Thursday, June 13, 2019

THE THREE TIERED AFTERNOON TEA TRAY - WHAT GOES WHERE?







What tea foods go on which level of the Afternoon Tea Tray? (You might want to copy this post for quick reference!)

Back in 2010, I went through a big stack of my special tea books and I was surprised how few of the authors addressed this and since I have seen photos doing it so many different ways I thought it would be good to come to some conclusions.  This is of course is OPEN FOR DISAGREEMENT!  I tend to be from the school of do what you like.....except when it comes to calling Afternoon Tea by the term "High Tea" which is incorrect.  I am not very flexible about that.

First of all, a 3 tiered tray can be used to serve 2 -3 people with plenty of food for each.....a very large tray (such as below) might serve 3 - 4 people.


I have recently changed my order for the levels of tea foods for about the third time. This time was after I was influenced by Linda Jennings at 
Friendship Tea Blog.  She has been to England (and lots of other places) many times and has really become an expert.

So here is my newest preferred order of the 3 levels which means I have come full circle back to what I first believed to be correct:  The smaller top level holds the sweets.  It's nice to have 3 types of finger sweets.

The middle level which graduates in size should hold the scones. Plan on about 2 scones per person unless they are huge! 

Bottom level is for savories such as savory tarts or finger sandwiches .   Allow about 4 - 5 savory finger size items per person.   It is nice to have variety - I like to make 3 different types of savories.  

So basically you are eating from the bottom up!

LEFTOVERS?  I recommend giving guests paper kraft handled bags which you could decorate with stickers or art or a poem to take the leftovers home - place a couple sandwich bags inside.

23 comments:

Marilyn said...

Both tiers are very pretty, but I like the one with the lacy looking edges better! Thanks for sharing. ♥♪

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

Thanks so much for this very useful info. I always wondered if there was a proper way of what to put on each tier!
Debbie

Carolyn said...

Hi Bernideen,
Thanks for the info.
Have a good weekend,
Carolyn

Martha said...

I just got the latest Laura Childs tea mystery and there is a lit of tea blogs and other online tea sites -- yours is mentioned!

Congratulations!

Donna and Miss Spenser said...

When's tea?? Donna (IA)

Joyce said...

Now that is a SMART thing to write about. So glad you did this for people. Because some may not know how to layer the foods.

Rosemary said...

This is an interesting tutorial; however, the Afternoon Teas that I attended in London placed the sandwiches on the bottom tier, the scones on the middle tier, and the beautiful desserts on the top tier. The Afternoon Tea I attended at the St. Regis in NYC did indeed place the scones on the top tier, but this is not typical. They had a special tiered tray that had a domed lid that was meant to keep the scones warm until you ate them. The dome could be suspended from the top of the tiered tray when you were ready to savor the scones. But typically, I would have to say that the majority of the teas I encounter serve the scones on the middle tier. Just another possibility! Seems to me it can go either way.
Nancy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. The 3-tier posting was very helpful.

rozemie said...

Hello, I have made a afternoon tea tray myself, using old saucers and glasses. I put it on my blog, but I couldn't find the correct english word for it (I'm flemish, we call it een etagère) and then a friend mailed me this blogpost. Now I know : it's a three-tiered afternoon tea tray. No online dictionary came up with this ! Great blog, I'm going to follow you. I'll try the scones recipe...

Micupoftea~ said...

Hello,
so funny that different sources have different instructions! I love using tired servers. Have a great week :)

Rosewalk Cottage said...

Thanks for the info. Bernideen. I've always wondered about what goes on what tier. Thanks for sharing.
~Clara

Elizabeth said...

Very nice !

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Bernideen, I just love reading your tea blog! I'm so all about tea! My personal preference is: scones on top, sweet treats middle, sandwiches on the bottom. Just because I prefer sandwiches to sweets and always have lots of them!

Lavender Cottage said...

I think we can put what we want on each tier, depends on what you're serving. At the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto they put the fingers sandwiches on the bottom, scones and crumpets in the middle and sweets on the top.
Judith

Melodie Lincavage said...

How interesting. We have a tea house and we always put the savouries and sandwiches on bottom the scones, jellies and creams in the middle and the desserts on top. That is the way I learned it and the way I have seen it done most often. I think it does depend on who you're serving what type of teacher you have and perhaps even what time of day they're taking tea

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Bernideen, this is exactly the way I serve it up on the three tiered stand. I'm like you, it annoys me when ladies call afternoon tea time a 'high tea.' In any case, tea time is always an enjoyable time and should be savoured by yourself or in the company of friends. Interesting post!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Thank you for the updated information, Bernideen!

ellen b. said...

Wonderful tutorial!

Vee said...

Thank you for the information! I have always wondered. Now I am wondering about what happens when one only has a two-tiered tray. I would suppose the savories on the bottom and sweets on the top leaving out the scones.

Linda Jennings said...

The three tiers I use and have experienced in London are all the same size, therefore sandwiches on the bottom, scones on the middle and desserts on top. This is a topic which will be debated forever.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Bernideen, I agree. I've always set my 3-tiered stand your new favorite way: sandwiches on the bottom, scones in the middle and sweets on top. And, like you, I don't like it when someone calls afternoon tea "high tea."

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

PS When I use my three-tiered stand that has no center post, the kind where you use regular plates (three of the same size) on it, I might put the scones on top under a dome to keep them warm.

Angela McRae said...

I'm like you and have been influenced by Linda to follow her preferred order with the tea tray!