how to host a high tea party?

Posted by Divya on

Updated on

Translation missing: en.blogs.article.back_to

just the mention of a “high tea party” evokes visuals of fancy get-togethers where everyone’s delicately sipping tea from fine china and enjoying mini-sandwiches and scones. it certainly is as interesting as the imagery it creates in the mind.

but what if you’re keen on organising one? well…a quick internet search will fetch high tea offers from fancy hotels and posh tea spots. however, hosting it at home maybe even better. it may seem a bit much but it’s totally doable! and your personal touch will make it way more special than any hotel could manage.

we’ve got you covered with the “afternoon tea at home” ideas, so you can easily organise your high tea party (traditionally called afternoon tea party) at home.

what is a high tea party?

A high tea party is a British tradition that’s often associated with opulence and sophistication. However, contrary to what many think, a high tea party isn't that in any way – it refers to evening meal served to the working class in Britain. Probably due to the word "high", a high tea party is often wrongly considered a lavish affair. In fact, it’s the other British tradition of afternoon tea that was conceived by aristocracy, as an elite gathering for friends to enjoy light refreshments and pleasant company. Afternoon tea party is usually held in elegant settings with treats ranging from delicate sandwiches and freshly baked scones to an assortment of sweets.

what to have for tea?

we're sure that question must be on your mind now, but no worries – we have the delicious ones in our answer. from scones to sandwiches, we’ve curated all the amazing options that are usually part of an afternoon tea party.

tea selection

no high tea party is complete without the perfect cup of tea to complement the delicious treats. so, when you’re making the tea selection, consider the preferences of your guests and the flavours of the food you'll be serving.

the popular english breakfast tea makes a safe choice for any high tea party! however, darjeeling earl grey or chai tea are also good alternatives. for that matter, even the herbal tea varieties are a refreshing option, especially when served as iced tea on a scorcher.

wrap up your afternoon tea party by serving digestion-friendly herbal teas, like peppermint tea and ginger tea.


scones are almost synonymous with an afternoon tea party – appreciated for their warm, buttery and slightly crumbly texture, they’re served with clotted cream and jam.

while the classic ones are customary at a tea party, the tea-infused scones are becoming increasingly popular. whichever scones you include, they’ll perfectly complement every aspect of a high tea party. some scones to consider are:

  • classic scones
  • buttermilk scones
  • blueberry scones
  • earl grey scones
  • gluten-free scones
  • zucchini and cheddar scones


sandwiches are the ultimate must-have for any tea party – they’re the perfect tea companions. while there’re almost unlimited filling options for these sandwiches, consider using those that can be prepared ahead of time. it's the perfect way to streamline your sandwich-making process and ensure a stress-free experience.

here’re some ideas that are perfect for prepping in advance:

  • egg salad
  • chicken/tuna with sour cream
  • smoked salmon with cream cheese

simply cover them tightly, pop them in the fridge, and you're all set for a stress-free tea party!

here’re some suggestions for your list of “afternoon tea at home” ideas:

  • egg and mayo sandwiches
  • salmon club sandwiches
  • veggie bagel, lettuce & tomato
  • cucumber with mint cream
  • cured ham and mustard.


let's discuss the ultimate afternoon tea treat – mini, individually portioned cakes! making mini cakes instead of slices not only makes them look nicer but also keeps them from drying out. adding fresh fruit on the side or top of your cake is the perfect way to finish it off.

however, making mini cakes can be quite detailed and take up a lot of time. so, while the final result is impressive, beginners might find it easier to start with regular large cakes. they're usually simpler to make and can be sliced and served with ease.

some of the popular cakes you can include in your high tea party are:

  • walnut cake
  • caramelised almond cake
  • gluten-free apple tea cake
  • ginger fluff sponge cake
  • passionfruit sponge cake


pastries can elevate the elegance of your afternoon tea party, but they can be a bit tricky to make! you've got to be spot-on with your measurements, handle them with care and nail those specific techniques for the best results.

if you're up for the challenge, consider prepping the dough the day before your tea party. then let it be in the refrigerator till you’re ready to make it the next day. when you’re ready to make the treat on the day of your high tea party, it’ll be easier to handle and shape the dough.

some of the popular ones for your list of “afternoon tea at home” ideas:

  • fruit tarts
  • custard tarts
  • mini eclairs
  • choc-salted caramel tart
  • portuguese custard tarts


biscuits are a fantastic addition to your high tea party – they taste great and are often quick and easy to make! you can make a batch on the day of your party in no time, if you have prepared the dough ahead of schedule. simply make the dough and pop it in the freezer.

