The Science of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is becoming more and more popular by the day. Both young and old are enjoying and favouring this traditional pastime over bars, restaurants and cafes. But did you know you may not be getting the most out your afternoon tea experience? Believe it or not, there is a science to it.

That’s right – a science. Thankfully, Miller Sucre are here to share with you the ways you can maximise the delights of afternoon tea, and the reasons why.

Take your time –
A fairly obvious one to start with, but surprisingly many people rush their afternoon tea. It is an experience where tastes should be savoured and appreciated; something rushing does not allow.

Always start with savoury!
(That’s your sandwiches and quiches) –
Why? There are five taste senses; sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness and umami. Umami is a loanword from Japan which translates to “pleasant savoury taste”. The tongue and the rest of the mouth help to determine the texture of food, chewiness and umami. In turn, this prepares your brain for the flavour sensation of afternoon tea.

A good example of this is cucumber sandwiches. Some people would describe these as the “pointless sandwich”, however they do serve a purpose; they cleanse the pallet and prepare your tastebuds for the semi-sweet.


Enjoy your tea –
Enjoy a lightly flavoured tea beverage with your food. Earl Grey or an afternoon tea blend work particularly well, bringing out the tastes of the food whilst providing a beautiful source of refreshment.

Follow your savoury with semi-sweet
(That’s your scones with jam and velvety clotted cream) –
Why? Here’s the science again: Doing this prepares your pallet for the delicate, sweet flavours and mouthfeel of your patisserie. Saving the sweetest part of a meal until last is not just something we do out of habit. A sugary taste sends a message to the brain which says we are full; so ending with something sweet is the perfect way to finish your afternoon tea. Think of all those yummy chocolate fondants and oozing mini strawberry Victoria cakes which await you!


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