Introduction: How to Make a British Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is a meal that originated in Britain. People go to restaurants to have afternoon tea as well as make it in their homes. Afternoon tea involves three different courses served over an average of two hours. These directions will teach you how to make a different recipe for each course.

Step 1: Make the Tea

The traditional British way of serving tea is in a teapot, so loose leaf tea is required. You may choose any loose leaf tea you like. This kind of tea typically comes in metal tins that you can purchase at the grocery store. You will need an electric tea kettle, a teapot, and a tea strainer to prepare the tea.


2 tsp of loose tea leaves


1.) Boil the water. Fill the electric tea kettle up to the maximum level of water. It should reap about seven cups of tea. Turn the tea kettle on after pouring the water inside. Let it boil for two to three minutes. Make sure the tea is boiled to ensure the water will retain flavor in the next step.

2.) Add the tea leaves. Put the strainer inside the teapot. While measuring tea leaves, use one teaspoon per person and one extra. After measuring the tea leaves, place them inside of the strainer.

3.) Combine the water and the tea. Pour the hot water inside the pot on top of the strainer. Make sure all the tea leaves are soaking in water. Put the teapot lid back on so it instills heat. Steep the leaves for three minutes, so the flavor thoroughly infuses in the water. Pour the tea into a mug or teacup to drink. If you wish to add milk or lemon juice, you can do so before or after the tea is poured.

Step 2: Sandwiches

The first course for afternoon tea is sandwiches. They are small in size, usually two to three bites per piece. Cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches are the most common for this course. You need two slices of bread. I used whole wheat, but you can use white bread. You will need a knife to help construct the shape and ingredients of the sandwich.


1 English Cucumber

Cream Cheese

2 Slices of Bread

1.) Spread the cream cheese. Using a knife, spread the cream cheese on each slice of bread.

2.)Cut the cucumber. Slice them into thin pieces. Then, place the cucumber pieces onto one of the pieces of bread. Use as many necessary to cover the whole slice.

3.) Cut the bread. Put the slice of bread with just cream cheese on top of the slice with cucumber. Cut the crusts off with a knife. Place a hand on top of the sandwich to hold it in place as you cut. It will be in the shape of a square. Cut it diagonally into two pieces to finish the sandwiches.

Step 3: Scones

Scones make up the second course of afternoon tea. I will detail how to make English scones in this section.


2 cups of flour.

¼ cup of sugar.

1 tbsp & 1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt.

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1 egg

½ cup whipping cream.

1.) Mix the dry ingredients. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl until well combined. Cut the butter into small pieces and put them into the bowl. Mix it until the butter resembles small peas.

2.) Combine the wet ingredients. Add the egg and the heavy cream with the flour mixture. Stir the dough with a fork instead of using a mixer. This prevents the risk of overmixing. Continue to mix until the dough holds together. Add a teaspoon of heavy cream to the mixture at a time and stir if it's too dry. Repeat this process until it reaches a dough-like consistency.

3.) Knead and cut the dough. Take the dough out of the bowl once it starts holding together. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough two to three times. Then, divide the dough in half into a ¾ inch thick rounds. Roll each half of dough into six balls.

4.) Preheat oven and bake the dough. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the dough balls on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure they are at least an inch apart. This gives them space, so they don’t mold together while baking. Put in the scones in the oven for fifteen minutes. If the edges of the rolls are golden after fifteen minutes, take them out of the oven.

Step 4: Jam and Clotted Cream

Jam and clotted cream go with the scones. There are different ways people prefer to eat their scones. I will detail one way people eat scones in England.


Jar of raspberry jam

Jar of clotted cream (you can substitute this with whipped cream)

1.) Break the scone apart. The scone needs to be torn in half to eat with clotted cream and jam.

2.) Add jam and clotted cream. Gather jam on a knife, and smear it on one side of the scone. Do the same with the clotted cream. If you could not find clotted cream at the store, use whipped cream.

3.) Combine. Put the two sides together like you are making a sandwich and eat.

Step 5: Lemon Tea Cookies

The third course of afternoon tea consists of desserts. I chose a tea-themed cookie for my afternoon tea, known as biscuits in England. Tea bags have leaves that are more grounded and better for this recipe than the ones you would find in loose leaf containers. You will also need a lemon zester and juicer.


2 sticks of butter.

½ cup and 1 tbsp sugar.

4 tsp of chamomile tea leaves.

Pinch of salt.

1 zested lemon

1 juiced lemon (1/4 cup).

2 cups of flour.

¾ cup and 2 tbsp cornstarch.

1.) Mix the ingredients. Mix the softened butter and sugar in a bowl. Then, cut chamomile tea bags open to get the tea leaves out. It takes three bags to get enough tea leaves. Measure out four teaspoons of tea leaves and put them in the bowl. Lastly, add a pinch of salt to the mixture.

2.) Zest the lemon and juice. Zest the lemon until all of the skin is off the lemon. Put the lemon zest in the bowl. Cut the lemon in half. Use a lemon juicer to get all the juice out each half. Make sure to take out any seeds that fall into juice. Pour the juice into the mixture.

3.) Sift. Get out another bowl and combine the cornstarch and the flour. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the sugar. Stir it all together until it turns into dough.

4.) Shape the dough and freeze. Flour a surface and roll out the dough on top of it. Roll until it’s about three inches thick. Cut the dough into squares. You can make them into any shape, but this is the easiest. Put them onto a baking sheet with parchment paper on top. Set the baking sheet into the freezer for twenty minutes.

5.) Bake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the cookies into the oven for twenty minutes. Take them out after twenty minutes and let them cool down. Put a dash of sugar on top of each cookie.

Step 6: Serve

After completing each course, it's time to eat!

1.) Serve the tea first. Let yourself and any guest joining you for afternoon tea have a cup before bringing out any of the food you have prepared.

2.) Put each course on a separate plate. This helps people eat each course in order. First is the sandwiches, then the scones and last is the desserts.

3.) Enjoy yourself! Afternoon tea is a leisurely meal. Sit back, relax, and engage in a great conversation while eating these delicious treats.