Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea and Recipes

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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.

Closeup view of 3 tier stand for afternoon tea with tea sandwiches and savory recipes

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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.

Recipe for Battenberg Cake from Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook
Battenberg Cake: Recipe from the Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook

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.

Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook

Top view of teapot and tea cups from Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook

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

Blended Tea

  • Earl Grey: Prized for its citrus notes (see how to properly brew Earl Grey Tea)
  • English Breakfast: dates to the late eighteenth century and is a full-flavored tea
  • Irish Breakfast: a blended black tea with a reddish color and robust flavor (see how to properly brew Irish Breakfast Tea)

How to Prepare Tea at Downtown Abbey

  1. Bring a kettle filled with fresh cold water to boil, adding a bit to warm the teapot as well. Discard the water.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per person to the warmed teapot, plus 1 teaspoon for the pot.
  3. As soon as the water returns to a boil, pour over the leaves in the teapot.
  4. Allow the tea to steep for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the preferred strength and type of tea.
  5. Set a pitcher of hot water on the tea table for those preferring weaker tea.

Downton Abbey Tea

Downtown Abbey Books

Classic English China Patterns

These beautiful classic English china patterns will any testable. For more ideas and patterns, visit Classic English China Patterns.

More Afternoon Tea Posts You May Also Enjoy

Vertical view of afternoon tea with 3 tier stand and teatime snacks

Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Recipes

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