Afternoon Tea Course – Four Days

Do you understand why tea is England’s national drink?

Caroline Hope’s four day Afternoon Tea Course is perfect for those wanting to really explore all aspects of traditional English tea time. The workshop will lead you through the basics of tea tasting and traditional baking and tea party presentation. This will take you through to understanding the social complexities of English tea time and the history of afternoon tea.

This complete workshop has been designed to run over four consecutive days; however, if you are in London on a short visit or wish to shorten or lengthen the course then please contact Caroline to arrange a more personalised schedule.

Day One: The art of making and tasting tea

Different varieties of Indian teas.

This full-day class is all about tasting tea, how to brew the perfect tea, and understanding how the character of tea has changed in the UK since its arrival here three hundred and fifty odd years ago. You will have the opportunity to taste and examine at least 20 different teas and compare the differences between origin and blended tea; learning to identify depth of flavour, the ‘briskness’, and the creaminess or astringency of the tea liquor. Caroline will cover all the brewing basics such as correct water temperature, water quality and brewing times. By the end of this workshop you will have a thorough practical understanding of tea, and you should be able to confidently identify many different types of black and green teas by their look, smell and taste.

Day Two: The history of English tea drinking

Still Life with Tea Cups, circa 1670 – 1685, by Pieter Gerritsz van Roestraeeten. Oil on canvas Museum of Sheffield. The Dutch golden age painter, Roestraeten made a successful living in England. His talent was noted for painting still lifes that often included silver objects, Chinese porcelain and tea services, depicting the delicate objects of the fashion aristocratic life.

This day tour will commence at the famous Victoria & Albert Museum to learn about the history of afternoon tea through the design of tea paraphernalia.  Touring through the British Galleries,  we shall see the effects of tea and ‘chinoiserie’ on British culture and design. You will learn about the journey of tea from its origins in the Far East to its arrival in Europe, how the manners and customs practised whilst drinking tea at the English tea table have been transferred to food, and then further evolved into the Afternoon Tea now served in London’s famous hotels.  By the end of the talk you will have a good knowledge of English tea history, and will understand how this has shaped English culture through the ages and influenced the modern custom of ‘taking tea’. We shall also be visiting specialist antique dealers to look at porcelain, silver and linens, the equipage for making tea, plus some further places of interest relating to London’s tea history.

Click on the image to enjoy this short Victoria & Albert Museum video about 18th century tea drinking.




Day Three: Creating your own afternoon tea party – preparing the food and how to host the prefect tea party

Sniffing the aroma of the hot vanilla sponge layers of the Victoria Sandwich Cake!

Time to start baking (and tasting)! You will learn all of the skills you need to make and bake delicious cakes for a traditional English tea party. Caroline will share her secret recipes for the perfect Victoria Sponge cake, tasty traditional scones, and crumbly melt-in-the-mouth shortbread. You will also learn other skills and techniques that will allow you to make almost anything , from coffee and walnut fairy cakes to spicy winter biscuits.  By the end of this workshop you will have at least three delicious recipes that you can use for your own afternoon tea party, and all the skills you need to master recipes for other delicious treats.

Caroline really believes that afternoon tea should fun. This class is dedicated to learning how to host the perfect tea party, and how to be a relaxed and confident hostess. You will learn some great tips on how to prepare and store food beforehand, those all-important dos and don’ts, and what your role as a hostess really encapsulates. Finally, we shall relax and enjoy a tea party that you have created together, from preparing the sandwiches in advance to presenting your cakes on the tea table.  By the end of this workshop you will be able to confidently host your very own afternoon tea party, understand tea party etiquette, and learn to enjoy your own tea party as much as your guests will.

Day Four: Experience tea buying and afternoon tea in modern London

The final day of the course takes us through the streets of modern London to see tea culture in context. We shall make our way to the West End to visit some of London’s best tea merchants including Twinings on the Strand, Higgins in Duke Street, Postcard Teas, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose (under John Lewis in Oxford Street). This is also the perfect chance to buy gifts or treat yourself to a special tea. The course ends with a deluxe Champagne Afternoon Tea (doubling up as a late lunch) at the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel at Hyde Park Corner and overlooking the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

WORKSHOP PRICE: £1050 per person (+ 6% booking fee)

4 places available  FRIDAY 9TH MARCH to MONDAY 12TH MARCH inclusive
4 places available  FRIDAY 11TH MAY to MONDAY 14TH MAY inclusive
4 places available  FRIDAY 13TH JULY to MONDAY 16TH JULY inclusive

Book a Workshop

If you wish to book this workshop on a date of your choice, contact Caroline to book your bespoke four day workshop.  There is a  supplement of £400 for single student choosing to have a private workshop bringing the total cost to £1,450.