This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Few customs are more iconic of England than afternoon tea. And Downton Abbey illustrates this custom beautifully. For fans of both teatime and Downton Abbey, you will love these tea recipes to make at home.
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email, and we’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get delicious new recipes from us every Friday!
Before we get to the recipes, let’s take a look at the series, how to brew tea Downton Abbey style, helpful resources, and more.
Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea
In watching both the movie and the series, viewers glimpse through a window the traditions and rituals of afternoon tea. Whether that be upstairs or downstairs.
The downstairs tea was a welcome afternoon break as servants took tea with a slice of bread or cake. While some used that time to catch up on mending and sewing, others read the newspaper or played cards.
An upstairs tea would have been displayed by the servants prior to their own tea and served by the family for themselves.
Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook
The Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook is a treasured book of recipes, traditions, memories from the television series, and even etiquette of the era.
For tea lovers, this is certainly a book you want to grace your shelves as you plan and imagine your next tea.
British Tea to Serve for Afternoon Tea
The cookbook gives a brief history of English tea and notes that the first tea to arrive in the 17th century was green tea from China.
By the early nineteenth century, tea drinking had been established and by the 1820s, the British East India Company began production in Assam using a local tea variety.
And the rest, of course, is history.
Types of British Teas for Afternoon Tea
Types of Tea
- Green Tea: originating in China
- White Tea: once known as silvery tip pekoe, has the lightest flavor
- Black Tea: generally stronger in flavor
- Oolong Tea: a distinctly smokey flavor
- Lapsang Souchong: also has a smokey flavor
How to Prepare Tea at Downtown Abbey
- Bring a kettle filled with fresh cold water to boil, adding a bit to warm the teapot as well. Discard the water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per person to the warmed teapot, plus 1 teaspoon for the pot.
- As soon as the water returns to a boil, pour over the leaves in the teapot.
- Allow the tea to steep for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the preferred strength and type of tea.
- Set a pitcher of hot water on the tea table for those preferring weaker tea.