I get this question quite a lot. What is afternoon tea and how is it different from having tea in the afternoon?

A few key differences:

  • Afternoon Tea is a set menu, nearly always involving scones, cream and jam, egg salad and cucumber sandwiches. The items on the afternoon tea tray vary, but one thing is for sure...it's not just tea. And it's not lunch. And it's not brunch. It's some middle-zone!
  • It's a culinary experience dating back to the 1780's in England, so that's why there are things like scones, because that's typical cuisine for that area.
  • Having an Afternoon Tea means sitting down with your company and really sharing a great 'sit-down' conversation. Having tea in the afternoon might be a quick cup of average stuff from your local coffee shop. Afternoon Tea usually involves much better quality tea and often served in loose leaf pots.
  • Dress codes are typically enforced for Afternoon Tea. In my case, please come dressed to be in an upscale environment but I do not have an enforced dress code unless there is a special event. 
  • You MUST make reservations (janamtea.com/reservations which will take you to reservations page through Garfunkel's, which is the hosting venue). Walk-ins are very difficult to accommodate as I make every last thing for the precise number of people attending.
  • Another major difference is cost. Your average Afternoon Tea costs around $50/pp and can come with additions like champagne or cocktails. Mine happens to be $40/pp, which is largely because of the location. It's not in a big fancy midtown hotel, it's in the Lower East Side, where there are galleries and things are a little more 'street'. Many say my presentation and food outshines even classics like the Russian Tea Room, but I don't know for sure. Check out Yelp reviews to see what people are saying. It's 
  • As Afternoon Tea is designed to connect with your loved ones and it's for this reason, at Janam Tea, we kindly request electronics remain off and hidden during teatime so you can really just lose yourself in the experience (and so can everyone else around you). 

Here are some similarities:

  • Having tea does not have to be a snobby experience. I don't expect people to know what single-estate Indian Tea is, thus the front page of my website and the 'Why Indian Tea' page.
  • Pouring honey and milk in light teas covers up the flavor. Only full-bodied (meaning darker color and more viscous) teas can hold milk. No one likes hot watery milk.
  • Tea should have plenty of room to steep once in the water. We only use loose teas in teapots, but if you're at home, tying tea bags too close to the tea or packing it into infusers doesn't allow the full flavor to be released.

I love having Afternoon Tea and I love having tea in the afternoon, but hopefully after reading this, it's clear these are decidedly two different things! I'd love to hear your thoughts!