The English Afternoon Tea Party – Full Day Class

the history, The food, The tea, and manners of the English afternoon tea party.

Do you ever dream of hosting your own English afternoon tea party? Which food and teas are appropriate to serve? Is there a correct way to pour the tea? What is considered good and bad manners at the tea table? Do I really need to worry about afternoon tea party manners and etiquette?

Voyage et Bonnes Manières

My participation in “Voyage et Bonnes Manières”, an eight part documentary series aired on the French “Voyage” cable channel, . It was directed by Véronique Jacquinet, who has developed an original and funny tone for her documentaries. The production company is Un Monde Meillieur,

Whether you’re opening your own tea room, have an interest in the culture and traditions of tea drinking, or would simply like to attend an authentic English afternoon tea party, this practical workshop covers everything you need to know about hosting a tea party, from essential preparation (and closely guarded secret recipes) through to the finer points of entertaining guests.

And of course, it’s a chance to enjoy excellent teas, cakes (made by yourselves) and conversation!


  • Manners and etiquette at an English tea party
  • Traditions of tea-taking from 1700 onwards
  • History and ‘Englishness’ of tea as a part of daily life, both inside and outside the home.
  • Delicious recipes and how to host your own tea party


  • Background to English tea drinking
  • Overview and guide to the manners and etiquette associated with the tea table
  • Basic tutored tea tasting (at least four different teas)
  • Lunch  (included in the price)
  • Hands-on baking workshop
  • Finish by creating our own English afternoon tea party



When you picture a quintessentially English tea party, you most likely see a three-tier cake stand bedecked with crust-less sandwich-fingers, dainty, opulent cakes, and crowned, perhaps with pastel coloured macaroons. Pretty (and tasty!) though the vision is, this is the 21st Century’s rather decadent fusion of many traditions of tea taking. It might be how an afternoon tea looks like today, but it bears little resemblance to  to the many different tea parties of the past.

My mother’s invitation for tea with the Queen in 1955. The invitation is addressed to both my mother and grandmother.


What is it about a tea party that makes us sit up straighter, wear a pretty dress and worry about our manners? My aim is to help you understand the curiosity of the English tea party and leave you feeling confident and inspired to bring your own ideas into this traditional setting.


Tea was first imported from China in the late 17th century. Today, we continue to quench our insatiable thirst for tea from foreign import, sourcing our English breakfasts, Earl Greys, and Orange Pekoes primarily from India, Sri Lanka and East Africa. How, then, did this exotic beverage come to be so much a part of the English character? How did tea make its way from porcelain in the parlours of the rich into chipped builder’s mugs?

From preparing the food (making your own cakes, shortbread and scones), comparing the taste of teas that arrived in the 17th Century England to those now perceived as being ‘English’, and discussing the customs of the numerous different types of tea party, by the end of this course you will have a complete understanding of the Englishness of tea.

To help you understand and appreciate the context, we will also draw on a wealth of contemporary paintings, diaries and etiquette manuals. For this reason, we recommend that you have a good understanding of spoken and written English to make the most of this class.

PRICE:  £300 per person. 

Extras: In addition to everything covered in this one-day workshop, you will also receive a lifetime opportunity to ask Caroline any questions related to English afternoon tea via private email.

In addition to the scheduled dates below, this class is available on request. Please email or call Caroline on +44 (0)20 3730 3788 to inquire about availability, or with any questions about the course. If you wish to book this class as a single student on a date of your choice, the cost is £450 (£300 plus £150 single person surcharge).


ONE DAY Afternoon Tea Party Workshop on Tuesday 15th January 2019 

ONE DAY Afternoon Tea Party Workshop on Tuesday 16th April 2019