Afternoon tea is a staple of tea traditions, and is most strongly associated with English customs. For big tea drinkers, who tend to drink tea all the time, sometimes all those teatimes end up blurring together. However, traditions exist for a reason, and recently I have been rediscovering the merits of afternoon tea as an essential part of my tea day.
What exactly do I mean by afternoon tea? This is important to clarify, as the phrase can be confusing. As a fellow blog author pointed out a while back, there is afternoon tea and afternoon tea. For the purposes of this article, I am not referring to Afternoon Tea, or High Tea as it sometimes called, where sandwiches, or scones accompany the tea. Neither am I referring to lighter black teas specially blended for afternoon consumption. Rather, I am using the term to indicate the taking of tea during the mid-afternoon—that point in the day where you just need a little something to keep you going. This may take the form of a lighter black “afternoon” tea, but it also may not. And upon occasion a scone, muffin, or other tasty snack may accompany it, but not necessarily. The point is more about the timing than the content of the teatime.
As someone who drinks a lot of tea, inevitably I end up drinking tea in the afternoon. Sometimes more than once. Sometimes more than twice… But when constantly sipping tea through the day, it becomes less about teatimes than blurry, continuous tea drinking; although I am drinking a lot of tea, I do not specifically stop to enjoy a teatime purely devoted to tea. While being in a constant state of tea drinking can be a delightful thing, I have recently rediscovered the merits of intentionally taking time out to have afternoon tea. As I said, traditions exist for a reason. Mid-afternoon is usually when I start to run low on energy and find it harder to focus. So rather than pushing on with what I am doing, I have started to allow myself to take a tea break in order to recollect and refuel. What tea I drink, and whether I have a snack with it depends on how I am feeling that day. The key point is that is a teatime, not a tea-while-I-work-time.
It may not be the Afternoon Tea of cucumber sandwiches, and scones with clotted cream, but my rediscovered afternoon teas have become an essential milestone in my tea day that leave me feeling more productive and energised.
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