National Cream Tea Day is celebrated on the last Friday of June and takes place on June 30 this year. The founders of National Cream Tea Day are Rodda’s Clotted Cream and Tiptree. Afternoon cream tea is a British tradition that began in the 19th century and took place daily. Today, National Cream Tea Day encourages people to come together, enjoy a cream tea and raise money for worthy causes.
History of Cream Tea Day
The pleasure of sipping on a cup of tea can be traced back to the 1600s under the rule of King Charles II when tea was first introduced to Britain. However, years later, the practice of snacking on pastries or sandwiches between lunch and dinner was created by the Duchess of Bedford. She would order tea and snacks to her room when she felt peckish during the afternoon.
Around the middle of the 19th century, tea gained in popularity, and tea in the afternoon became a tradition amongst the British population. Sandwiches, cakes, scones, cream, and jam (the first hint of cream teas as we know them today) were served alongside a cup of tea. Now cream tea not only forms a part of daily tradition but also a part of social occasions and lawn parties. It often accompanies a small snack to serve one’s own family or even guests.
Tiptree and Rodda’s Clotted Cream make up the Cream Tea Society, which is a community for those who love all things cream tea. Historically, Rodda’s and Tiptree donate up to 50,000 portions of Cornish clotted cream and jam a year, to help charity event organizers on their way. Last year, the Society supported 57 charity events on National Cream Tea Day. They like to encourage people to raise money for their own favorite charities.
Cream Tea Day timeline
The first evidence of eating bread with cream and jam is found at Tavistock Abbey in Devon.
King Charles II's wife, Catherine de Braganza, introduces tea drinking to the British court.
The Duchess of Bedford keeps hunger at bay between meals by ordering tea with bread and butter, and this soon becomes a social affair.
Cream tea becomes a daily occurrence in homes across Britain.
The opening of the railway boosts tourism in the West Country and travelers still require their afternoon cream teas.
Cream Tea Day FAQs
When should you eat cream tea?
Cream tea should be eaten between midday and 2 p.m.
How do you pour the tea at a cream tea?
The person closest to the pot of tea pours a cup for each person. Each person then adds their own milk and sugar to taste.
What is the difference between cream tea and afternoon tea?
Afternoon tea consists of a savory course with sandwiches, the scones course, and, finally, the course of sweet pastries. Cream tea is considered the pared-down version of afternoon tea with just one course — the scones.
Cream Tea Day Activities
Host a social cream tea
Invite your family and friends to celebrate the day by hosting cream teas. These can be as formal or informal as you want. Make it a simple affair with just jam, cream, and scones, or pile on the dainty snackwich and tea cakes.
Donate to a charity
Visit the Cream Tea Society and help raise money for one of the hundreds of charities across the U.K. Do your bit. And if you're in the U.S. and feel a kindred feeling of yumminess, feel free to host your own cream tea and donate to a local charity.
Spread the word
Share the images of your cream tea event or your delicious jam and cream creations on social media. Also, give out the donations information of the charities of your choice.
5 Tantalizing Facts About Cream Tea
The type of cream matters
Clotted cream is preferred over whipped cream — it is made by heating raw, full cream cow’s milk in a steam bath.
Not in the United States
Due to the pasteurization and homogenization requirements that change the fat structure of the milk, real clotted cream is not available in the U.S.
Two ways to have a cream tea
There are two ways of having the scone — either apply the jam or the cream first and then add the other.
You should use your hands
According to cream tea etiquette, the correct way to open your scone is by prising it apart with your hands.
There is a technique for brewing tea
The tea should be poured in first, followed by milk and sugar.
Why We Love Cream Tea Day
It is for a good cause
The Cream Tea Society supports fundraisers and charities. Their cream tea events have helped to raise over £680,000 for hundreds of charities across the U.K.
We love baked goods
Perfectly baked scones, fresh cream, and sweet jam eaten during an afternoon tea break is delightful. This is the perfect day to celebrate a simple, humble tradition.
It’s an excuse to be social
We love any reason that gets us hanging out with friends, chatting, and enjoying good food and drink. National Cream Tea Day allows us a new way of visiting.
Cream Tea Day dates