Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Afternoon Tea: A Brief History

Tea is in…again. It keeps making a comeback. There are tea rooms springing up. And even some of my die hard coffee drinking friends find themselves making room for a cup of tea. Most of us have a hint of the history of tea. Its roots are Asian. While the British have made a lovely ritual of afternoon tea, they did not know about tea until the 1700s. In fact, the ritual itself began when Ann, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, looked for a way to curb her hunger and low energy in the late afternoons. This was already early 19th century when she happened upon tea and a light meal, scones and bread and butter sandwiches. She liked the idea so much she asked her friends over. They spread the practice with their friends and soon others in the upper classes were incorporating the ritual into their days. Eventually, the practice spread to the middle and lower classes. Tea rooms opened and a business was born. Interestingly enough, the notion of “high tea” grew from the lower classes who used the late afternoon meal as a main meal and introduced meats and potatoes.

Capabilities is hosting an afternoon tea on Friday, September 14 at 2 p.m. We bought a new collection of gourmet and health teas from The Teaspot in Boulder, Colorado. We thought what better way to sample the teas but with a few yummy scones and cucumber sandwiches. We asked Sue Wood, Activities Director at The Retreat at Church Ranch and former U.K. resident, to join us with her stories of afternoon tea. She and her mother are providing the traditional fare. Rob Cooke of The Teaspot will host the tasting with samples of their delicious collection.

So, pause a bit on Friday and come on over to Capabilities if you are in the metro Denver area. You might enjoy it so much you’ll start your own tradition of afternoon tea…just like the seventh Duchess of Bedford!

We’ll do more on tea in the coming weeks as we focus on its origins and health benefits. In the meantime, tell us about your favorite tea and goodie to go with it.

See all the details for this Friday’s event (and others) and RSVP for this unique Capabilities experience in our Events section.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Wow! A couple weeks ago my wife and I discovered the Tea Spot in Boulder. Not only is the tea room itself perfectly mellow and relaxing, but their Earl Grey tea is simply the best I have ever tasted.

I'll be sure to visit Capabilities on Friday for the event!