“May I have a word?” Is a question the English asked whenever a response was needed; when an enlightenment was forthcoming; when a warning was necessary; when one’s idea was politely given. Indeed this attention arresting question was rather a civilized way to invoke a time to meet, a time for tea. In Mexico today we might politely ask “Te gustaria conocer para el te?” Just like in the past, ladies like to gather to get to know one another in a private setting of beauty. It is for this reason this “Afternoon Tea” has been organized. I hope you enjoy the history of ladies meeting for the simple purpose of conversing freely while sipping tea and enjoying various sweets. There are many ideas about tea etiquette and the when and how tea was first made popular in England. Charles the II was exposed to the custom of drinking tea when he married Catherine of Braganza who enjoyed tea immensely. Catherine grew up drinking tea in Portugal. Tea was the preferred beverage of the time. She arrived in England to marry Charles II in 1662 and she brought with her a casket of tea. She became known as England’s first tea-drinking queen. In England she invited her female friends into her bedroom chamber to share tea, therefore, the initial custom of tea sipping women began within a lady’s bedchamber. The tea itself and the delicate pieces of porcelain for drinking tea were displayed in a special tea closet. Inventories of porcelain and tea during the 17th and 18th centuries were not stored in kitchens or dining rooms but in small private closets or boudoirs. In the 18th century it was custom for highborn ladies to receive male callers with their morning tea while wearing elaborate nightgowns and most comfortably in their private chambers. Tea and Coffeehouses became vastly popular in the 18th century and women were forbidden to enter them. Alas, the women of the day chose to meet in their bedchambers instead. In 1675 members of the government attempted to persuade the king to suppress Coffeehouses as centers of sedition. The governing men were astonished that King Charles II canceled their petty petition. The Coffeehouses remained open and were referred to as “penny universities,” in reference to the conversation they bred and the penny admittance fee. Later, in the 18th century tea gardens became widely popular. The whole idea of the garden tea was to welcome ladies and gentlemen to take tea together outdoors surrounded by musical entertainers. Those lavish and beautiful tea times in the garden attracted everybody including Mozart and Handel. Tea gardens made ‘tea’ all the more fashionable to drink, plus they were important places for men and women to meet freely. Today the world enjoys over 3,000 varieties of tea. It is the most consumed beverage in the world after water. Tea can be divided into six basic categories: black, dark, oolong, green, and white. Interestingly, it wasn’t until about 1810 that a handle was applied to the Chinese tea bowl and thus the tea cup and saucer was born. Tea sets were cherished by their owners and passed down from mothers, grandmothers and aunts to their daughters and nieces. After World War I, it became popular to collect just the cups. Such rich history of tea and ladies enjoying an ‘Afternoon Tea Party’ has nearly been forgotten. I for one promote the vote that this lovely tradition be revived with gusto! Ladies let us mingle, giggle and sip together.Queen Catharine of Braganza made drinking of tea a fashionable event, the actual taking of tea in the afternoon developed into a new ‘social event’ some time in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s. Jane Austen hints of ‘afternoon tea’ as early as 1804. It is said that the afternoon tea tradition was established by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. She requested that light sandwiches be served in the late afternoon. The Duchess then invited others to join her and the tradition was born. Thusly, I am hosting my first “Afternoon Tea” in Jalisco, Mx just as the coolness of Fall begins in October 2017.
Various Tea Times
- Cream Tea — A simple tea consisting of scones, real cream, marmalade or lemon cakes, and tea.
- Low Tea/Afternoon Tea — An afternoon meal including sandwiches, scones, real cream, 2-3 chocolates and tea. Known as “low tea” because guests were seated in low armchairs with low side-tables on which to place their cups and saucers.
- Elevensies — Morning coffee hour in England
- Royale Tea — A social tea served with champagne at the beginning.
- High Tea — invites the idea of elegant splendidness. Initially an evening meal most often enjoyed around 6 pm. Meat, potatoes as well as tea was served at High Tea and it was adopted by all social groups. Families with servants took high tea at 6pm on Sundays in order to allow the maids and butlers time to go to church. Twenty five ladies joined me in the garden for a delightful “Afternoon Tea” in San Nicolas de Ibarra, Jalisco, Mexico on October 26, 2017. We celebrated the arrival of Fall, our victories and one another.
Feria Maestros del Arte
Two young ladies from La Ola Orphanage, Jessie, Eva and Dalia from Love in Action with her daughter Sophie, Lucy, her daughter and brand new baby girl, Gloria Perales, Rosa Ena, Amelia and her visiting grandma, Lorraine Powell, Deena from Dallas, Nancy Mattox, Donna Williams, Trinity Dutro from the Hope House boys home, Claudia and her daughter, Minna and Marianne Carlson, the founder of the Feria with Daniel the Piano man from Panino’s entertained us and Le Chef Tina catered this delightful Tea Party.