"Afternoon tea" in Great Britain is a real tradition.
It is a custom that was established by the seventh Duchess of Bedford in the 19th century.
At the time, lunch was taken early and supper very late so the duchess made a habit of taking tea in the afternoon between three and four o'clock together with a light meal.
She began inviting her friends to join her and therefore started a tea fashion enjoining an immediate success.
When "afternoon tea" was established, it gave rise to many artefacts, utensils, cakes... The tea caddies, tea-cosies, tea balls, tea strainers, sugar bowls, milk jugs, tiny porcelain teacups, silver teapots, scones with jam and cottled cream, typical cakes, muffins, crumpets, are all creations to bring out the best in tea, both in its the serving and in its drinking; all essential part of the English way of making tea.
Today, as in the 19th century, friends or family are still invited around for tea even if tea is drank several time a day with tea breaks on work place as well.
On elegant tea meeting, milk, sugar and lemon are always provided to everyone's tastes.
Tea is prepared following five cardinal rules that are typically British and are most suited to the type of tea that is drunk in England, strong broken leaf black tea, usually a mixture of African and Ceylon teas:
• warm the teapot with boiling water
• add one teaspoon of tea per person plus one for the pot,
• pour hot water onto the leaves,
• brew for three up to five minutes,
• stir once and serve.