How to Go “Full British” at Tea Time

There are lots of ways to enjoy tea. None seems more emblematic, though, that the “full British” tea time. But how do you achieve that? Here are some ways.

Use British-style Teawares

British-style teawares are, by definition, anything that fits that tradition of the uniquely British tea time, whether it’s tea with a “full English” breakfast, Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea, or High Tea (often confused with Afternoon Tea but actually served later and usually including a meat dish). This usually means a sturdy teapot for steeping (the Brown Betty is a prime example — somehow it still says “British Tea Time” when you use it, and it makes great tea and keeps that tea nice and warm for longer than other teapots), nice cups and saucers for properly enjoying a cuppa or two, milk jug and sugar bowl, and a tiered plate loaded with goodies.

The tiered tray, loaded with goodies, is a hallmark of a true British tea time! (ETS image)
The tiered tray, loaded with goodies, is a hallmark of a true British tea time! (ETS image)

Steep a British Fave Tea

Certain brands of tea are to the British like some brands are to us Americans. The top sellers there are:

  • PG Tips — As of the year 2000, the #1 tea brand in the UK, 35 million cups drunk daily. More info.
  • Twinings — A legacy of nearly 300 years and sales of nearly 200 types of teas in more than 100 countries worldwide. More info.
  • Typhoo — Established in 1903 and noted for their numerous brands of tea sold in many countries. More info.

Also popular there are these tea brands: Fortnum & Mason, Harrisons & Crosfield, Barry’s Tea, Bewley’s Tea, Taylors of Harrogate, D.J. Miles, Glengettie, Lifeboat, Dr. Stuart’s Teas, Hu-Kwa Tea, Heath & Heather, and Brook Bond.

Lots of choice, and each guaranteed to help you go “full British” at tea time.

Serve Some Traditional British Foods

The British are not known for their culinary abilities. On the contrary, they are often the butt of jokes in that department (as seen on the highly popular U.S. series Frasier). Add to that the very odd names some of their traditional foods have and you can see why there is a Chinese restaurant in virtually every town in the U.S. but not a British one. Here are some top dishes there, any of which will give your tea time that “full British” air:

  • Fish and Chips — Fish such as cod and haddock coated with a flour batter and deep fried, then served with “chips” (what we call “French fries”) and malt vinegar.
  • Bangers and Mash — Mashed potatoes and sausages (called “bangers” because during wartime rationing they contained so much water they often exploded when fried).
  • Yorkshire Pudding — Served as part of the main course or as a starter. Made from flour, eggs, and milk, baked in the oven, and usually moistened with gravy.
  • Toad-in-the-Hole — Basically a Yorkshire Pudding with sausages put in the batter before cooking.
  • Bubble and Squeak  — Vegetables left over from the Sunday roast that are chopped, along with any cold meat left over, and fried in a pan with mashed potatoes until brown on the sides and cooked thoroughly.
  • Shepherds’ Pie — Minced lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes. You can take a shortcut making it with this mix.
  • Steak and Kidney pie — Chopped beef, kidneys, onions, mushrooms and beef stock with a pastry crust that is baked until crisp and brown.
  • Cornish pasties — An baked pastry case filled with diced meat, potato, onion and suet.
  • Cheeses — Cheddar, Stilton, Red Leicester, Cheshire, Double Gloucester, Caerphilly, Derby, Lancashire, and Wensleydale.
  • Clotted Cream — Thick creams are absolutely delicious, a cross between ice cream and butter. Store unopened in a cool place without refrigeration for months. Once opened, they should be consumed within 3 days.
  • Scones — A heavy pastry that gets baked and then topped with clotted cream, jam, butter, or other options.
  • English Crumpets — Tasty “muffins” that are toasted and spread with butter and preserves.
  • Spotted Dick — A sponge pudding “spotted” with sultanas and raisins.
  • Trifle — Layers of sponge cake alternating with custard, jam or fruit, and whipped cream.
  • Mince Pies — Little pies filled with mincemeat or often a raisin mixture, and sometimes brandy or rum. Buy a jar of mix to make your own.
  • Treacle pudding — A steamed pudding with a syrup topping.
  • Custards — A rich milky sauce perfect for many puddings and desserts. It is also an essential part of any trifle.

No matter where you are in the world you will be going “full British” at tea time with these.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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