then, when the big day arrives, all you’ve to do is bake and ice them fresh. it's a convenient and stress-free way to ensure you’ve delicious variety ready to impress your guests!

some of the options are:

  • coconut and jam cookies
  • lemon cream custard biscuits
  • gingernut biscuits
  • coffee scroll

jams and spreads:

jams and spreads may not be the main attractions at a high tea party, but they play a crucial role in improving the flavour of those attractions.

whether paired with warm scones, spread on delicate finger sandwiches or used to top off a buttery pastry, jams and spreads improve the taste of each bite. they provide an amazing contrast that improves the taste of various treats.

some suggestions for your “afternoon tea at home” ideas:

  • strawberry jam
  • apple jam
  • blackcurrant jam
  • clotted cream
  • lemon curd
  • marmalade
  • honey

diy tea blending station

transform your high tea party into an unforgettable experience with a diy tea blending station! the station adds an interactive and personalised element to your tea party and encourages creativity and engagement. here's how to set it up:

tea selection: gather an assortment of tea bags and tea leaves, including varieties of black, green and herbal teas. this ensures you can accommodate a range of tastes and choices.

mix-ins: provide a variety of mix-ins like spices, herbs and sweeteners for guests to experiment with and customise their tea blends.

mixing tools: place stirrers, spoons or scoops for adding and mixing ingredients.

labelling and instructions: print out individual labels describing each ingredient at the blending station, to make it easier for your guests. and to enhance the experience, provide instruction cards with suggestions for mixing spices and other add-ons in tea.

decor: add a touch of charm with interesting accents like floral arrangements, vintage teapots and cute labels to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

quick and easy tea recipes

when you're hosting a high tea party, the last thing you need is a tea-making headache, right? that's where tea concentrate comes in to save the day!

several tea recipes, including darjeeling earl grey, english breakfast and chai tea can be prepared using the below method. you can even make iced tea concentrate – just use cold water before serving.

estimate the number of guests. plan on using 2 tea bags for every guest you’re expecting – so use 50 tea bags for 25 guests.

boil the water. you’ll need about 1 litre of water for 25 guests – adjust as required. boil the water and let the tea bags steep for about 5 minutes. once you’re happy with the steeped tea, discard the tea bags.

cool and refrigerate. after steeping, allow the concentrate to cool to room temperature before transferring it to glass bottles or jars for refrigeration. this can be stored for around 2 days.

dilute and serve. boil fresh water and add the tea concentrate – usually a ratio of 1:1 works fine, but you can test it out before serving it to guests. then, pour it into teapot and serve.


    Hosting an afternoon tea party is a wonderful experience. And it gets better when you host it at home, as there’re a myriad of advantages. For example, it's cost-effective and also allows you to customise the experience for your guests. When you’re selecting the finest teas or treats, you have full control to ensure that the event reflects your unique style. This also ensures that you can savour both, flavours and conversations, and create cherished memories. When planning your party, just remember that it's not just about the food and decor; it's about crafting an amazing experience for your guests.

    faqs on high tea party

    Q. what time should an afternoon tea party start?

    A. An afternoon tea party usually starts between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, aligning with the traditional tea time. This timeframe allows for a comfortable interval after lunch, perfect for relishing tea and treats. It’s also aligned with the historical origins of this tradition.

    Q. what are some unique tea pairings for high tea?

    A. when it comes to tea pairings, fruit teas are best enjoyed alongside sweet treats and desserts while green tea tastes better with fresh fruit salads. darjeeling earl grey, on the other hand, perfectly complements citrus treats while english breakfast and chai tea go well with sandwiches and scones.

    Q. what is the difference between high tea and afternoon tea?

    A. the main difference between high tea and afternoon tea lies in the timing, formality and menu. Afternoon tea, a sophisticated British tradition, is a leisurely affair held in the late afternoon. It features teas and several treats. However, high tea, originating from the British working class, is an evening meal with more substantial dishes.

    Q. what is the difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

    A. traditionally, afternoon tea party refers to elegant get-togethers where you'll find delicate pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. whereas high tea party refers to a hearty meal enjoyed after work. but the terms are often used interchangeably these days!

    popular blogs 

    benefits of black tea | benefits of green tea | benefits of herbal tea | benefits of peppermint tea | benefits of chamomile tea | benefits of rooibos tea | benefits of raspberry leaf tea | benefits of oolong tea


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    popular blogs

    view all blogs