Get the Scoop on High Tea With This Comprehensive Guide

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What is High Tea all about? Or do you want to learn more about traditional British afternoon tea? Whether you are a novice or an expert, this comprehensive guide will provide all the answers.

We’ll explain exactly what high Tea entails and how it differs from other types of tea ceremonies in England. We will also cover how to set up a high tea, make it unique, and the best English tea sets and brands. Plus, we’ll even provide tips on where to buy the best English tea sets, including the selection of English tea sets available from, so that you can start your High Tea affair.

By the end of this guide, you should better understand what High Tea is, how it is structured, and what goes into making it memorable. So let’s get started!

What Is Traditional British Afternoon Tea?

You may have heard of “high tea” but what exactly is traditional British afternoon tea? Afternoon tea is a type of light meal between lunch and dinner. This meal typically consists of three tiers: sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and desserts. Sandwiches are usually filled with cucumber, smoked salmon, egg or chicken salad, or other classic sandwich fillings. Scones with clotted cream are traditional English delicacies that best pair with your favorite English tea. The third tier usually offers various small cakes, biscuits or pastries like macarons, cupcakes, and cookies. You can also find seasonal fruits like strawberries and other snacks to round out your afternoon tea experience.

Proper afternoon tea also requires the right tea sets. Luckily there are a variety of top English Tea set brands that offer exquisite designs and quality craftsmanship to make your high Tea special.

Difference Between High Tea and Afternoon Tea

You may have heard the terms’ high tea’ and ‘afternoon tea’ being used interchangeably, but in fact, they are two very different customs. Afternoon tea is more suited for special occasions, such as bridal or baby showers, birthday parties, or a nice treat for yourself and a few friends. It typically includes daintier sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and an optional selection of scones with clotted cream or preserves.

High Tea, however, refers to a heavier meal eaten in the late afternoon or early evening—it’s almost like a light dinner. Sandwiches are swapped out for savory dishes like quiche, pâté and other warm items like boiled eggs. Sweet treats like cakes and scones are still included in the meal, but you’ll also find heartier options such as tarts and fruit pies.

If you’re preparing high Tea for your next event, consider investing in beautiful china sets to elevate the experience—essential to creating an authentic English high tea affair!

Setting Up for a High Tea

If you’re ready to throw your high Tea, you’ll need the proper setup. Start by selecting the table and seating. Choose one large enough to accommodate all your guests comfortably, and add a tablecloth that coordinates with your chosen tea set.

Next, add tea cups, saucers, a teapot with a filter or infuser, a milk jug, a sugar bowl, tongs, or a spoon. Plenty of beautiful sets in various materials, styles, and colors exist. Complete the look with side plates for sandwiches and pastries, and some vintage accessories such as a cake stand or an ornamental cake plate for extra display pieces.

For a more dramatic effect, you can also include teacups with matching teapots on individual trays in the center of each guest area so guests can serve themselves when they are ready to pour themselves a cup of Tea. Finally, remember the finger sandwiches, scones, and other pastries that complete the traditional high tea menu.

Making a High Tea Special

Making a high tea special requires attention to detail! To create a luxurious atmosphere, focus on the little things. Here are some tips for making your high Tea feel extra special:


  • Choose beautiful cloth napkins and fine china for a truly decadent experience.
  • Add fresh flowers to your tablescape.
  • Use specialty linens and decorative silverware for each place setting, such as ornate spoons, forks, and knives, or classic cutlery with gemstone handles.
  • Set the mood with background music or conversation cards at each place setting.
  • Serve traditional finger sandwiches and sweet scones with Devonshire cream and homemade jam.
  • Make sure to have a variety of teas on hand so your guests can choose their favorite!

What Are the Tea Sets Needed for an English High Tea?

You’ll need a few items to host an authentic high tea at home confidently. Depending on how many people you invite and your style preference, you can find a variety of tea sets to match any budget – and make your friends envious.

One must-have is the teapot. Choose one that’s sturdy and heat-resistant, with an airtight lid, so you don’t have to worry about it boiling over. Once you have the perfect pot, pick out coordinating teacups and saucers. Please ensure they’re double-wall, so they don’t heat up in your guest’s hands quickly! A milk or cream jug is also essential for adding extra sweetness to an English breakfast tea.

Finally, complete your set with cake stands and tiered trays to display all the delicious goodies you put together for the high Tea. The best high tea trays are made from stainless steel with intricate designs for added sophistication. Don’t forget to include dishes for sugar cubes, teaspoons – and even sugar tongs!

Once you’ve got all the pieces laid out before you, you’ll be ready to bring English high Tea into your home.

Top English tea set brands

When it comes to high Tea, there are quite a few English Tea set brands that you should consider. From classic designs to elegant and modern collections, each brand offers something unique.

Here are the top English tea set brands:

Denby Pottery

With over 200 years of experience creating beautiful stoneware, Denby Pottery is a recognized leader in quality and design. Their high-end tableware offers a range of styles and patterns perfect for giving your afternoon tea table an elegant touch.


This iconic British brand is renowned for its timeless elegance and traditional patterns. From teacups to cake stands, Wedgwood offers many pieces that will add luxury and sophistication to your high tea experience.

Emma Bridgewater

This British brand specializes in pottery with bold designs inspired by rural life in England. Emma Bridgewater’s colorful and imaginative pieces will bring charm and character to any tea set.

Royal Doulton

Royal Doulton has been producing fine-quality china for over 150 years. Their classic teapots, teacups, plates, cake stands, and more combine sophistication with practicality – perfect for hosting a luxurious but comfortable high tea at home.

Whether you’re looking for something traditional or unique, these English brands offer a range of quality pieces that will help make your high tea extra special.

Where to Buy the Best English Tea Sets?

When it comes to traditional English tea sets, quality is critical. Many brands sell tea sets, but some are better than others.

Here are some of the best brand names to look for when shopping for a high-quality tea set:

1. Royal Doulton: Royal Doulton has been making beautiful ceramics since 1815 and is one of the most well-recognized names in English china. Their classic and timeless designs make them an excellent choice for any high Tea type.

2. Wedgwood: Wedgwood is renowned for its luxurious collections combining timeless style and contemporary design. The brand also offers a range of unique teaware designs, from classic teapots to modern mugs and cups, perfect for a sophisticated afternoon tea setting.

3. William Edwards: William Edwards is another established name in English china, offering traditional designs inspired by iconic patterns from centuries past. Whether you’re looking for something modern or more classic, you’ll find something to suit your needs with this brand.

4. Royal Worcester: As one of the oldest ceramic brands in England, Royal Worcester has been making fine china since 1751 and is renowned worldwide for its exquisite pieces made with masterful craftsmanship using traditional techniques.

5. Churchill China: If you’re looking for something more playful or quirky with your high tea setting, Churchill China has something special for you! The brand specializes in whimsical designs that combine traditional elements with humor and fun vibes – making them perfect for adding sparkle to your afternoon tea gathering!


High Tea has long been an English tradition, and it’s even more special when high-quality tea sets are used. When selecting the best tea sets, choosing one that reflects your style can make your high tea experience even more memorable. There are many options, ranging from classic designs to more contemporary styles. Knowing what’s available and the nuances of different brands can help ensure you get the perfect tea set for your high Tea. With that knowledge, you’re ready to enjoy a proper English high tea experience with style and grace.

Also Read: Ziggi’s Coffee Up for New Franchisees in Colorado Springs



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