The Magic in the tea with a lemon slice.
In the past whether you took "afternoon tea" or "high tea" was a peek into your social standing. Afternoon Tea was a light elegant meal served between a light lunch and late dinner, usually between 3 o'clock and 5 o'clock, and was mainly confined to the aristocracy with their leisurely lifestyle. High Tea was a more substantial meal, including meat and/or fish, and was really a early dinner which well suited the middle and lower classes after a long day at work.
Served from a teapot, the brewing of the tea is very important. First, rinse your teapot with warm water. Next, bring a kettle of water to boil and pour it over the tea leaves, letting it steep for three to five minutes. If using loose tea the rule is one heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup of water, plus one teaspoon "for the pot".
At one time it was customary to first pour a little milk into the teacup. It was thought that the fine porcelain cup may crack if the hot tea was poured directly into the empty cup. Sugar was then offered in cube form, with tongs, or else granulated. Normally the host or hostess pours the tea and serves the food. Guests can either be seated around a table or else in armchairs with an end table nearby for them to place their cup and saucer, teaspoon, plate, napkin, knife and fork.
There is a wonderful assortment of fine teas available today. The three main types are: Black, Oolong or Red, and Green Tea. Assam, Ceylon, China Caravan, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Keemun, Kenya, Lapsang Souchong, Nilgiri, Orange Pekoe, Rose Pouchong, Russian, and Yunnan are Black Teas. Formosa/China Oolong and Formosa/China Pouchong are Oolong or Red Teas, and Gunpowder and Jasmine are Green Teas. Tea is sold either in tea bags or loose tea leaves. At one time loose tea with its large leaves had a superior flavor as tea bags were made with broken tea leaves and siftings that produced a stronger darker tea. The introduction of fine quality tea bags has changed that and now the choice between loose tea leaves or tea bags is based more on personal preference.