You’ve heard of Afternoon Tea, but do you know about Cream Tea? Cream Tea is when just the scones and tea are served. See how you can create your own Cream Tea at home.
What is Cream Tea?
Cream tea is a variation on afternoon tea.
Instead of tea sandwiches, scones, and a sweet course, cream tea is made up of just one course — the scones, with clotted cream and jam.
The scone should be simple and plain, the clotted cream should be thick, and the jam, strawberry.
Devon Cream Tea vs Cornish Cream Tea
Now, there’s a ton of controversy when it comes to the cream and jam. Which do you slather on first? The cream or the jam?
For Devon cream teas, it’s cream on the bottom and jam on top.
With Cornish cream tea, it’s jam on the bottom and cream on top.
People have VERY strong feelings about the cream and jam order.
I’m in NYC and I’m lazy so I went for a 10 minute walk to pick up the scones from Tea & Sympathy. (Actually, go next door to their shop Carry on Tea & Sympathy for scones which come with clotted cream and jam. Easy!)
But, if you’re willing, you can bake them yourself with our Easy Scones recipe.
Scones should be plain — not even a dusting of powdered sugar. Warm scones before serving.
Don’t forget the clotted cream and strawberry jam! It’s not cream tea without them.
Even though strawberry is the traditional jam for cream tea, no one will give you the side eye if you serve other kind like raspberry or blackberry jam.
A good tea is a must.
By good tea, I mean it should ideally be loose tea and look like dried whole tea leaves rolled up.
If the tea looks crushed or chopped up in small bits and pieces, that indicates a lower quality tea. (This is the type of tea that’s usually in tea bags, which is why I like to opt for loose tea.)
If you want to go a little fancier (and more expensive), get pure loose tea which is only the dried tea leaves and it’s not mixed or blended with flavors. (Earl Grey and English Breakfasts are both blends.)
Cream tea is perfect when you’ve invited a friend over and you want to serve a little something to go with tea.
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What You’ll Need for Cream Tea for Two
- Good quality loose tea to make 4 cups
- 4 scones (2 per person)
- Teapot with strainer that’ll hold 4 cups of tea
- 2 sets of tea cups and saucers
- 2 small plates (no bigger than a salad plate)
- Small containers and spoons for clotted cream and jam
- Small container with spout for milk
- Small container and spoon for sugar
- 2 teaspoons for the tea
- 2 knives for the scones
If you’re wondering if there is a proper way to eat scones. YES, THERE IS.
Eating a Scone Properly
- Scoop out clotted cream and jams onto your plate, enough for one scone.
- Break apart a small bite-sized portion of scone with your hands or if using a knife, cut the scone horizontally.
- Use a knife to slather on cream and jam onto the broken-off piece of scone.
- The bite-sized piece of scone should be eaten in 1-2 bites.
When hosting an cream tea at home, here are some rules you may want to follow for proper tea.
Who Pours the Tea?
The host should be the one pouring the tea from the teapot for themselves and the guest.
Do I Eat Everything with My Hands?
Yup. Only use your knife to spread on the clotted cream and jam onto your scone.
Should I Raise My Pinky Finger When Drinking Tea?
Nope. Keep that pinky down — it’s considered rude and unsophisticated.
Where Should I Put My Utensils?
After using any flatware, never put it back directly on the table. Place it on a dish instead.
Can I Add Milk and Sugar to My Tea?
If you’re drinking black tea, then yes. If you’re drinking any other type, no.