Pinkies up: Why you should try afternoon tea and how to do it

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Maybe you grab a cup of coffee and a snack in the middle of the afternoon when you need a little pick-me-up, but odds are most college students wouldn’t go for a traditional afternoon tea experience. This practice is, in our opinion, relatively underrated in our society today. For all you Americans who aren’t exactly sure what afternoon tea is, when we talk about afternoon tea, we mean the light meal traditionally served between 3 and 5 p.m. including sandwiches, scones, sweets and — of course — tea. This practice is not only delicious but also a fun way to change up your routine and catch up with friends and family.

Legend has it that the practice started in England in the 1840s with Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford. She found herself losing energy in the middle of the afternoon and started having her tea with a small snack to tide her over until dinner was served. As she started inviting friends over, afternoon tea became a social event for women of high social classes. Now afternoon tea can be enjoyed by everyone as an occasional luxury.

It’s easier than you might expect to find spots in the Bay Area for afternoon tea if you’re looking for them. Located just a few blocks south of campus, the popular brunch spot Baker & Commons on College Avenue offers a relatively inexpensive afternoon tea service for two between noon and 5 p.m. on Sundays. Moving a little farther from campus, recently opened Nest of Comforts in West Berkeley provides daily tea service at varying degrees of elaborateness. If you want to make an event out of it, you can try one of Samovar Tea Lounge‘s four locations in San Francisco or the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

If you’re looking to save some money or don’t feel like going out, you can also make tea yourself! All you need to do is brew some tea, compile simple sandwiches — think along the lines of smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber — and bake or buy some scones and cakes. However you do it, afternoon tea is sure to be a good time for you and whomever you share it with. It works great as a study break, a complement to your studies or just a time to take a break in the middle of your day and catch up with loved ones! Cheerio old chaps, and enjoy your tea!

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].