The empire was built on it, wars have been fought for it, and afternoons in Britain, quite frankly, are not complete without it. Tea. Despite the fact that tea is clearly appreciated throughout the country and also in certain parts of the wider world, I am going to stick my neck out and say that it is unlikely to be because of the taste. It is more likely to be due to its cheapness or ease to produce, the fact that it is steeped in history, or the amount of caffeine that it contains. But there may just be another reason why hot drinks, and tea, in particular, are given so much importance, even increasingly so, in society in Britain today. It is an essential grammatical punctuation mark of a busy day. Today this is, or probably should be, more relevant than ever, with our mobile phones keeping us constantly in touch with everyone, and those same people expecting to be replied to within minutes. Even when we are not working, we are taking out work with us. Tea does not provide a solution to this crazy busy-ness, but it does provide light relief. Making a decent cup of tea takes a good five minutes – it can’t be rushed. Then, because the water does have to be boiling for the tea to brew properly, gulping it down does nothing but burn your mouth. It makes you stop, and when in company, chat. In this age of always being connected, tea is the one of the best social media there is. So in a way it is not surprising that the traditional afternoon tea has been on the rise for the last few years.
This year, our afternoon teas are proving a huge success, and there are plenty of reasons why: We don’t use teabags; loose leaf tea only. Nothing is bought in; it is all produced in our own 200-year old kitchens, by our somewhat younger kitchen team. It is served in either the gardens of The Grove, or our guest lounge, or for smaller parties, in our conservatory, which are all beautiful. And, the price is only £21 for two, or a little more if you would like a couple of glasses of prosecco to go with it. It is a lovely way to punctuate your day, with a big, fat, full stop in the shape of a teapot and multi-tiered plate with lots of scrumptious homemade goodies.
So whether you prefer camomile, peppermint, decaf, Red Bush, Breakfast, Earl Grey or Lady Grey, why not take a well-earned pause from a busy day and pop in for afternoon tea before starting a new paragraph.