Cream Tea Origin – Devon, Cornwall, Bedford?

My most favourite leisurely activity when I was living in England was – you guess it – the English afternoon tea!  You can see why I became nostalgic when I saw the picture below from the gorgeous This is Great Britain page.

Tea with scone

The question is – is this the right way to have cream tea?

A good question.  I never think much about it even though I spent five years in England zipping tea and eating scones.  So I did some research and now realize that the cream tea most likely originates from Devon, England.  You first cut the scone in half, and then you spread the clotted cream first and add jam on top.  The Cornwall cream tea switches the places of the cream and jam.  Both counties claim cream tea as their own brands (see this article).  The UK Tea Council threw a curve ball and said that the first person who invented afternoon tea with tea, scone, cream and jam was Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, in the mid 19th Century; therefore, cream tea did not originate from Devon or Cornwall!

I think the best thing about the English afternoon tea is not how it is eaten, but the fact that it is a most pleasant and leisurely activity you can do with yourself or your dear friends.  The scone, cream and jam just make the activity complete!

I remember the fun times I spent at Cambridge, England at the Auntie’s Tea shop where students, tourists, Dons (professors) gather.  The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester near Cambridge is probably the most historic tea house in Britain.  It was the favourite gathering place of great minds including Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes.

Auntie's tea
Auntie’s Tea Shop at Cambridge, England; photo courtesy of The Tea Spot
orchard tea grantchester
The Apple Trees and the Orchard Tea Garden at Grantchester, England; photo courtesy of Tralopia.

Have some tea!


8 thoughts on “Cream Tea Origin – Devon, Cornwall, Bedford?

  1. So beautiful tea presentation in the first picture, so appetizing picture.
    Very interesting story of tea in England! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I hope you have a wonderful day! Big hugs, much love, Stefania! 🙂

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