What to Expect During Afternoon Tea Service

What to Expect During Afternoon Tea Service Kalamazoo, MI

Afternoon tea is a British food tradition adopted by Americans and now Henderson Castle. However, did you know that there are different types of tea services depending on when you take your tea during the day? For example, we offer tea service between 11am and 2pm, which is what the British would consider “elevenses” or afternoon tea if taken later in the day. Afternoon tea is the perfect opportunity to talk amongst friends, sip tea, and nibble on tiny treats. Keep reading to learn what you can expect during your first afternoon tea service.


Like the name suggests, elevenses tea is served around 11am. While our tea party menu changes based on market availability and chef creativity, you can expect an assortment of sweet and savory bites. During elevenses, you might see muffins, biscuits, or scones served alongside premium loose leaf tea. In British culture, elevenses serve as a late morning break to catch up with family and friends over a light nosh.

Afternoon Tea

You don’t need to extend your pinky to get the full afternoon tea experience. In fact, you’ll want to hold your pinky against the cup or tuck it under the handle to avoid looking elitist. During an afternoon tea party you’ll want to follow proper etiquette to make a good impression on your guests. Unlike during a wine tasting, you won’t want to slosh your tea. Instead, you should stir gently with your spoon to dissolve any sugar.

Afternoon tea etiquette:

  • Place napkin on lap.
  • Avoid clinking your cup or spoon at the tea party venue.
  • Stir gently so you don’t splash tea.
  • Don’t stick your pinky out.
  • Don’t lick your fingers.
  • Show restraint when eating.

At the tea party, you will see light foods such as finger sandwiches, petit fours, macaroons, and scones. However, it’s good manners to show restraint and not wolf down any food. Tea party food is light enough so you can hold a conversation while enjoying a small snack to tide you over until dinner. Afternoon tea is served around mid afternoon. For example, our castle inn offers afternoon tea reservations up to 2pm.

Historically, afternoon tea has been a social occasion for women to enjoy treats while catching up with family and friends. To this day, more women than men enjoy taking afternoon tea. If you or a friend has a birthday coming up, you may want to make reservations for tea service. A tea party birthday can be a memorable occasion enjoyed by all. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance if you wish to hold your afternoon tea at our birthday party venue.

Henderson Castle is a historical Kalamazoo castle inn dedicated to making guests feel right at home. Whether you enjoy our afternoon tea service or stay in our boutique inn, we are always accommodating of our guests. To make reservations for afternoon tea, call (269) 344-1827.