Afternoon Tea: 5 facts about this favoured British pastime


National Afternoon Tea Week begins today. For details, see afternoontea.co.uk. Meanwhile, here are a few tea-related facts to sip.

  1.  Afternoon tea began around 1840 as an idea of the Duchess of Bedford to deal with the problem that she got hungry between lunch and dinner.
  2. At first, she just had tea and a snack alone in her boudoir, but soon began to invite friends.
  3. The terms ‘low tea’ and ‘high tea’ were coined according to whether tea was taken at low coffeestyle tables or high dinner tables.
  4. Tea bags were first made of silk and contained samples of Thomas Sullivan’s tea in 1908.
  5. The Cockney ryhming slang “Rosie Lee” for tea dates back to 1901. Its origin is unknown but cannot be connected to the burlesque artiste Gypsy Rose Lee who was not born until 1911.


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