Afternoon tea is one of those thing equated with old British ladies who enjoy crumbly scones and something called a crumpet. If this is how you view afternoon or high tea too, then let me tell you that it is so much more. I'm not old, British or curmudgeony, but I love tea. I want to show you why!
It saves you money
As a budget traveler, I'm a fan of things that save me money. Though afternoon tea can seem a little expensive (and in some cases it's actually not a deal), you have to compare it to how much lunch and dinner would cost you together. Here's how I like to have my tea: Eat breakfast a little later than usual (10am is good) and then book your afternoon tea after normal lunch times - around 3pm is ideal. There is normally so much to eat on your tea tray that it fills you up and you may not be hungry again until after dinner. This is when we hit up a place for happy hour to have a little nosh and avoid buying a full meal.
If you've ever gone to tea, you'll know that it's not just a bunch of old people sitting around talking about their 401K benefits and grandkids. There is generally a mix of ages, the room feels completely decadent - plush chairs, silverware, fancy china and artwork - and often there is a group or more celebrating something. Many teas come with a glass of wine or champagne and it's also the perfect time to just kick back and relax.
Get a variety
I'm a fan of variety. If I go to a regular restaurant for lunch, I'm pretty much just limited to individual entrees. Boring. Getting several dishes involves either ordering a bunch of appetizers or sharing entrees with Eric (which I am definitely not opposed to, but then I still only get two things). Your tea tray should have three tiers. One tier is scones, one tier is finger sandwiches and one tier is tiny desserts. Who doesn't love that sort of variety? Some teas have more choices than just your three-tier tray. I've been to ones that have a fruit course and others can include soup or salad. Every tea is different.
I love trying local cuisine and when you go to tea, you'll end up being served tea nibbles with a local twist. is salmon or cranberries or sourdough something you can find in excess at your destination? Then chances are you will find it in some form on your tea tray. It's definitely exciting to see a traditional tea item served a different way. You'll also find specialty teas on the menu as well. It's all well and good to order Early Grey over and over, but why not try something a little different?
It's a tradition
Though the British have slacked off on the traditional, all out afternoon and high tea service, tea has not gone out of style. Whether you're in London, Paris, Vancouver or even Los Angeles, afternoon tea can be something to add to your itinerary. You'll feel fancy, leave full and ready to get on with your trip.
Where's your favorite place to have afternoon tea?