The Tea Centre’s guide to high tea at home

Tiered cake stands at the ready! You have the florals, doilies galore, and a traditional teapot on hand (but if you’re looking to upgrade, let us nudge you in the direction of our Ashdene range). 

The only thing missing from your high tea event is, well, the tea! Luckily, our Tea Centre experts have you covered with the finest and freshest loose leaf recommendations. 

A high tea party will generally only serve one or two pots of tea depending on the size of the guest list and the hors d’oeuvres being laid out for the event. Read on to find our favourite high tea picks and what popular petit fours to pair them with.

The main event

Stockholm Blend & Tea For Sunday

Elevate traditional high tea with contemporary breakfast blends.

For the high tea purists that want to add just a little more panache to their next event. While English Breakfast is the go-to blend for most traditional afternoon teas, we suggest going the extra step and purchasing a breakfast blend with a little more oomph like our signature Stockholm Blend or Tea For Sunday.

A five-star combination of rich vanilla undertones, zesty orange, a hint of soft apricot and an abundance of floral tasting notes, Stockholm Blend is The Tea Centre’s signature black loose leaf tea. With enough body to pair well with a drizzle of honey or splash of milk, a pot of Stockholm Blend will take pride of place on the high tea table.

Tea For Sunday would also be a popular choice for any tea party. Like English Breakfast, this blend is comprised of strong black tea leaves. However, it’s often described as being a creamier sip that leaves a velvety mouthfeel. 

Our dream pairing:

Given breakfast teas are traditionally enjoyed with protein-rich foods (you can read more about that here), these blends taste their best when paired with heavier petit fours like salmon blinis, mini-quiche Lorraine, and crab remoulade tarts. 

Of course, traditionalists can also always go with the classic breakfast blend and Devonshire tea pairing—with scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam, you can never go wrong!

French Earl Grey & Miss Grey

For a citrus twist and fruity touch.

A high tea putting out particularly sweet treats would do well to serve French Earl Grey! This black tea blend’s infusion of bergamots is wonderful for cleansing the palate between bites and bringing out the sweetness of tart tea cakes and desserts.

If you’re looking for an even sweeter tea, sans the sugar cubes, why not try The Tea Centre’s Miss Grey? Our version of Lady Grey, Miss Grey boasts more citral content than a classic Earl Grey (thanks to the addition of lemon peel and lemongrass) and a jasmine floral twist!

Our dream pairing:

You would think coupling bergamot-flavoured blends with lemony treats would be too much citrus, but our tea-loving experts say that full-bodied blends like French Earl Grey make this pairing a match made in heaven. Sweet treats like lemon tea bread, custard tarts and cheesecakes are the way to go. 

First Flush Darjeeling

Special occasions deserve the champagne of black teas

These days, flutes of champagne have become synonymous with high tea in Australia. While a bottle of Dom Pérignon or Moët is probably unrealistic for your high tea at home, the champagne of black teas—First Flush Darjeeling—is the perfect alternative and adds a touch of elegance to your event!

Unlike similar full-bodied teas, First Flush Darjeeling is more delicate in flavour and has the most enticing fragrance reminiscent of almonds. The Tea Centre’s Darjeeling teas are also highly exclusive, as they are cultivated using the orthodox method and only harvested a few times a year.

Our dream pairing:

Enhance the intricate tasting notes of First Flush Darjeeling by pairing each cup with nibbles that are already rich in flavour. We’re talking everything from sweet macarons and stuffed figs to savoury morsels like goat cheese or gruyère tartlets.

Explore our array of premium Darjeeling teas available to purchase here.

Bohemian Blue

When it’s time to break the rules.

Let’s be honest—the pomp of petit fours and formality around using “classic teas only” can sometimes make high tea feel like a stuffy affair. Breakaway from tradition and freestyle your high tea event by brewing a pot of bright blue tea!

The Tea Centre’s Bohemian Blue is bound to zhush up any afternoon tea thanks to its gorgeous hue and zingy tasting notes of ginger and citrus. Made using butterfly pea flowers, Bohemian Blue can also turn a vivid purple when adding in a squeeze of lemon. An all-in-one tasty tea and visual experience? Yes, please. 

Our dream pairing:

With this tea, we think the more colourful or exotic the nibbles, the better. Dish out morsels like rhubarb shortcakes, olive focaccia, Caprese tea sandwiches, and red quince paste.

Find our Bohemian Blue available to purchase here.

A little history about high tea

Have you ever wondered why high tea is never referred to as high tea in cities like London and Dublin? That’s because Australia is one of the few countries in the world that refer to afternoon tea in this way!

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the ‘high’ in high tea is a reference to the upper classes, and in extension, fancier tea affairs. However, it’s actually a historical reference to the height of the table that afternoon tea was originally served from. 

Back in eighteenth-century Britain when afternoon tea was synonymous with dinnertime, the term ‘high tea’ was used to describe formal meals served on high tables (think a dinner table) as opposed to more casual morning tea served on low tables (like coffee tables). 

While contemporary afternoon tea is now understood as a light repast enjoyed around 4:00 pm (coming from a twentieth-century shift in cultural norms), this historical connotation plays a lot into why Australia and other former British colonies like New Zealand and South Africa still call this meal ‘high tea’.

Are you looking to treat Mum to high tea at home this upcoming Mother’s Day? Discover our perfect assortment of loose leaf blends, tea boxes and teawares that are ideal for high tea here.

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