How To Make Afternoon Tea At Home (And Make It More Eco-friendly)

Missing your favourite cafe or restaurant? Want to put that stress baking to good use? Why not create your own afternoon tea at home? We show you how - and how to make it more eco-friendly as well.

We independently research all featured brands and products. To avoid waste, we test products on an as needed basis. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about why we do this here.

While we can’t go out and book the Britain’s best afternoon teas out and about, there’s no reason why you can’t host your own afternoon tea at home.

If (like us) food has become a big part of your life right now, you might be thinking of how you can change things up, so creating a proper afternoon tea ritual and making all of the elements you need, could keep you amused – and give you an outlet for all that stress baking!

Who created afternoon tea?

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford was credited with inventing afternoon tea in 1840 when she began to feel hungry during the day and requested for some sandwiches and cake to be sent to her room. Gradually she started to invite friends as she thought they might be hungry too and the late afternoon carb-fest began to take off in popularity. Now everyone’s at it.

(And here are the best places that do it once we’re out of lockdown).

What do you need to make an afternoon tea?

Whether you’ve having afternoon tea at home or not, there are some essentials that go to make a proper afternoon tea.

  • Sandwiches
  • Scones, jam and cream
  • Cakes or Pastries
  • Tea and a teapot
  • Proper china
  • Bunting
  • Cake stands
  • Napkins

And of course as this is pebble, we’re giving the afternoon tea ritual an eco-friendly, less wasteful twist.

How to make your own afternoon tea at home

Did you know afternoon tea is traditionally taken at 4pm?

Most afternoon teas are served in a particular order. That is sandwiches, then scones, then cake (and then a lie down!).

Whether you serve fizz as well as tea is up to you, it certainly goes down well with us.

The last (and most important) decision, is cream then jam, or jam then cream? We’ll leave that one up to you.

1. Bake some sweet treats

Forget buying in cakes and biscuits and use your time at home to give some old fashioned baking a go. These are some of our favourite afternoon tea recipes for a good selection of flavours.

Classic Victoria Sponge

Jackson & Levine’s No Fuss Fairtrade Bars

Honey and Orange Madelaines

Viennese Whirls

And if you’re looking for a vegan taken on some afternoon tea treats, check these delicious plant-based recipes out:

Earl Grey Vegan Cake With Lemon Frosting

Vegan Aquafaba Macarons

Easy Vegan Petit Fours

2. Make a batch of scones

Even if you’re not a seasoned baker, scones are pretty forgiving and can be amended and upgraded as you see fit. Here are some of our favourite scone recipes:

Mary Berry’s scones recipe

Jamie Oliver’s fruit scones

Lemon and rosemary scones

Cheddar and pecan scones

To make it more eco, can you buy jam and cream from a local or organic farm shop or independent producer?

How To Find Local Farmers, Growers & Fishers To Buy From Direct

3. Get those sandwiches going

Whether you’re going for white or brown bread, you want super soft and fresh bread (crusts cut off) and a variety of fillings.

Traditional afternoon tea fillings include: smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayo and cress, chicken mayonnaise, cucumber and cream cheese.

4. Break out the good china

Forget disposable plates and plastic cups, if you’re organising a proper afternoon tea, you need the good china. It’s time to unearth the best plates and dust off the teapot.

As well as being less wasteful, we love a good teapot at pebble, which means you can cut down on the plastic and packaging that’s involved in teabags and tea in general.

Want to upgrade your crockery at home? Take a look at some of our favourite ethical homewares stores.

5. Invest in some seriously good tea

Loose leaf tea is a much more planet friendly option that the problematic teabag and there are some incredible tea brands that champion Fairtrade and organic teas, which often support plantations and farms from across the globe.

Our favourite loose tea brands include:

Most black teas should be brewed for around three minutes.

If you aren’t doing dairy in your tea, there are some fabulous oat milk brands out there like Oatly and Rude Health. Oat milk is more planet friendly than nut or soy milk options.

6. Make your own bunting

Make a real fuss of your afternoon tea, whether inside or outside in the garden, by adding some homemade bunting.

Bunting is easy to make and can use up fabric scraps or you can upcycle old clothing or fabrics into bunting that you can reuse again and again.

How to make your own bunting tutorial

7. Use proper napkins

Afternoon tea wouldn’t be afternoon tea without a proper napkin.

Not only is kitchen towel wasteful and can’t be recycled, having a proper napkin gives you a sense of occasion.

Don’t have any napkins? You could make some with fabric offcuts or upcycle other material into square napkins.

How to make fabric napkins tutorial

So there we go. Afternoon tea at home in seven steps and how to make it more eco-friendly as well. Let us know how you get on!

And you can always follow it up, with a spot of eco-friendly cleaning as well.

Has this given you a taste for a more sustainable life?

How To Live A Sustainable Lifestyle

Don’t Miss Your Free Essential Guide To Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Why Sewing And Mending Your Clothes Is Good For The Soul