Afternoon Tea: A Very British Refreshment


British Afternoon TeaBritain is, admittedly (and often unfairly) not exactly renowned for its food. But perhaps the most famous meal to come from British culture is afternoon tea, which originated with the wealthy classes of England in the 1840s. It may come as a surprise that something so often thought of as a traditional part of the culture is a relatively new tradition, although tea drinking, having been imported from China, had been popularized in England by King Charles II way back in the 1660s. Tradition holds that afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The fashion among the upper classes at the time was for the evening meal to be served at the relatively late time of eight o’clock, meaning that there was a long gap in between lunch and dinner. The Duchess, feeling the effects of the long wait, asked that a tray of tea and bread and butter be brought to her room, and afternoon tea was born when she began inviting her friends to join her. By the 1880s, women were changing into gloves, hats and gowns for their afternoon tea, which would be served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock. Today, afternoon tea at the Montcalm London city at the brewery hotel usually comprises a selection of small sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam. As the nineteenth century wore on, tea rooms soared in popularity, and came to play a part in social progress as they were one of the few places deemed appropriate for women to go without a chaperone. Music was added to proceedings, and the fashionable young things of British society attended tea dances in London’s most stylish hotels, a connection which abides to this day. Which blend of tea should be served is a matter of personal taste and has long been a point of debate. Traditionally, afternoon tea blends are light, and only loose tea is used. Fortnum & Mason’s Afternoon Blend is a light tea which brings together leaves from the higher and lower regions of Ceylon.

Tea & Cake
At The Montcalm at the Brewery London City Hotel , afternoon tea pays homage to this great British tradition while bringing it into the 21st century with a range of options, including classic Champagne afternoon tea, a Gentleman’s tea, and a healthy Tea-Tox option, complete with crudités, Severn & Wye smoked salmon, bran muffins and granola bars to complement a range of exquisite Jing teas.Many tourists, looking for the classic British afternoon tea experience, love our traditional afternoon tea, which comes with an assorted selection of sandwiches, homemade scones with jam from Preston Hall in Suffolk, Devonshire clotted cream, and a selection of afternoon sweets and cakes, all for just £20.00 per person. If you’re looking to mark a special occasion, why not upgrade to the Champagne afternoon tea, served with Joseph Perrier Champagne, for just £27.00 per person.

Our afternoon tea is available from Monday to Friday, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, and is served in the hotel’s restaurant, the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms.