to Make Lemon Drizzle Cake

No one appears to know where the lemon drizzle cake came from - we’re just glad that it did. This sweet, citrusy pudding is another must-have component of an Afternoon Tea menu.

If your guests are anything like those here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, you’ll need a lot of it. The recipe below will ensure you have the finest lemon drizzle around.

1, Make the Usual Preparations.

You’re going to want to preheat your oven to 180°C here. Your cake tray, meanwhile, should be a square tin with baking parchment.

2, Next Focus on the Ingredients.

Whisk and beat butter and sugar together until this initial mixture is pale, light and fluffy.

Follow this with eggs and mix again, then add flour, baking powder, lemon zest, lemon curd and milk. Once more, mix it until all the ingredients have blended well.

3, The Baking Process Can Begin.

Pour the cake mixture into the tins and bake for around 25-30 minutes.

4, More Lemon and Sugar for the Topping.

You’ll need to mix more lemon and sugar before pouring it over the hot cake. Consider, too, having a fancier finish by making a feather icing.

5, Let it Cool and Serve.

Once the cake is cool, you can serve it as part of your Afternoon Tea menu.

How to Make Carrot Cake

How to Make Carrot Cake

This is another example of a cake with disputed origins. Food historians tend to believe it derived from carrot puddings eaten by Europeans during the Middle Ages.

During this period, sugar and sweeteners were expensive and many people, therefore, used carrots as a substitute for sugar. Whether such a theory is true or not, there is no denying carrot cake’s popularity for an Afternoon Tea.

1, Preheat the Oven and Retrieve Your Baking Tins.

Your cooker should be at heats of 180°C. Similar to the victoria sponge, you’ll also want two cake tins with baking parchment.

2, The Mixture-Making Comes Next.

Get yourself 100g of natural yoghurt, four eggs, vanilla, 230ml of vegetable oil and orange zest in a jug and whisk them together.

Separately, mix 265g of self-raising flour, 335g of sugar, two teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg with a sizable pinch of salt in a bowl.

3, Combine the Dry and Wet Ingredients.

Bring the two mixtures together - in addition to 265g of grated carrots, 100g of raisins or sultanas, and 50g of chopped walnuts or pecans.

4, Divide and Bake.

Place an equal amount of the batter in each of the tins, then bake for 25-30 minutes.

5, Move on to the Icing.

While the cake itself cools, beat 100g of butter and 300g of icing sugar together until smooth. You can now add 100g of soft cheese before beating again.

6, Complete the Cake’s Creation.

Remove the cakes from the baking trays and sandwich them together using half of the icing. Finally, add the remaining icing to the top along with some scattered walnuts.

How to Make Chocolate Cake

We couldn’t possibly talk about Afternoon Tea parties in your home without mentioning the beloved chocolate cake. Its history arguably dates back to 1764, when Dr. James Baker found out how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two circular millstones.

Its inclusion in cakes, in particular, began in the United States in 1886. Recipes have changed a little since then - such as this one:

1, Make Sure Everything is Set and Ready.

Ensure the oven, as always, has had time to heat up - in this instance, to 190°C. You can also butter the base and sides of two round sandwich tins before lining them with baking parchment.

2, Begin the Process of Making the Cake Itself.

Get yourself a large bowl, then beat together 200g of caster sugar, 200g of softened butter, four large eggs and 200mg of self-raising flour.

Additionally, you need two tablespoons of cocoa powder, one teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, two tablespoons of milk and some salt. It should be pale once you’ve finished.

3, Pour it Into the Tins.

Divide the batter between the baking tins and place each one in the oven for 20 minutes.

4, Create the Buttercream.

While the cake cools on the side, place 100g of chopped milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. This, too, should be left to cool.

5, Move on to Other Ingredients.

Crush 200g of softened butter and 400g of icing sugar together before sifting in five tablespoons of cocoa powder with a pinch of salt.

Once you’re done, pour the melted chocolate, along with two tablespoons of milk, into it and mix until smooth.

6, Complete the Cake.

Sandwich the cakes together using half of the buttercream, then spread the rest on top. There is the option of making chocolate shards for decoration if you so wish.

You Have Everything You Need for an Afternoon Tea at Home

You Have Everything You Need for an Afternoon Tea at Home

Congratulations - you’ve made it to the end of this huge article and you now know how to host an Afternoon Tea party at home. You know what is expected, including the decorations, the Loose Leaf Tea, the sandwiches, the savouries, the scones and the cakes.

Perhaps best of all, for the most, you know how to make them. Now for the fun bit: enjoying yourself.

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as Afternoon Tea.”

― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.