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Many people these days tend to use 'afternoon tea' and 'high tea' interchangeably as many mistakenly believe that there is no difference between the two, but there are. High tea is not the same as afternoon tea, and most of the time when people say 'high tea' they are actually referring to 'afternoon tea'.
High tea was a working class family evening meal or supper served between 5-7pm. When tea became popular in Britain, workers would have to wait for tea time until after work.
Instead of the finger sandwiches, scones and sweets that are usually served with afternoon tea, the high tea menu consisted of heartier dishes like meat, beans and potatoes. High tea was a nourishing meal after a long day of work usually served with a pot of strong black tea.
The name high tea comes from the high dinning table and chairs where supper was eaten, which were quite different from the low, relaxing parlour chairs used for afternoon tea.